The Animal Ball witnessed a gathering of 250 celebrities, conservationists and members of the London scene.
The gathering aimed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the wildlife conservation charity the Elephant Family – established by Her Majesty The Queen’s late brother Mark Shand, who was deeply passionate about protecting and supporting elephants and Asian wildlife.
Fashion Designers Sabyasachi designed masks worn by His Royal Highness King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The mask has been made by hand using age-old artisanal techniques and materials, as a collaboration between the artists from the Sabyasachi Art Foundation and the master craftspeople of Bengal.
The Shola mask celebrates the continuity of one of Bengal’s most treasured heritage crafts that are practised by about 5,000 artisans. Shola is the craft of carving sholapith, the spongey cork from the aquatic plant that grows in the marshlands of Bengal.
In addition, Dr Tarsh Thekaekara from The Real Elephant Collective received the Mark Shand Award for 2023 from Her Majesty The Queen later in the evening, to highlight the work of the Adivasi Tribe and the protection of elephants.
Co-hosted at Lancaster House with The Tintra Foundation, the evening was full of fashion glamour as guests wore masks and headwear supplied by a range of designers including Aquazurra, Christian Louboutin, Dior, Burberry, Manolo Blahnik, Manish Malhotra and Phillip Colbert.
Guests included Matthew MacFadyen, Keely Hawes, Arizona Muse, Amy Jackson, Ed Westwick, Brian and Anita May, Gemma Collins, Jilly Cooper, Claire Forlani, Christian Louboutin, Edgardo Osorio, Ricardo Figueiredo, Tatiana Casiraghi, Anoushka Shankar, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra.
Funds raised will reach bio-diversity-rich landscapes in which large and charismatic animals including tigers and elephants live side by side with people.
Ruth Ganesh, Chair of the Elephant Family said: “The Animal Ball raises vital funds for our conservation work which helps support humans and animals to live side by side. Partnership lies at the heart of all our conservation efforts and this has also been reflected in this evening’s event. On behalf of the Board and our patrons, I’d like to thank our Co-Host The Tintra Foundation, our title sponsor Xerjoff and an incredible array of event partners including Emporio Sirenuse, Sabyasachi, The British Asian Trust, Petersham Nurseries, Quintessentially, My Beautiful City.
“This event would not be what it is without their support as well as the iconic designers who have supplied masks for guests; the artists and philanthropists who have offered auction prizes and, of course, our supporters who have helped us raise a staggering £2 million.”
Kartiki Gonsalves, Osacar-winning director of The Elephant Whisperer said “It’s been fantastic to have been recognised for directing The Elephant Whisperers in the presence of Their Majesties on such a special night at The Animal Ball. The Elephant Whisperers is a story of coexistence and respect for our natural world – something we’re all here to champion this evening. I thank Bomman and Bellie for sharing their beautiful story.”
Dr Tarsh Thekaekara from The Real Elephant Collective, Representing the Adivasi Tribe who directly benefit from the charity’s work said “I am really happy to meet Their Majesties The King and Queen and get recognition for my community and the work being done to remove lantana from the forests. It is nice to come all the way to London and see that people care so much about elephants. Because of Kartiki’s film, everyone knows about the Mahouts and the elephants they live alongside. Co-existence is of global relevance today and wild animal populations are recovering around the world and adapting to living alongside people”
Following musical performances in the gardens of Lancaster House from the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and singer-songwriter Tom Odell, Lord Dalmeny led an auction with artwork from Mark Quinn and David Yarrows; an original drawing from artist Charlie Mackesy and other coveted lots.
Partnership lies at the heart of the charity’s endeavours including their fundraising work. Italian design house Emporio Sirenuse curated the exquisite table settings and dressed the likes of Skye Alpine and Carla Sersale for the ball. Title partner and international perfumier Xerjoff also re-launched a limited collection perfume, CoExistence, inspired by Asia’s magnificent wildlife, with sales going to the charity. Event partners Quintessentially and My Beautiful City have produced and creative directed the evening which will also feature a unique desert experience from Petersham Nurseries.
Richard Shearer, CEO, The Tintra Foundation said: “The Elephant Family is such an incredible cause that way before its time was dedicated to co-existience. I have been fortunate to spend time in parts of the world with some of the world’s largest remaining Hunter-Gatherer tribes and like the Elephant Family we believe, in fact, we know, that it is a connection with peoples such as these and the animals that connect us that drives my passion for inclusion across the world in all its forms. The partnership with The Animal Ball helps us work alongside indigenous people to protect their ancient knowledge, tribes and by extension the animals surrounding them.”
Sergio Momo, Founder and Creative Manager of Title Sponsor Xerjoff said: “The Animal Ball raises funds to preserve Asia’s wildlife and our limited edition perfume is inspired by the magnificent wildlife that we’re raising funds to protect. The perfume has a light touch of Bergamot, Vanilla from Cambodia and Indian Osmanthus, Jasmine, Damask Rose. CoExistence is inspired by Asia’s magnificent wildlife and the limited.”
Carla Sersale, Founder, Emporio Sirenuse said: “A hopeful celebration of natural harmonies, this collaboration symbolizes our deep love of India’s magnificent heritage and our commitment to preserving its unique beauty. It’s a privilege to work with such an esteemed partner in honouring the legacy of Mark Shand and his dedication to a land we respect so greatly.”
Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Designer & Founder Sabyasachi said: “It has been an honour to provide masks for Their Majesties The King and Queen. The design was inspired by the animals The Elephant Family works to protect and we were honoured to be part of it.”
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