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The Best British Parties Ever

by Adam Fletcher

As silly as it might sound to some, one of the things that we miss the most right now is the entire going out-out experience. From the excitement of finding something new to wear (big nights out aren’t complete without an online order on the way, right?), to the random chats with people we won’t probably remember tomorrow, the endless mirror selfies with our best gal pals, and spending 80% of our pay purely on cocktails - we MISS it all. Heck, it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t even say “no” to the hangover day that follows, too.

So, if you feel like a good ol’ trip down memory lane, introduce yourself to some of the most epic club nights, exclusive parties, and legendary street parades that ever happened to date. Expect to see Madonna’s Marylebone rave, a magical night out with McQueen, a VIP event via Victoria Beckham, and so much more. Disclaimer: you’ll probably want to start prepping that post-lockdown party look after reading this.

P.S. As we gear up to celebrate VE Day (8th May), there is no better time than now to get nostalgic and reflect on the events that we wish we’d attended. Take a peep...

1. Peace's Teas Post WWI, 1919

Right, let's take a second to soak up this tea party. There's bunting, rows of food and entry for everyone – we're speechless. Fun fact: 1919 was the first time that street parties were organised on a scale this big - as part of the Peace Treaty celebrations - and enjoyed as official sit-down moments. More tea, anyone?

2. VE Day Celebrations, 1945

Is there anything more worthy of an occasion than celebrating the end of an entire world war? We think not. This year marks the 75th anniversary since we’ve all started celebrating Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day. And, just because we can’t spend it with all our pals, doesn’t mean we can’t fly our flag at home and look at feel-good images like this.

3. Stones Concert in Hyde Park, 1969

The festival season is just almost upon us. But, how things have changed: last year, we were preparing to dance in fields in the summer of 2019. This time around..? So, as we can’t physically be at any festivals, we can be there in spirit by reliving some of the most iconic concert moments in history – like this FREE, Rolling Stones-headlined festival in London's Hyde Park. *Drops mic*

4. The First Glastonbury Festival, 1970

Anyone else thought that the most-talked-about festival, Glasto, has been a permanent thing since time began? Hey, it’s an easy assumption to make. Well, it first opened its doors on Saturday 19 September 1970, was attended by 1,500 people and cost a mere £1 per ticket. More space, affordable pricing (more money for drinks when you’re there), and headlined by The Kinks. Ideal, right?

5. Notting Hill Carnival, 1978

he arrival of Sunday 30th August signals one thing - it’s time to go to Notting Hill Carnival. Taking place on the streets of west London since the 1960s, you forever count on carni to serve up a whole lot of fun, food, floats, fire emoji-worthy tunes and two whole days of celebrating Caribbean culture. Oh, and expect fashion looks for days, too. Good times…

6. The Opening of The Blitz Club, 1979

Once upon a time, getting into London nightclub The Blitz was similar to going for a job interview: unpredictable. If you weren’t well connected, or more importantly, if you didn’t look the part, expect to hear these words: “Please exit to the left.” How to be a queen of the night and ensure entry? Arrive with the likes of Boy George, Steve Strange, and Philip Sallon.

7. Rave Becomes Legal in The UK, 1990

Does anyone attend raves just for the music? Nope, not us – and certainly not these partygoers, either. Since the early 1990s, the British rave scene has been a source of inspiration for fashion and catwalk shows far and wide – and it still influences some of the trends we know and love today. Tie-dye? Yus. Sequins? Sure. Smiley slogans? Definitely. We say: rave on.

8. The Beckham Wedding, 1999

If you haven’t seen the pics yet – where have you been hiding? It made front-page news around the globe in 1999, so we suggest that you give this wedding a revisit to understand exactly what we’re talking about. Hint: expect matching haircuts, crystal crucifix-style chokers and golden thrones for Posh and Becks to casually perch on at the altar. It’s got EVERYTHING and more.

9. Kate Moss' 30th Birthday Bash, 2004

Let’s get one thing right – Kate Moss doesn’t do parties by halves, and her 30th birthday bash was no exception. Here, celebrating her special day back in 2014, Kate started her night off with casual drinks in Claridge's with Sadie and Stella McCartney wearing a floor-length dress (first worn by Britt Ekland in 1974), curled hair and a cute bag. Moss is (literally) the stuff of early 00s dreams.

10. Madonna's House Party, 2010

Right now, don’t you just long for the chance to attend a house party – you know, similar to the ones that you used to attend with your besties back in the day? Well, Madonna missed them so much so that she organised one in her Marylebone-based home in 2010 (and got herself an official warning from council along the way…oops).

11. Tom Ford's Party at Harry's Bar, 2010

If you’re heading on a night out, the last words you want to hear are “You’re not coming in.” Well, although Alexander McQueen and his best friend (and muse) Annabelle Neilson weren’t on the guest list for Tom Ford’s party, they showed up regardless and stepped right on in. Their trick? Wear a pink dress covered in diamonds and a fluffy coat with a hood, of course.

12. Will & Kate's Royal Wedding, 2011

If you’re heading on a night out, the last words you want to hear are “You’re not coming in.” Well, although Alexander McQueen and his best friend (and muse) Annabelle Neilson weren’t on the guest list for Tom Ford’s party, they showed up and stepped right on in anyway. Their trick? Wear a pink dress covered in diamonds and a fluffy coat with a hood, of course.

13. The London Olympics, 2012

Do you remember the 2012 London Olympics? It’s pretty hard to forget TBH. Our fave highlights: the Spice Girls reuniting at the closing ceremony, Naomi Campbell in an all-gold Alexander McQueen look, and supermodel of the universe Georgia May Jagger sashaying up and down the runway. Every box was officially ticked.

14. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 2012

The year 2012 marked the Diamond Jubilee - and another fashion moment- of Elizabeth II. Here, the Queen can be seen sticking her usual fashion uniform: a coat-dress-and-matching-hat combo, a pair of gloves, a pearl necklace and a broach to finish. Then there’s the canary-yellow-and-white colourway to keep things looking and feeling fresh. We’re 100% here for it.

15. London Pride, 2015

Thanks to the likes of key figures like Marsha P Johnson, we have Pride events and marches across the globe today – London being one of the biggest in the world (in 2015 it was 7th largest). Not only is it a chance to celebrate togetherness, and bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s a moment to debut your boldest, brightest and most colourful looks, too. Welcome the rainbow.

16. Vogue's Welcome Party For Edward Enninful, 2017

His vision: to address a myriad of topics from body image to gender. His VIP guest list: Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and every supermodel in fashion’s little black book. Some of our favourite style icons came together in 2017 for one major party, in the River Café, to celebrate the new Editor of British Vogue: Edward Enninful. It really was the party to end every other.