Also on hand was Rowan Atkinson, who played Fagin in a West End production of Oliver!
“I think it’s an extremely important evening. Dickens is an invaluable part of British literary heritage,” Atkinson said. “I am making the most of the opportunity to do it now as I probably won’t be around when we celebrate it in another 100 years’ time.”
He said that it was a “privilege” to be invited to celebrate Dickens – and managed to avoid the pratfalls of his most famous character, Mr. Bean, when he met Her Majesty.
Against a backdrop of a decayed Walt Disney castle — what its creator, the artist Rachel Feinstein, called “rococo with a nasty underside” — the models walked out with an air of sweet melancholy, wearing gigantic fur hats, tailored Mary Poppins jackets in brocade tweed over cropped pants or paisley patterned dresses with the prim aura of a Dickensian world.
The lyrics of “Who Will Buy This Wonderful Morning?” by Lionel Bart, from the 1963 musical of the Charles Dickens story “Oliver Twist,” gave a sense of melancholy to the short, round capes topping curved silhouettes. Yet among the sobriety, brocade tweed glittered and crystal buckles sparkled on high-tongued Pilgrim shoes.