Soho celebs strip off for charity show

 

Sadie Frost and Jaime Winstone have posed naked in photographs at London's Groucho Club to raise money for the National Autistic Society. Frost is stretching naked on a bed and Winstone is sitting on a chair, with nothing but a vintage red gypsy curtain over her lap. Organised by Bernie Katz, the club's manager, this collection of nude and semi-nude portraits of stars of Soho, snapped by Andrea Vecchiato, are on show this week at London's The Gallery Soho.

Other revealing portraits include Alison Steadman next to a painting, The Mousetrap's Georgina Sutcliffe posing by a snooker table, and actress Eloise Valentine Smyth, daughter of Cathal Smyth (Chas Smash) from Madness, who made her debut in Plan B's first directorial feature Ill Manors, languishing under a white duvet. Some of the portraits will eventually be hung in the men's loos at the Groucho in a move to match the ladies loos.

"Last year we photographed naked men, including Dominic Cooper and Tom Hardy," says organiser Katz. "We hung some of the men's photographs, including one of Tom Parker Bowles, in the ladies loo." But despite having thrown aside their clothes, the sitters had hairdresser-to-the-stars Johnnie Sapong on hand to style their hair for the photos.

It may have been a shock for many famous women when Katz ran up to them to ask them "to take off their clothes for him", but it seems to have worked out well.

"They are beautiful and vibrant photographs," says Katz. "When the photographs are all together, the nakedness goes away. It's just these beautiful portraits of these strong and brave women."

Winstone said: "When my little mate Bernie asked me to join his naked army of women to raise awareness of autism and to support The National Austistic Society, my answer was, of course, 'yes'." And Frost said: "As a mother myself, I understand the demands of being a parent ... We must do all we can to help children, and this charity does exactly that." The Italian photographer and film director Vecchiato added: "I tried as best as I could to lose any mannerism, or hint of style that could reveal the work as mine.

"This is about these people who have the courage to say: 'Here I am; this is me; no make-up; no artifice; and are willing to be photographed unclothed to help raise money for and awareness of a really worthwhile cause'." Next year will see the release of a limited-edition photography book featuring both men and women.

'The Sitter, Not The Artist, Part 2' at The Gallery Soho, London WC2 (www.thegallerysoho.com) until tomorrow (www.autism.org.uk)

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