“I’m so happy to be here at the second — and considering recent environmental catastrophes, possibly the final — bid to save the earth!” Seth Meyers laughed onstage as master of ceremonies at the co-sponsored Vogue and Christie’s Runway to Green event on Tuesday night. “Hope I’m not the host who’s responsible for the earth dying!” Meyers continued, and while the chuckles of the audience dispelled any serious worries of a certain Mayan prophecy, the cause du jour was in evidence everywhere.
The second floor of Christie’s had been transformed into a performance venue: Meyers introduced a runway show featuring pieces by Balenciaga, Burberry, Gucci, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent, Thakoon and Jason Wu, which were immediately available for purchase (with a 10 percent donation to the cause) through iPad-brandishing Net-A-Porter attachés, a live auction (with lots like “a day with President William J. Clinton”) and a performance by Nicki Minaj, her gravity-defying hair dyed green for the occasion.
This story first appeared in the March 31, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The ground level of the renowned auction house had also become very “green”: a Zen-inspired cocktail lounge, lined with bamboo poles and plexiglass pedestals filled with flora replaced what had been a salon-style gallery for the “First Open” only weeks earlier. A variety of art (photographs, paintings, sculpture) was displayed and available for auction, as were Fendi baguettes customized by different artists (Richard Prince’s was bleached white, featuring only the scrawl, “I went to see a psychiatrist. He said ‘Tell me everything.’ I did, and now he’s doing my act.”).
Though hotly anticipated host Salma Hayek was not in attendance, Jon Kortajarena’s arrival created a stir among female guests. “Well, that’s the reason for global warming…” one partygoer giggled into her champagne flute. Thakoon was decidedly “‘cooler,” flashing a peace-sign for photographers before dashing upstairs to put the final touches on his looks for a pre-runway show. Gucci Westman and husband David Neville arrived with Marcus Wainwright and headed straight for the ground-floor exhibitions, while Law & Order actors Sam Waterston and Stephanie March mingled with other guests in the lobby. Alexander Wang parted the crowds before shepherding Zoe Kravitz through them, while other designers were decidedly more social: After having been snapped by WWD, Michael Kors jokingly crowed, “I’m old enough now that when people take my picture I want to see it! Like, show it to me! What’s the lighting like?”
Julie Macklowe gestured widely with two hands encased in black fingerless gloves, nearby a glowing Diane Kruger, who arrived on the arm of Wu shortly after David Lauren and fiancée Lauren Bush. Ted Danson laughed with friends near the entryway, patting several attendees emphatically on the back, almost as if delivering the Heimlich maneuver. An very-pregnant Lauren Santo Domingo arrived with husband Andres just before the auction and performance portion of the evening began, just on the heels of Stavros Niarchos, who for once attended a party without his usual rat pack entourage of girlfriends and friends alike.
Meyers’ set tickled revelers enough to encourage generous bids, though some jokes went over better than others: “This wall-forest,” Meyers began, referencing the slideshow of nature photographs Christie’s had projected on the wall behind him, “they tell me it’s a ‘vertical forest.’ Well, that just sounds dirty. You wouldn’t get that s— at Sotheby’s!” The crowd groaned freely, but all was forgiven with the runway show and Minaj’s performance.
The earth-minded evening continued until around 9:30 p.m., when those invited headed to a La Mer sponsored after-party at Monkey Bar. Both potables and travel-size pots of La Mer were circulated on silver platters; “It’s so convenient, am I right?” one guest beamed, “While we’re here we might as well moisturize our crows feet!” Dr. Lisa Airan, clad in a gold Alexander McQueen cocktail number and white fur bolero was in agreement, though less interested in the edibles on offer than her local pizza joint. “Generally I eat pizza before I go out,” she laughed, “but not tonight. I hope it’s still open!” The feel of the party was decidedly somber, with most guests opting to canoodle in booths or chat quietly amongst themselves, provoking some to wonder whether the fete was more exclusive than previously thought. “I thought there’d be more people here,” Airan mused, “but maybe they’re coming later?”
Tory Burch and Lyor Cohen did, traipsing into the restaurant before posing for photographers almost like they were at their senior prom, with Cohen’s arms wrapped around his date. Lauren Remington Platt and sister Ashley did laps to and from the bar, while Angela Lindvall and Zani Gugelmann spent most of the night catching up in a banquette, before Gugelmann stood to embrace Arden Wohl. Graydon Carter was the image of paternal pride (his son Max is an associate specialist for the Impressionist & Modern team at Christie’s), greeting guests and surveying his kingdom from the stairs’ carpeted landing.