While fashion fanatics mobbed Manhattan stores on Thursday night to see their favorite designers, an intimate art-loving crowd gathered at Armani/Ristorante to see Richard Hambleton, the reclusive artist who’s been out of the public eye for more than two decades.
“Where is this guy? We came to meet him,” said Bruce Willis who arrived with his wife Emma Hemming.
“He has been in hiding for 25 years,” marveled Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld who hosted the dinner with billionaire art dealer Andy Valmorbida in anticipation of Hambleton’s new exhibit (opening Tuesday). The two had to do a little wooing and promise some good sales to get the artist to commit. “We sold a lot already,” noted Restoin Roitfeld.
Kerry Washington, Tom Sachs, Devon Aoki, Stavros Niarchos, Margherita Missoni and Rachel Zoe all trekked over to the restaurant after the respective engagements earlier. “My feet are killing me,” said Missoni who spent three hours with Zoe at the Missoni boutique selling $60 limited edition print bags. “We sold so many,” she said.
Hambleton finally made it to the dinner after some uncertainty that he wouldn’t show up, but he declined to give a speech.