Perched on the terrace above the Casino de Monte Carlo, the good and the great of fashion and society came together to support Natalia Vodianova’s Love Ball – an exclusive, glittering gala thrown in aid of the model’s Naked Heart Foundation. Under the patronage of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, the affair was about as glamorous and lavish as you could possibly imagine. Luckily, Grazia was there – dressed in Oscar de la Renta, bien sur – to get the full story.
As guests sashayed through Hotel de Paris clad in fantasy floor-length gown, we were immediately handed champagne flutes and guided to the cocktail. Aside from gawping at the incredible dresses, our heads were turned by stylish stars. Karl Lagerfeld was braving the heat in his classic suit and high neck tie, while Princess Charlene was resplendent in a strapless peach lace number.
Catching up with the belle of the ball, Natalia, who was dressed in Christian Dior Couture, we were given the down-low on how to dress for a ball: “Firstly, and most importantly, you have to follow the code. If you are asked to wear a long dress, please do it!” But it’s not all about playing it safe, she says, “It’s also important to be daring. A little rebellion is great – but it has to make sense.”
Tatiana Santo Domingo, Andrea Casiraghi, Antoine Arnault, Natalia Vodianova, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Princess Caroline of Hanover and Karl Lagerfeld at the 'Love Ball'
Natalia also suggests that you go with your signature style saying, “If you are rock and roll don’t dress like a princess, but if you are a complete princess don’t try to pull of something grungey! The idea of going to an incredible party is to have incredibly memorable evening otherwise why go? So as a woman , I know the dress often makes the evening and if you feel confident you’ll have a great night – so it’s definitely worth putting the effort in!”
After the cocktail guest paraded their dresses on the red carpet then entered the Casino to be seated for the dinner. The decadent place setting well reflected the superlative baroque interior of the Opera space, with bursting blooms entwined around huge golden centre pieces. But we weren’t just there for the food – it was time to start raising some serious cash for the cause.
With lots including a portrait by Mario Testino, a dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior and remodelled for the wearer by Raf Simons and tickets to the Academy Awards and Vanity Fair Party complete with a private jet ride donated by Harvey Weinstein, it’s little wonder that the auction raised over 4 million Euros.
After being captivated by some of the world’s best classic performers including Diana Vishnev, prima ballerina of the Mariinsky, we moved on to the after party in the Casino… combining drinks and gambling, the evening finished up on a suitably decadent note. If there was a prize for the ultimate exclusive fashion party, we’d certainly put our bets on the Love Ball!
Click through the gallery above to see our highlights from inside the Love Ball...