12 JUNE 2007

A £115-million refurbishment deserves more than a little fanfare, and the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall attracted the great, the good and the outrageously flamboyant. Vivienne Westwood, the doyenne of British street style, arrived for Monday night's gala wearing one of her trademark dramatic black evening gowns, on the arm of her husband Andreas Kronthaler.

Eyebrows were raised in 1992 when news of their secret nuptials leaked out - Andreas is 25 years the flame-haired designer's junior and her former assistant - but the quirky couple are now a regular fixture at cultural events and fashionable soirees both at home and abroad.

The affair celebrating the iconic venue's two-year upgrade also drew the Duke of Kent, who has been representing his cousin the Queen at charitable events and public occasions for the last 50 years. As has become the norm since his wife Katharine dropped her HRH styling in favour of a less high-profile role as a music teacher, the Duke was a solo attendee.

Other well-known faces turning out for a concert featuring all four resident orchestras included writer Salman Rushdie, newscaster Jon Snow and TV personality Janet Street-Porter, who brightened up proceedings in an elegant fuchsia silk trouser suit.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
At the gala opening of the Royal Festival Hall iconic fashion maven Vivienne had a handsome escort in husband AndreasPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The Duke of Kent was representing royalty as the famous venue threw open its doors after a two-year faceliftPhoto: © Getty Images
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