Were you aware that the Asian elephant was under threat? Because of the loss of its natural habitat, a result of expanding human populations, the number of wild Asian elephants is plummeting. The area they once inhabited stretched from the far corners of China, through Thailand, Indonesia, India and across Syria; some 3.5 million square miles and about the size of Canada. It has now shrunk to some 170,000 square miles – less than the size of Spain. I learned this at a special celebrity launch reception for the charity Elephant Family held by one of my clients, Wendy Senturier, earlier this week.
What a special event it was; approximately 200 guests including celebrities such as Joanna Lumley and the Duchess of York. (It was covered by the London Evening Standard a few days later), The outcome of this initiative should be seen some time next year around the streets of London. The star auction items were a herd of 200 2-metre high, hand-made elephants which will be decorated, and placed at a number of locations around the capital. The target is £1 million in order to secure land in Asia to create an elephant sanctuary, and the event made a significant contribution to this.
I am fortunate to have such a list of intriguing clients, and Wendy particularly so. She runs a highly regarded networking service for the international community with offices in London, Geneva, Hong Kong and Singapore. For this event, I created this sleeveless dress with a cutaway neckline from a silk chiffon print by Roberto Cavalli, a favourite designer of Wendy’s. This print was especially complex because of the juxtaposition of pearls, lace, animal print and floral motifs. With a brief of this nature it can take some time to understand the fabric thoroughly and all its design possibilities. In fact I hung the the whole length high up along a wall in my studio and lived with it for some time before I made the first cut. It’s always an interesting challenge to work within the constraints of a fixed length of print fabric; technically tricky too, when trying to match printed patterns on such a fragile silk weave.
Keep your eyes peeled next year around May to July when the results of this fundraiser will be seen around the streets of London. You can catch a flavour from a similar event that took place in Amsterdam earlier this year at http://www.elephantparade.com/. We wish the charity every success. As we know…an elephant never forgets.
Photo: thanks to Elephant Family