KEEPIN’ IT GREEN: The dress code was “Repair, Reuse, Repurpose,” so it was only fitting that Alannah Weston showed up in sparkly midi dress that she’d rented from Selfridges for a surprise farewell bash at the Old Selfridges Hotel on Thursday night.
She teamed the dress with a pair of sneakers, which allowed her to sprint to the stage and make an impromptu speech in front of family (including her husband, children and mother Hilary Weston) friends, and present and former staffers.
“At six o’clock I ran down to the store and asked, ‘Do you have anything that’s sparkly and rented?’ They also gave me a Jacquemus bag and — ta-dah!” said Weston as she showed off her rented ruffle-edged dress to her guests.
“I am so so excited. I had nothing to do with this. Yet again the Selfridges team has shown how they can make all our dreams come true over and over again. I’m so lucky to have had these incredible 18 years.”
She shouted out to her mother, “the most beautiful, most inspiring person in my life. Thank you, mom, for making this my career,” said Weston, chairman of Selfridges Group, who is moving on after nearly 20 years of family ownership.
Weston’s late father Galen Weston purchased the store in 2003, transforming it into an immersive destination that fuses retail with pop culture, social and environmental issues.
Late last year, the Weston family sold the store to Thailand’s Central Group and Austria’s Signa, in a deal said to be worth 4 billion pounds. Alannah Weston will be taking a break before working on her environmentally focused projects.
Anne Pitcher, managing director of Selfridges Group, told Weston, “It’s been quite a ride, an experience ranging from the sublime to the often ridiculous, usually profound, but mainly joyful.” She added that the past two decades “have seen Alannah work tirelessly to enshrine new systems of sustainability and innovation in the future of the Selfridges brand. We’re exhausted.”
Guests, who downed Champagne and shared plates of fish tacos, lobster rolls, buttermilk fried chicken and wild mushroom sliders, all had personal ties to Weston.
They included designers such as Osman Yousefzada, whose artworks hang in the VIP areas of the Selfridges stores, and the stylist Bay Garnett, who collaborates with the store and curates Selfridges Oxfam space.
Andrew Keith, Selfridges’ current managing director, was also in the mix alongside Sebastian Manes, the store’s buying and merchandising director, and John Edgar, the current chief executive officer of Fenwick and Selfridges’ former finance director.
The entertainment included live piano performances; a DJ set by the Fancy Shrews, who arrived in a tiny toy car; another DJ set by Fat Tony; a performer called Margot lip-synching Madonna songs, and a confetti cannon moment.
Guests sat at tables, lounged on sofas and danced in the space, which had been transformed into a fantastical attic filled with window and store props from the past 18 years. There was a life-size baby giraffe, a pack of Corgis gathered near the bar, and crates filled with bright, glittery objects from all those annual themed takeovers, including including Radical Luxury, Good Nature, Music Matters, Agender, and the Beauty Project.
True to its green ethos, Selfridges hangs onto it all: there is zero waste on this glamorous patch of Oxford Street.