“Celebrating its 10-year anniversary and fifth Annual Winter Weekend, ASmallWorld (ASW) once again opened the Gstaad Palace doors to 200 friends from all over the world. This was my second trip with ASW and I knew the drill. There would be delicious food, interesting conversation, and an abundance of laughter and dancing — all captured on my Olympus OMD. And of course the icing on the cake: raising money for a great cause. This year it was War Child UK, a non-profit that my dear friend Carey Mulligan is an ambassador for.
Almost everyone had travel issues. Delays, cancelations, you name it. This didn’t dampen anyone’s mood — it just meant that nobody arrived on time. My group — out of London — included Carey, our buddies Jeremy Irvine and James Fulcher, as well as Janina Joffe, Pixie Geldof, Phoebe Collings-James, Paula Goldstein, and Caroline Lever.
By 8.00pm, even travel stragglers like Waris Ahluwalia had gathered downstairs, refreshed and ready to really begin the weekend. Friends embraced, new friends were introduced, people sipped Grey Goose cocktails, and everyone admired the jewellery from Maiyet and bespoke ties from Masel. After a cozy, candlelit dinner, Hud Morgan, Jessica and Janina Joffe started the dance party at GreenGo, a bold group hit the hot tub and stayed until the wee hours of the morning, and weekend host Sabine Heller opened up her hotel suite to late night iPod DJing.
A few ambitious souls like Kick Kennedy and Leigh Lezark got up early to go skiing, but most took the mid-day ski lift to the summit of Wasserngrat Mountain for a traditional Swiss fondue lunch: wine, melted cheese, and an Alpine view to die for. I was happy to be snuggled in my second Miu Miu outfit of the weekend, a fun, faux, furry leopard print coat. ASW weekends are full of bold outfit choices — colour, prints, and embroidery — the bolder the better. After lunch, Carey and I explored the town while others sped to the spa before getting ready for another lovely evening together.
Saturday night was another visual feast in the clothing department: the ballroom was jammed with beaded gowns, feathers, milk carton and polar bear clutches, you name it (I had chosen a colourful Osman for Tinker Tailor dress). The gentlemen held their own too: velvet tuxes, silk bowties, Louis Vuitton silver sequined shoes. But everyone had a single goal in mind: to raise as much as we could for War Child. Carey had a heartfelt speech and a beautiful accompanying video while Sabine Heller and ASW’s Patrick Liotard-Vogt auctioned off everything from a Hublot watch to a kiss on the cheek from yours truly. It was wonderful to see that as expected, all of Carey’s previous nervousness had been for not — she inspired people to the core; her passion more than evident; the cause more than worthy.
To celebrate the evening’s success, Flour Shop’s Amirah Kassem encased her perfect cake balls in white balloons to be popped with gold pins and promptly enjoyed. Then just what I was hoping for: dancing. Louis-Marie Castelbajac, Kyle Hotchkiss Carone, Hud, Jeremy and James helped us start the movement. Cleo Wade generously lent her crown to Hud while Chelsea Leyland, Caitlin Fitzgerald, and the Joffe sisters brought some serious steps. I couldn’t tell you what songs we danced to, I can only remember being dipped multiple times, the blur of smiling faces, and the feeling of pure happiness.”