Bettina's Take, London: Tod's Art Plus Drama Party at Whitechapel

I love a contemporary art party, especially a cutting edge one with lots of sizzle.

Wonder where anyone was going to pair the over-the-top Cesare Paciotti shoes with the borderline Dolce outfit?

Art party.

The eccentric 'do you thought only La Roux's lead singer could wear on stage?

Art party.

The very white, almost Kabuki makeup that obscures all but the deep red lips?

Art party.

And where on earth you'd find all these looks in a room teeming with celebrities, fashion people, and the crème de la crème of society?

Art party.

The East End of London was buzzing on March 24, specifically the Whitechapel Gallery. One of the most highly regarded contemporary art venues in the world, its annual party celebrates the fusion of art with another cultural discipline. And this year, that discipline was theater (spelled "theatre" in England, thank you very much).

The Art Plus Drama Party was packed with 400 art and drama aficionados who came to watch respected actors such as Jonathan Pryce perform dramatic pieces written by established contemporary artists, including Barbara Kruger, Lynda Benglis, and Vito Acconci.

The benefit—sponsored by Tod's with Harper's Bazaar U.K. serving as a media partner—also included an auction of artworks by Nan Goldin, Lawrence Weiner, and others, with the proceeds going toward "[bringing] the arts to children and young people from all backgrounds, and to [providing] a platform for artists around the world," according to Whitechapel director Iwona Blazwick.

Tod's Chairman and CEO Diego Della Valle is deeply committed to supporting the arts, from every century and every discipline. Earlier this year he donated €25 million to restore the Colosseum in Rome. That's a lot of driving shoes.

"We believe in the arts, and we want to support them, both to share the beauty and history of the past and to help create meaningful culture for the future," said the charming Della Valle.

Following the performances, guests descended the staircase into the soaring space, where a DJ was spinning dance music. Guests drank champagne and fancy organic fruit juice drinks (some with ginger, the hot flavor du jour—art party!), and ate parmesan-crusted chicken in tomato sauce, and risotto in small bowls.

Jude Law, one of the chairs, was a no-show (or at least until 11; I left after that), but co-chair Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst was making sure all was going well. Donatella Flick, another art patron, looked like a walking sculpture, while the respected artist Sue Webster (Tim Noble's partner) mingled, as did Dinos Chapman. Princess Tatiana of Greece was a vision—just the right mix of hip and elegant—as was the striking Bina von Stauffenberg.

It was loud and filled with energy, hardly a place to sit in excruciatingly high heels, but who wanted to sit anyway? We wanted to talk and watch: What did you think? Who did you see? Where are you going? What do you think of my dress? I love your outfit. She's wearing a thong under her leather pants. Twenty-five million euros to the Colosseum. Let's dance. What fun. Are you having fun? Time to leave.

Art party.

Photos: Mariella Frostrup, Harper's Bazaar U.K. editor in chief Lucy Yeomans, and Diego Della Valle (top); Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana of Greece with Della Valle (bottom).