Wool Week Takes Over London’s Covent Garden With Colored Washing Machines

SPIN CYCLE: Britain’s annual Wool Week always sets out to quash misconceptions about the fabric, and this year they didn’t disappoint, unveiling an installation of stacked, colorful washing machines in London’s Covent Garden. Dubbed The Wool Care, the installation will be on show until Oct. 21, and is meant to demonstrate the fact that wool is washable, durable — and cool.
“We always thought this was the last frontier. A lot of people think you can’t throw wool in a washing machine, but you can, and when you wash wool, you’re not creating micro-plastics. Wool biodegrades naturally in the sea,” said Peter Ackroyd, chief operating officer for Campaign for Wool.
Hackett, Vivienne Westwood, Marks & Spencer and Adidas are among some of the retailers who took part in the launch earlier this week. “Vivienne Westwood has spread the message of wool extremely well, she talks about buy well, buy less, buy wool,” Ackroyd said.
Jeremy Hackett of the men’s wear brand Hackett unveiled the installation with his dog Muffin and his Aston Martin, which has bespoke wool interiors. Among the other retailers who are preaching the gospel of wool is the outdoor apparel brand Finisterre, which is changing the perception of wool as an “old-fashioned and stuffy” material.
“It’s

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Postapocalyptic Theme Ran Through 5,000 Works at London’s Graduate Fashion Week

LONDON — This year’s Graduate Fashion Week was one of the largest events to take place in size and ambitions with more than 5,000 pieces of work on display from 500 students — the majority of whom hailed from outside the U.K.
Graduate Fashion Week is a charity that was founded in 1991 and aims to bring together British and international fashion universities and elevate the creative industries.
“We’ve had more visitors than we’ve ever had. We’ve got 37 U.K. universities and 51 international ones, so we have managed to create a global stage for everyone,” said Mark Newton-Jones, chairman of Graduate Fashion Week.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between graduates and employers, we’ve introduced a protégé program so everyone up for an award tonight will be mentored by a designer or leader in the industry,” he said.
Hosted in east London’s Old Truman Brewery, the awards ceremony opened with a personal message from British Prime Minister Theresa May. “I am very proud of the U.K.’s fashion industry, some of the most iconic brands and biggest names in the business hail from the U.K. Graduate Fashion Week plays such an important role in the process of nurturing the very best talents.”
The designs drew on a

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Diamond Disruptor Vashi Opens Store in London’s Mayfair Near Bond Street

DOUBLE THE DIAMONDS: Vashi, the diamond jewelry brand that allows customers to design their own rings and other jewels, has planted a flag at 13a Grafton Street in London, not far from rivals such as De Beers, Boodles, Mappin & Webb, Cartier and Tiffany & Co., which are all located on or around Bond Street in Mayfair.
The 1,000-square-foot store is a five-minute walk from Vashi’s Piccadilly flagship and features an on-site jewelry workshop, a diamond-shaped work surface for collaboration with jewelers and client consultation spaces.
It’s smaller than the unit at 46 Piccadilly, which spans 1,500 square feet over two floors, but at a party this week to mark the opening, founder and chief executive officer Vashi Domínguez said the store serves a specific purpose. “Here, we attract the Bond Street customer. There’s not a big customer overlap with the Piccadilly store.”
Such is the diversity of central London shopping that certain neighborhoods, even if they border each other, can attract a different clientele. Piccadilly is more about tourists and locals, while Grafton Street attracts ultra-high-net-worth individuals and big-spending foreigners.
Although the stores’ addresses are different, Vashi’s approach is the same: Domínguez, whose background is in diamond wholesale and retail e-commerce, wants his customers

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A Walking Tour of London’s Most Literary Quarter—with Pub Stops

A step-by-step guide to Bloomsbury’s storied sights and worthy newcomers: from idiosyncratic bookstores to Middle Eastern restaurants. Plus: a drinking hole that drew Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath.
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Mystery space rock ‘same size as London’s Gherkin’

A mysterious interstellar asteroid is the same size and shape as London’s famous Gherkin skyscraper, astronomers have said.
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London’s Design Museum to Salute Azzedine Alaïa With Retrospective

ALL ABOUT AZZEDINE: London’s newly opened Design Museum in Holland Park will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer had helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month.
The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum, will look at the impact his work has had worldwide.
The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to Oct. 7 and feature specially commissioned pieces of design and sculpture by Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson and Kris Ruhs, with whom Alaïa collaborated in 2015. The 2015 show at the designer’s Paris gallery called “The Hanging Garden” featured an installation of 45,000 shapes.
Alaïa is recognized for his ability to drape and sculpt on the human frame with different materials, using innovative cuts, fits and tailoring methods. In July, he returned to the couture calendar after a six-year hiatus and was ready to open a long-awaited London flagship early next year.
Alaïa was celebrated by fashion designers new and old in the industry. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons described Alaïa as a designer who “worked with his heart and soul.”
Last week at the Fashion Awards in London, Alaïa was top of mind, with lineup

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Apple Flagship on London’s Regent Street Hit by Thieves

APPLE ATTACK: Apple’s flagship on Regent Street was hit by burglars who robbed thousands of pounds worth of iPhones, iPads and Apple watches early Monday morning.
The thieves, armed with hammers, broke into the store by smashing the windows with mopeds. They threatened the security guard with a hammer and remained inside the store for just under three minutes. They escaped and left a red scooter inside.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed the incident: “Police in Westminster were called at [12:45 a.m.] on Monday to reports of an aggravated burglary. Ten suspects on five mopeds were reported to have smashed their way into the store and taken Apple products. Two iPhone Xs were later recovered near Kings Cross [train station].”
No arrests have been made, and the police could not confirm the value of the stolen goods.
Smash-and-grab raids have been increasingly frequent in central London, with Mappin & Webb’s Regent Street flagship and House of Fraser on Oxford Street robbed in a similar way last month.

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Bottega Veneta Weaves a Tale at London’s Chiswick House

PARTYING WITH PALLADIO: “We wanted to bring part of the Veneto region to London for a real celebration,” said Claus Dietrich Lars, chief executive of Bottega Veneta, as he cast his gaze around Chiswick House, the 18th-century Palladian-style villa in west London.
The villa, built by Lord Burlington, was filled with northeastern Italian flavor on Thursday night, from the prosecco tasting stations and Aperol spritz cocktail bar to the Bottega Veneta craftspeople who were busily weaving the brand’s famous intrecciato designs with strips of leatherlike strands of fettuccine as guests walked among the rooms.
There were areas dedicated to all of the brand’s products, from leather goods to fragrance to jewelry, while downstairs in the garden, guests were offered Venetian-inspired food made by Giorgio Locatelli.

Lady Kitty Spencer 
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In the fragrance room, the entire Parco Palladiano collection was on display, with each juice meant to evoke a single moment in the day, including the smell of the air in the garden at dawn to high noon under the orange tree.
It was the biggest event that Bottega had ever done in London, with guests including Sabine Getty, Poppy Delevingne, Amber Le Bon, Lady Kitty Spencer, Arizona Muse, Marc Quinn, François-Henri Pinault and a host

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London’s Fashion and Textile Museum Mounts Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibition

THE WOMEN’S ROOM: London’s Fashion and Textile Museum is set to unveil a showcase of American fashion photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe. More than 100 images from the Thirties to the Fifties will be on show, and the focus is on the contemporary independent female. Among Dahl-Wolfe’s subjects are Coco Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet as well as the Hollywood stars Bette Davis and Veronica Lake.
“She was a great colorist, and had an understanding of the female form and how it related to clothing,” said Dennis Nothdruft, head of the Fashion and Textile Museum, adding that the show is aimed at “rediscovering and promoting what she did — which was very influential.” He said Dahl-Wolfe isn’t as famous in Europe as she is in the U.S., noting that “people like Avedon and Irving Penn really follow on from what Louise Dahl-Wolfe did at Harper’s Bazaar.”
Born in San Francisco in 1895, Dahl-Wolfe started her career in 1923. She graduated from San Francisco Institute of Art, then moved to New York, opening her photography studio there. She shot for Saks Fifth Avenue and Bonwit Teller before taking up a staff photographer role at Harper’s Bazaar from 1936 to 1958.
She worked with editor Carmel Snow, fashion

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Grace Coddington, Michael Roberts Host Book Signing at London’s Smythson Store

BOOK SIGNING: “There’s a slight familiarity with Gingernutz — she’s me,” said Grace Coddington at the London book signing of “GingerNutz: The Jungle Memoir of a Model Orangutan” on Thursday evening.
Held at the Smythson store on New Bond Street, British designers including Erdem Moralioğlu, E. Tautz owner and creative director Patrick Grant and Stephen Jones were among the guests who turned up to show support.
Coddington recalled the first time she encountered the main character — illustrated by longtime friend Michael Roberts — and thought she was so cute. Roberts had drawn a series of illustrations from the point of view of a baby orangutan and depicted the little ape’s journey navigating the fashion world. Alongside her book, Coddington will also be contributing to the December issue of British Vogue.
“I have already contributed,” Coddington said. “And I can’t wait for it to come out. I’ve only done one and it’s at the early stages. Edward [Enninful] loved it and that’s the main thing. I loved it. I’m very happy with it. It’s a surprise.”
While Coddington, couldn’t divulge too many details, she noted that working with British Vogue’s new editor in chief was a great experience. “We’re friends so we go back

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Fast-Fashion Retailer Quiz Set for Listing on London’s AIM Market

QUIZ POPS: Quiz, the U.K. fast-fashion retailer that specializes in dresses and occasion wear at value prices, is set to list on London’s AIM market on July 28.
The company, an omnichannel retailer, has a placing price of 1.61 pounds per share that will translate into a market capitalization of 200 million pounds on the day of admission.
The placing is expected to raise 102.7 million pounds of gross proceeds, of which 10.6 million pounds has been earmarked for the company to accelerate growth. Existing shareholders and directors will hold a 48.8 percent stake in the listed entity.
The brand was founded in 1993 in Glasgow, Scotland, and employs about 1,350 people in the U.K. and Ireland. It sells via its web site, apps and through 73 stand-alone stores and 165 concessions in the U.K. and Ireland.
Products on the site include a black and nude sequined mesh maxidress for 99.99 pounds, a red frill tunic dress for 26.99 pounds and a white “Bardot” crochet trim top for 17.99 pounds. It also sells shoes, accessories and a plus-size range.
The company said it aims to offer “all the latest trends at value for money prices,” and describes its target audience as fashion-conscious women of all ages.
Internationally, Quiz

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Thieves Steal $3.9 Million in Jewels From London’s Masterpiece Art Fair

HOT WEATHER HEIST: Thieves quietly swooped on London’s Masterpiece Art Fair, an annual event that takes place in Chelsea, stealing jewels worth 3 million pounds, or $ 3.9 million, from the Geneva-based jeweler Boghossian.
The ticketed fair, which showcases high-end art, antiques and jewelry, has round-the-clock security. It takes place every year at Royal Hospital Chelsea and draws up to 44,000 visitors. According to police, the thieves struck between 5 p.m. on Tuesday and 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
The fair ran from June 29 to July 5, and was open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., which meant that the robbery could have taken place while the fair was still open for business. The thieves were thought to have used distraction techniques to carry out the robbery.
The fair said it is “fully cooperating with the police,” who have been examining the CCTV camera in the space. However, no arrests have been made and there were no witnesses to the theft. Guests are checked on their way into the fair, and on the way out. All bags are opened and examined upon arrival and as people are exiting.
Masterpiece is known for drawing top collectors from across the world and hosting exhibitors across

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London’s Fashion Illustration Gallery Mounts Art Fair

COLOR COUTURE: “Fashion illustrations have always been almost like a secret beauty that has been sleeping for a number of decades,” said the British illustrator David Downton at The Fashion Illustration Gallery’s second annual art fair in London.
Downton, who is also artist-in-residence at Claridges, joined artists including Gill Button, Tanya Ling and Blair Breitenstein, whose work is on show at the three-day fair held at The Shop at Bluebird in Chelsea.
Works by 30 artists are on display, and prices range from 150 pounds for a small print by Sunflowerman to 25,000 pounds for an original Andy Warhol print. The event is being held in association with Yu Capital and Fashion Illustration Gallery founder William Ling.
“There is something for every eye and every taste. There are nice established talents and new talents. What it does is to create more and more and more buzz. I have probably been doing interviews for five years about the revival of interest in fashion illustration. But, now, I say what revival? It is really here and I’m thrilled.”
Downton has displayed a mixture of his older works with new pieces including colorful illustrative couture looks from Schiaparelli and Alexis Mabille alongside commissioned drawings.
Downton is also at

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London’s Royal College of Art Names Jonathan Ive to Post of Chancellor

LONDON — Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, has been tapped as the Royal College of Art’s new chancellor. The college has confirmed the appointment, and said the five-year term would take effect in July.
Ive will replace the British inventor James Dyson. He will oversee meetings and take part in the institution’s governing body. He will also advise the school on digital initiatives pertaining to computer science, the effects of the digital economy and advance manufacturing. He will also be involved in the construction of the school’s new building in Battersea, which is slated to launch in 2020.
“As chancellor, Jony embodies the RCA’s ideals of technology and design excellence, inspiring students and staff,” said Paul Thompson, rector of the Royal College of Art, adding that Ive will enable the college “to educate the next generation of world-leading artists and designers.”
At Apple, Ive oversees the aesthetic and experience of the products, ranging from hardware and packaging to user interface. He is also involved in the development of Apple Park, the company’s California campus. He owns more than 5,000 patents and received an honorary doctorate from RCA in 2009. Among his list of accolades includes a CBE in 2006 and a KBE

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Matchesfashion.com Poised to Open Town House on London’s Carlos Place

LONDON — In its 30th anniversary year, Matchesfashion.com is on the move, with plans to open a second private town house at 5 Carlos Place near Mount Street in Mayfair.
The 5,000-square-foot building spans six floors and was formerly the showroom and sales space for jeweler Solange Azagury-Partridge, who has since moved to a smaller store in Bayswater.
It’s the second town house space for Matchesfashion: The first, known as No. 23, opened seven years ago in London’s Marylebone and the Georgian building is used to host events and service VIP customers by appointment.
Real estate sources estimate that Matchesfashion will be paying about 600,000 pounds, or $ 776,200, a year to lease the building from property owners the Grosvenor Estate.
The town house concept has become core to Matchesfashion.com’s growth strategy, a retail pillar that stands alongside the brand’s web site and the five brick-and-mortar stores it operates across London. Matchesfashion’s owners Tom and Ruth Chapman have always seen it as a social space where they can offer personalized service to their heavy-spending customers.
“It’s for clients who, for whatever reason, don’t want to shop in a store,” Tom Chapman told WWD’s Retail 2020 forum last month. “We use it to engage it with high-value existing customers,

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Think of London’s Hottest New Hotel as an “Urban Resort”

The founder of Soho House has teamed up with the owner of NoMad on The Ned, a colossal new project in the City of London .
WSJ.com: Lifestyle

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Ladies of London’s Caroline Stanbury Launches ‘Girly-Girl’ Furniture Collection: ‘The People Who Don’t Like It Probably Don’t Like Me’

Chairs lined in Chanel tweed, a side table cinched with the gold belt of a Tom Ford gown — Caroline Stanbury‘s designer wardrobe can now have a place in every home.

The Ladies of London star, 40, isn’t chopping up her enviable threads, of course, but her closet does serve as direct inspiration for her fashionable new home collection. “Everyone’s obsessed with my wardrobe,” says the stylist turned realty star, “so I incorporated it into my line of furniture.”

The collection, created in collaboration with London-based interior design and development firm Earlcrown, includes 12 scene-stealing pieces ranging from lacquer dining chairs for $ 855 each to a dining table in colors like pale pink, yellow and pistachio for $ 5,642.

RELATED: Ladies of London Star Caroline Stanbury Shows Off Stunning New Home in Dubai

When Stanbury and her three children moved to Dubai to be near a new business opportunity for her husband, Turkish financier Cem Habib, Earlcrown’s CEO Bianca Ladow was tasked with decorating the family’s new home in just six weeks.

“I rented my house out in the U.K. furnished, so I didn’t have any furniture,” explains Stanbury of the whirlwind decorating job. “This is a 13,000-square-foot house — and trust me, for Dubai that’s quite small — and had to completely furnish it.” She met up with Ladow and had every single piece of furniture made for the house. Their creations would become Caroline Stanbury for Earlcrown.

The collection, which includes pieces like a channel-tufted velvet vanity seat with a brass base ($ 1,701) and an angular chaise inspired by an Issey Miyake gown ($ 2,662), is unapologetically girly and a bit over the top, much like Stanbury herself, or at least her TV persona.

WATCH THIS: Ladies Of London Star Caroline Stanbury Talks New Furniture Collection

 

“I think the reason I’m known from Ladies of London is my one-liners, being a little bit out there, a little bit ridiculous,” she says. “In the world we live in today, people need a little bit of release, to look at a bubble and go, ‘I love that. It’s fun and it’s pretty and it’s exciting.’ And if you look at the furniture, I think it’s all of those things. It makes me happy to look at it.”

RELATED: Inside Ladies of London Star Marissa Hermer’s New L.A. Mansion and Why She’s ‘Obsessed’ with Her Master Bathroom 

But she’s quick to point out that you don’t have to be a fan of hers to enjoy her creations for the home: the pieces are completely customizable, so those weary of the pastel hues can still enjoy the luxe-looking shapes and finishes. “You don’t like my colors? Change it to whatever you like,” she says. Adding, “I’m Marmite anyway” — a reference to the divisive English condiment. “The people who don’t like it probably don’t like me. Hopefully there will be a lot of people who love it.”

Caroline Stanbury for Earlcrown is available now. E-mail design@ecmylife.com for details.

Ladies of London airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on Bravo.


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APC Opens in London’s Notting Hill

APC’S LONDON LATEST: APC has opened its third store in London, in the city’s Notting Hill area.
The 700-square-foot space, which had a soft opening last month, stands at 34 Ledbury Road, nearby Diane von Furstenberg, Zadig & Voltaire and Matchesfashion.com on the street.
Laurent Deroo architects — APC’s longtime collaborator — designed the store together with the Paris-based label’s founder Jean Touitou.
The store’s interiors make a feature of narrow, glazed gray ceramic bricks, designed to evoke London’s Victorian pub tiles, which are set in pale oak frames to form walls and partitions in the store. There are also brass light-fittings and pale wood floors.
The space carries APC’s men’s and women’s collections, alongside accessories, quilts and candles. It adds to APC’s existing London stores on east London’s Redchurch Street and on Lexington Street in Soho.

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London’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise Names Designers to Pioneer Program

YOUNG PIONEERS: The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a British business incubator, has announced the six London-based designers who will join its New Fashion Pioneer Program, which runs for six months. They are the LVMH Grand Prix scholarship winner Richard Malone; women’s wear designer Min Wu; Lei Sihan of the jewelry brand Lion Studio; the design duo Gyo Kim and Yuni Choe of the sustainable women’s wear label Gyo Yuni Kimchoe; performance activewear designer Charli Cohen, and Fashion East men’s wear designer Grace Wales Bonner.
“These Pioneer designers represent a new crop of talent who are breaking the mold. They redefine what a fashion business is, and illustrate that today’s new designers can explore design, fashion and product from a range of different angles with sufficient talent to lead new markets,” said Wendy Malem, director of the CFE.
“Since we launched our label, we have faced so many difficulties and problems in various areas and the program and the support it provides will be such a huge help to overcome these obstacles and grow as a sustainable business,” said designers Gyo Kim and Yuni Choe. Among the program’s alumni are fashion labels Erdem, Thomas Tait, Marques’Almeida, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto and Craig Green.

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Derek Jarman Remembered: Will You Dance With Me? at London’s BFI LGBT Film Festival

There would have to be something miraculous about a new film by gay, British art-house director and artist Derek Jarman, but that’s exactly what London’s BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival offered last weekend. Jarman, who died 20 years ago, put together a VHS tape following people in a nightclub back in September 1984. Released for the first time as Will You Dance With Me?, the footage was to help fellow director Ron Peck with the casting and styling of his feature film Empire State, which eventually came into being, though without Jarman’s brilliant touch, three years later.

Watching 78 minutes of roving camera shot across a tiny dance floor and among the characters crowding around the bar of Benjy’s in Mile End, East London, may not sound like your idea of an evening’s entertainment, but think again. Remember, this is Derek Jarman behind the camera. He was a cinematic genius, a visual poet who could make spilt beer brooding.

Anyone who remembers the ’80s in Britain will recognize the scene: the carpeted floor, the dingy plush booths, the long pool of light that is the bar, the tininess of if all — everything, in fact, suggestive of someone’s front-room conversion rather than the cavernous, multilevel dance halls of later eras. This is the local disco with its twice-a-week gay nights, a place as thrilling and scary as any back alley for a 20-year-old out to hook up and pick up. Gay bars and pubs still blacked out their windows then, and no one really wanted to be seen entering or exiting. Within is a world of satin prints, cotton jumpers, ass-hugging slacks, New Romantic quiffs, perms, and lining the pints of beer up at the bar — paradise, in other words. My own personal paradise was The Coven in Oxford, where town met gown on a dance floor that was overcrowded with half a dozen people on it. There was the promise of sex, waking up in a strange bedroom, bussing home with Oxford’s commuters in last night’s underwear, a not-so-guilty secret, feeling special at last rather than feeling like a freak, knowing that you’re not alone.

The initial impression in the first few moments of Will You Dance With Me? is not exactly nostalgia but a sort of synesthetic sense memory of poppers, Stella Artois and Eau Sauvage. But if that was all it had to offer, it wouldn’t be worth more than five minutes of your time. Jarman cannot help but weave a plot from his material, following one dancer after another, ranging back to the bar to inspect the profile of a drag queen or zooming across the club to eavesdrop on a pretty boy blue and his older companion. The camera becomes a prowler, apparently omnivorous but actually on the hunt for something particular, something it will know when it sees it. There is wry humor here; quixotic dance routines elicited applause from the cinema audience. And the soundtrack was that of my early 20s: Sister Sledge, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Evelyn Thomas, the anvil beat of a generation’s heart, worth issuing on its own.

At last Jarman’s video narrator finds what he’s looking for, a handsome young man, chiseled, sensitive, though paradoxically a bit rough around the edges. “Will you dance with me?” he asks, giving the film’s producers their title. “In a minute,” the boy diffidently replies, as though turning down the likes of Derek Jarman were a nightly occurrence.

And the last 15 minutes or so of the film become a paean to this youth, or perhaps to youth itself. When he asks him to dance to camera, under the lights the young man’s face has an almost unbearably sad beauty to it, fragile and vulnerable — and we’re reminded that HIV/AIDS was already the uninvited guest at the party. How many there that night in 1984 would not see their 30s or 40s? Jarman himself only had 10 years left to live.

Phillip Williamson was the young man, and he went on to star in Jarman’s exquisite distillation of Shakespeare’s sonnets, The Angelic Conversation. Benjy’s was never used in the film, and the innovative handheld camerawork remained on a shelf for 30 years. Of course, the whole thing was set up, and that is the artistry of it, for the film feels like a video montage of an average night out. Although fashions may have changed (thankfully), and although the settings may have become slicker, the essential butterflies in the belly are still the same for today’s clubbers, which makes the movie universal.

Will You Dance With Me? is a worthy addition to Jarman’s stable, a splendid, romantic, heady, scrappy, noisy, artful hymn to a moment-in-time gay scene that is also for all time.

While there’s talk of a general release, Will You Dance With Me? will be at a film festival near you soon.
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