RSVIP: BCBG Sponsors Kooky Fun Whitney Museum Art Party
"It took a couple of people to zip me into this dress," Christina Ricci, an early arrival at an off site Whitney Museum soiree, told Luxist, her dark hair artfully ironed flat. The slenderized young actress claimed that friends had squeezed her into the stretchy neo-Herve Leger bandage dress designed by Max Azria, the present owner of the label, and his wife, Lubov. The signature Leger gown created the effect that the wearer had been wrapped up in bandages in the sexiest possible fashion, no spanks needed.
Ricci, best known as Wednesday Addams in "The Addams Family" film series was graciously attending the BCBGMaxAzriaGroup-sponsored Whitney Contemporaries art party and auction on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at a loftlike space on Mercer Street in SoHo. With a tweak by Bronson Van Wyck, the interior resembled a windblown forest of privet with peony blossoms the size of dinner plates floating in Plexiglass towers. "The Whitney lets us go wild with this party," said the party designer to the stars. "So this year we decided to actually go wild; we brought in wild vegetation, vines, huckleberry, eugenia, and tree peonies, the rarest variety."
Even the privet had sizable white blossoms. "And it only blooms for about three weeks per year," offered Van Wyck.
The space was further decorated by "Lost" beauty Emile de Ravin, who also starred in "Remember Me" with "Twilight" megastar Robert Pattinson but who was dancing with designer Adam Lippes, a host of the party. De Ravin had on an emerald-green dress by BCBG with a flair skirt. Supermodel Alek Wek, who hails from Sudan, kept moving to avoid being swarmed by bold young art collectors with pocket cameras.
The rarefied fete even had an artful playlist. Paul Sevigny, brother of Chloe Sevigny ("Big Love"), was spinning ye olde 20th-century vinyl. He said the art tunes were borrowed from The Mudd Club, a late 1970s anti-disco dance venue. Sevigny said that he was playing "Walter Steding," a punk protégé of Andy Warhol with an electric violin.
Does Ricci collect art? "I was given a small sculpture by Robert Graham," she told Luxist, referring to the Robert Miller Gallery artist who was the late husband of Anjelica Huston, who played Morticia Addams, Ricci's mother onscreen. "That is my prized possession."
With matinee-idol good looks, designer Chris Benz, a pal of Eva Amurri, spoke of his appreciation of the Whitney Museum. "I loved the John Currin retrospective," said the art school grad. "Particularly the two muscle guys on the little fishing dinghy. Their curators always push the envelope."
Eva Amurri mentioned that she was pleased with her BCBG bandage dress in the style of Herve Leger. "Although I'm a little hot," she said. In fact, as the arty throngs amassed, the temperature in the room soared.
Lippes had dressed Kelly Killoren Bensimon, of "The Real Housewives of New York," in a floor-length gown. "Very Talitha Getty," said Bensimon, referring to the 1960s hippie-chic wife of John Paul Getty Jr.
In an adjoining loftlike space, Lubov Azria was seeking out art. "I bid on, like, 20 pieces," she said, taking this writer to view a small silver-leaf panel with swirling mother-of-pearl inlay by artist Nancy Lorenz. Azria also noted that the white handprints on her dress were created by Whitney artist Liz Magic Laser. "She used a tanning bed," said Azria [and a heat-sensitive agent].
Artist Ellen Harvey had also hand-painted "Lost" star Maggie Grace's skirt. "It's so-o-o beautiful," squealed Grace.
Just when this writer knelt to inspect a clipboard holding silent bids, a towering Ivanka Trump stepped in to take a closer look at a piece by Nate Lowman, an L.A.-born artist who previously dated Mary Kate Olsen. The young Trump was incredibly gracious and polite after momentarily stumbling. "I am so-o-o sorry. . . !"
Still, the celeb highjinks couldn't outdo the inventive art in the silent auction. Hannah Greely created a brass leaf with an acrylic egg in the center. Kate Gilmore's photograph "Come Around, 2010," which had a $4600 bid by Luba Azria, depicted an elegant hole ripped through a plasterboard wall, like a close-up of a cracked egg. And "Toast," by Mike Latham, included an actual piece of toast with the letters "ac" branded onto it. Breakfast anyone?
The randomly chosen art created jarring contrasts. While Michael Smith showed a refreshingly upbeat image of 1979 USA freestyle disco champs, Stephanie Sinclair depicted a deceptively ethereal view of the face of a victim of self-immolation in Afghanistan under gauze.
Lastly, Liz Magic Laser, a recent grad of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, created a kind of stage/photo booth where arty groups posed,19th-century style, interminably without moving--their palms and fingers splayed out flat on the stomach of a woman wearing BCBG. The dress had been pretreated with UV light, and the hands touching it had been painted with an agent that would react with the fabric.It was the edgy art-party update of a classic prom pic . . . hold the cheese.