Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY collaborates with Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber on "The Lane" Red Coats

Lauretta Roberts
30 July 2021

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY has collaborated with Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber on the creation of a spectacular new look for the newly restored Theatre Royal Drury Lane's "Red Coats".

The theatre, affectionately known as "The Lane", asked the designer, known for his avant grade, inclusive and gender neutral designs, to reimagine the unforms for the Red Coats, which are the Lloyd Webber theatres' luxury hospitality team.

First introduced the theatres in 1989, the Red Coat is a role steeped in British history, based on the traditional Toastmasters who would oversee hosting and entertaining for British society.

Charles Jeffrey's work is beloved by everyone from artists and performers to musicians, drag queens and poets, and the team behind The Lane noticed the "infectious energy LOVERBOY exudes" and wanted to include this ethos in the building's restoration.

Charles Jeffrey said he was inspired by the vision of what The Lane could become and created a design that reflected a space for swathes of different people, all in the pursuit of being entertained.

Credit: Oli Kearon

The designer said: I see the Red Coats as arbiters of information, they have such rich distinction that when I started thinking about how to reinterpret their classic uniforms, I felt compelled to explore ‘Red in Art’ (i.e. Rothko) and ‘Red in Semiotics’ as key vehicles to drive the manifestation of these designs.

"Theatre Royal Drury Lane also has its own extensive art collection, including illustrations by costume designer Cecil Beaton himself, which allowed me to peer into the stories and experiences the Red Coats might have had at the theatre. Working with Andrew, Madeleine and the whole LW Theatres team to find the Red Coats place in today’s interpretation of the theatre has been incredibly inspiring.”

Madeleine Lloyd Webber said of the project: Charles Jeffrey is changing the face of fashion with his avant-garde designs. As we undertook the enormous project of reimagining Theatre Royal Drury Lane, we knew we wanted to redesign our iconic Red Coats. Charles' singular perspective, inspired creativity and incredible ethos made this an easy choice.

"I was particularly inspired by how Charles’ designs seemed to reflect and pay tribute to the magnificent architecture of Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which we have painstakingly restored to its former glory. We are absolutely thrilled with the result and can’t wait to see The Lane’s new Red Coats welcoming guests for months and years to come."

Every detail visible within the collection was also inspired by creative elements internally and externally of the building:

  • The lining is inspired by the Greek Revival architecture seen throughout the regal theatre, which is mimicked in symbols from the SPACER’S RUNIC (Fictional International Code of Signals for Space) that represent friendship and communication
  • Charles Jeffrey directed an alignment with Rothko’s work within the visual language of the collection. The suits, rendered in red tartan, are something one can only digest when much closer - much like Rothko’s works
  • The metallic detailing was added to interrupt the look yet add a function to it, bringing incongruity for visual interest

Theatre Royal Drury Lane has been reimagined as an all-day stylish destination with entertainment, dining, cocktails and guided tours in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. It is open to all, including those who are not attending a show, with no booking required.

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