When I found out Gymbox were holding ‘Extravaganza À La Noir’, a sexy masquerade party in a secret location, there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting a ticket…even the fact that it was being held South of the river. Yet despite all my best efforts to be organised, I still found myself running around Westfield Stratford (aka, hell) on the day itself, desperately trying to find an outfit. After finally sorting my life out, a glass of wine (or two) was much needed, and so it was almost 10pm by the time me and my plus one rolled up to the venue: Flat Iron Square’s Omeara.
One look at the queue showed me that people had taken this dress code very seriously – one guest was wearing wings, whilst another was rocking a slightly terrifying pinochio-esque beak. But I guess this was to be expected, given that this was a party for fitness fanatics like myself, who pride themselves on never doing things by halves.
15 minutes later and my friend and I had made our way through security, stored our emergency flat shoes in the cloak room, and reached the bar. The dimly lit interior of Omeara was already packed, and I found myself surrounded by an assortment of smart suits, latex and masked faces. It was then that I realised perhaps Bruce Wayne’s disguise wasn’t as flimsy as I’d always thought – turns out having the top half of your face hidden really does render you semi-unrecognisable.
After grabbing two drinks and wondering whether I’d just spilt prosecco on my favourite gym instructor, we headed to the dance floor to enjoy the nights entertainment: the soulful R&B vibes of Desta French. Accompanied by a live band, Desta was somehow able to look sexy whilst wearing what looked like a transparent rain mac over a silk red shirt, and her palpable confidence and attitude fit both the Gymbox style and the classy interior of Omeara to a T. Speaking of Omeara, the event space - masterminded by none other than Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons – provided the ideal party venue; the ornate, gilded stage and sunken dance floor of the main room created a theatrical atmosphere that perfectly suited the masked theme.
After an hour or so of shamelessly grooving on the dance floor, my friend and I headed upstairs to the terrace. This was a leafy space that offered up glorious fresh air to those seeking respite from the sweaty dance floor...It also had another bar.
Having discovered this, it wasn’t long before I was tipsy and making friends with numerous masked strangers, who provided me with yet more proof that Gymbox really does have the best clients around. A special shoutout goes to the tall Aussie man who I’ll probably never see again, and the beautiful brunette I discussed the perils of the North with in the ladies toilets – my night wouldn’t have been the same without you.
I will admit that at this point my memory of the night starts to get a little hazy. I know for sure I made it back to the dance floor for DJ Ellie Prohan’s set, where I successfully managed to lose both my mask and my dignity. I do vividly remember spotting the backside of a semi-naked gimp and wondering whether I’d overdressed, before I noticed a scantily-glad dominatrix nearby and remembered that this was part of the nights entertainment; Gymbox had promised a night of elegant debauchery, and had not disappointed.
Before I knew it, 1am had rolled around and the night had become a suitably sophisticated mess. I’d lost my date, and was making more friends on the terrace as I tried to locate her. A set of incoherent text messages later and I’d found her, grappling with the cloak room attendant to obtain her spare shoes. I made the call – it was time to order an Uber and make a classy exit whilst we still could.
Fast forward to 9am, and I’m drinking black coffee with a side of berroca, prepping for a nasty hangover. Somewhat ironically, I realise I’m going to have to cancel the day’s BalletBarre class, though I have no doubt I won’t be the only one.
Gymbox, thank you for being unlike all the other gyms out there and absolutely embodying the ‘work hard, play hard’ motto – you may be to blame for this hangover, but was it worth it? Definitely.