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Theatre Royal Drury Lane's new Red Coat uniforms designed by Charles Jeffrey (Photo: Oli Kearon)

Theatre Royal Drury Lane reveals brand new Red Coat uniforms designed by Charles Jeffrey

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 8 September 2021, Last Updated 1 October 2021

World-famous designer Charles Jeffrey – the creative mind behind the punk Loverboy label – is bringing his edgy touch to the West End by giving the Theatre Royal Drury Lane‘s Red Coats a brand new look!

After a two-year-long restoration project (that cost a whooping £60 million!), the theatre – which is the oldest in the West End – is back open with a stunning new-look auditorium, four new food and drink areas, plus a snazzy new uniform for the venue’s hospitality staff, also known as the ‘Red Coats’.

In a bid to restore the former glory of the 1922 auditorium and bring versatility to the historical building, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Lady Madeleine set about giving the venue, affectionately known as The Lane, a makeover fit for modern audiences. And what a transformation it is!

The Auditorium, Theatre Royal Drury Lane (Photo credit: Philip Vile)

Part of that plan included giving the esteemed luxury hospitality team a beautiful yet contemporary new look that matches the “exceptionally high-end” service on offer. And who better to bring that to life than the iconic Charles Jeffrey,  described by Vogue‘s renowned fashion critic Sarah Mower as “the upholder of all that is human, creative and cheerful about British fashion.”

Charles is known for his wild and wacky seasonal designs, inspired by his friends and creative colleagues that include everything from musicians and artists to drag queens and poets. And, as expected the stunning new uniforms echoes his support of gender fluidity movement in the fashion industry.

Charles Jeffrey and his newly designed Red Coat uniforms that are fit for a runway (Photo: Oli Kearon)

The uniform, which consists of a frock coat in blood-red tartan which can be paired with either matching red trousers or a kilt, packs on the designer’s signature punk spirit. What’s beneath the jacket you might ask? The most crisp white dress shirt, said to be a nod to the iconic venue’s long history.

(Photo: Oli Kearon)

Speaking about the avante-garde redesign in an interview, Charles 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 [ie, 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.”

(Photo: Oli Kearon)

If you’re in Theatreland or catching a show to see in the West End, we certainly recommend you check out the glow-up in person. And while you’re there, why not enjoy a tasty tipple at the Cecil Beaton inspired cocktail bar or perhaps grab a bite to eat at all-dining restaurant, The Garden. Check out what’s on offer in our full story below.

Related Article: First look: Theatre Royal Drury Lane reopens following £60 million refurbishment
After a two-year-long restoration project, the oldest theatre in the West End, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, is finally open! We reveal the new look here!

Check out the uniforms below and don’t forget the brand new Disney’s Frozen musical is currently playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Watch Elsa and Anna’s story come to life on stage in the newly refurbished auditorium, which we think is a magical wonderland in its own right 🙂


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