Event Review – Sophie Tea’s ‘Women’ Show in London!
Less than 24 hours ago, Sophie Tea held her biggest ever nude catwalk event – this time in the lavish surrounds of the Waldorf Hilton in London – and Britain Uncovered once again had the privilege of being in attendance for this remarkably celebratory and body positive affair. Billed as her final ever nudie event, a total of 50 brave models were involved on this occasion; and here, we present an exclusive look at how the day unfolded.
The nude chapter of Sophie Tea’s artistic journey has been such a significant part of her career and has had an impact on so many people across the world, to the extent that it’s almost hard to fathom that the artist is moving on to pastures new. But alas, with her final nude catwalk show now in the books and her Instagram profile hinting that she “feels a change coming”, it certainly does seem like the end of an era – and for many of Sophie’s fans and followers who only became aware of her work during this nude era, a departure from the body positive art may take a little getting used to. But what better way to close the door on this hugely successful chapter than to mark it with her biggest nude catwalk event to date?
Originally due to take place in May 2020, but postponed on more than one occasion due to Coronavirus and the resulting lockdowns, the London leg of the Women event – part one of which took place in Sydney a few months back – finally came to life in England’s capital at the Waldorf Hilton yesterday afternoon, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it was very much worth the wait.
One of the hottest tickets in town, each and every one of the free tickets for the event were snapped up in a little under three minutes upon release, and shortly after midday on Saturday, August 21st, Sophie’s fans and followers finally descended upon this historic venue for the first of two shows on the day; the second of which took place in the evening and was reserved strictly for special guests and VIPs (although many of you will also have watched it being streamed live on Sophie’s YouTube channel).
Having been there for Send Nudes, Sophie’s very first nude catwalk event all the way back in December 2019 (you can read our review of the event here), it seemed only fitting that we were also in attendance for this final chapter – and in the 620 days that passed between the events, a mere glance around at the classy surrounds of the Waldorf tells you all you need to know about just how insanely successful Sophie has been with her empowering and inspiring nude artwork in the time that has passed.
As atmospheric and accommodating as the industrial Protein Studios were for that inaugural event, the Waldorf is clearly a massive step up and far more luxurious in every conceivable way, and Sophie explained in the event programme that she first visited the venue two years ago during a London Fashion Week show, and had dreamed of holding her own show within the same four walls ever since – and all things considered, it didn’t take her all that long to make this vision a reality. Sophie went on in her programme notes to thank everyone in attendance for making this dream come true, and it was a fitting venue to host this final nudie event.
The venue itself is in equal parts magnificent and majestic (to the point that Sophie was jokingly worried about getting her deposit back having seen a few paint spills on the floor!), and for the Women event, the venue was split into two distinct areas. The marble-floored Palm Court, built in 1908, was the location for the catwalk and the area where the bulk of the day’s attendees were located; but, rather inventively – and to accommodate as many of Sophie’s fans into the venue as possible – the Adelphi Suite function room was also used a separate overflow area. Although it didn’t offer any direct views out over the catwalk area, it did offer the perk of being filled wall-to-wall with some of Sophie’s amazing nude artwork (much of which had been lifted from her brand new shop and gallery in Carnaby Street); and in addition, the parade was also streamed live on giant screens, ensuring that nobody missed out and that a gathering of additional guests were also able to help celebrate the end of this enormously successful era.
Yesterday’s event – the sixth and final nudie event – was the fourth overall in London (with the other two taking place in Sydney, Sophie’s residence during lockdown). When the occasion was finally given the green light several months back, over 2,000 of Sophie’s fans and followers volunteered to be among the models! This figure was ultimately whittled down to a list of 50 incredible women who were chosen – primarily based on the personal stories they shared with their applications – and as per past shows, they were painted up by Sophie Tea and her team during the day in anticipation for their catwalk debuts later in the afternoon.
A long queue had formed by the entrance that stretched all the way into the street and spilled out onto the Strand, and shortly before 3pm, the doors were officially opened and attendees rushed in to snap up the best viewing points possible. We would estimate that, all told, there were in the region of 400 people in and around the catwalk in the Palm Court area, and once everyone had settled themselves in and with a palpable energy in the air, the festivities finally got underway at around 3.40pm – starting with a promo video running through some of Sophie’s previous career highlights along with a reel of amusing behind-the-scenes moments captured by her camera crew.
The catwalk models began to emerge shortly thereafter, and due to the sheer quantity of ladies involved and in the interests of time, they were each assigned a partner and teamed up in pairs – which was actually a really nice touch that likely gave both individuals some reassurance, a confidence boost, and quite likely a unique friendship and bond for life also. Each duo had their own specific soundtrack, and the playlist – which of course included the likes of Beyoncé, Lizzo, Lady Gaga and yes, even Dolly Parton – was also included in the programme and will likely be coming to a Spotify playlist near you (if it hasn’t emerged already).
The catwalk lasted 15 minutes from start to finish, and compared to the Sydney leg of the Women show (which we spied on Sophie’s Instagram live back in May), it did feel as though the models had a little less time to strut their stuff in comparison; which is understandable given just how many ladies were involved, but still a little bit of a shame for those involved that they weren’t able to milk the adulation for just a little bit longer than the time they received. None of this detracted from the impact of the event, of course, and it was incredibly inspiring to see each and every one of these painted models bravely strutting down the catwalk in various states of undress in front of a hugely enthusiastic audience.
Once all 50 ladies had completed their walk, they then emerged back onto the catwalk all together for a curtain call – many with tears in their eyes – but this time, with Sophie herself leading the charge and rightly enjoying her own slice of the limelight too! After a brief speech to thank the models and everyone in attendance for making the event possible, confetti rained down from above and Sophie and her legion of models headed back upstage to roars of approval from the crowd, marking the end of a job that was perfectly executed.
Once the main festivities were completed, attendees were encouraged to mingle and enjoy the art that was on show in the Adelphi Suite, and many people formed an orderly line to grab a selfie and a quick chat with Sophie out in the Palm Court area too. Intriguingly, the day was also being documented by Channel 4 camera crews for an upcoming programme – tentatively titled The History of Breasts – and it will be interesting to see how the event was captured and how it will be presented to a national audience. We’re looking forward to reliving it all in the not-too-distant future!
Finally, Sophie Tea is marking the occasion with the release of Golden Girl, a commemorative, special edition show print that launched at 10am on August 22. Limited to just 1,000 pieces, each of the prints was gold-foiled (24k) by the artist herself in the week leading up to the show. Priced at £1,000, the print will only be available for 24 hours, and will likely have sold out by the time you read this if previous releases are anything to go by!
Check out the below slideshow for even more of our images from yesterday's event! Be sure to use the arrows on the left and right to scroll through our selection.