Every year, the The Art of Elyisum, a charity that brings art to critically-ill children, hosts a pre-Golden Globes gala to raise money, awareness, and support for its organization. And this isn’t your regular black-tie shindig. The non-profit collaborates with a designer or artist on the décor and theme of the bash and gives them one mission: Create your vision of heaven and hell.
This year, fashion designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood and her husband, creative director, and design partner Andreas Kronthaler took the helm, and used the opportunity to make a statement about environmental sustainability. Cocktail hour was meant to represent hell, with the bleak décor illustrating the possibilities of an overly industrialized modern world.
Then, the room transformed into heaven as guests like Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Kaley Cuoco, Zendaya, and more ventured into have dinner in a seemingly post-apocalyptic rain forest. Trees and flowers surrounded the room, and placecards were written on leaves. Centerpieces had protester signs towering above the floral arrangements that said things like “peace not war.”
“Fashion gives me an excuse to open my mouth,” said Westwood. “I have credibility from it and I do use it.” Her goal: “Heaven would be a paradise if we could switch to a green economy. And I’m going to talk to people here tonight about what we’re actually going to do to stop climate change, not deal with it. We are entering into hell on earth. We have to transfer to green economy—it’s our only chance to survive.”
Many of Westwood’s biggest fans showed up to support her vision and the organization, including Christina Hendricks, Ashley Madekwe, Angela Lindvall, Kelly Osbourne, Jaime King, Jamie Chung, and honoree Finola Hughes. With the ladies clad in Westwood, it was an impromptu fashion show sorts. “I’ve been a fan of hers since I knew what fashion was,” said Hendricks, who wore a scarlet gown by the designer. (Hendricks had starred in Westwood’s fashion campaign in 2011.) “She’s a badass. She’s feminine. She’s a rule breaker and I love her. She’s a true artist.”
Osbourne was flipping out over her Westwood dress, a blue and silvery confection. “I’m so honored be wearing this because I’m the first person to ever wear this new print and this is the first dress in eight years that I never had to have altered,” she said. “I’ve been a huge fan of Vivienne Westwood and what she has done for not only fashion but society as well. Her belief of being who you are regardless of what anyone else thinks has always drawn me to her. I think she is one of the most incredible—not just fashion designers, but human beings of our time.”
“She’s really the queen,” added Westwood-wearing Jaime King, who had modeled for Westwood when she was 14. “She’s the OG punk rock, badass woman who was never afraid to speak her mind, to create, to put things out there. She took what was on the streets, and what kids were doing, and put it on the runways, and had a very radical approach."
The heartfelt, passionate evening continued with a ballet performance, as well as a moving video featuring James Franco, who mysteriously appeared on stage afterwards, for a surprising conclusion only fitting of a night meant to celebrate how radical art can change lives. See more photos from the Art of Elysium Heaven Gala and the best of Golden Globes weekend bashes in the gallery.