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Vera Wang, arriving at the Whitney Museum’s Black and White Whitney Gala announced, “My husband is in London so I brought Sharon as my date.” That’s Sharon as in Stone of Hollywood, in case you’ve just awakened from a 100-year nap. “I’m in head-to-toe Vera Wang,” boomed Sharon to one and all, describing her sheer black ruffled blouse and snug pants that kept everyone staring. No makeup though. Why?
When another guest walked in wearing the exact same outfit as Sharon’s, the designer and the star both complimented her on her good taste. Cute.
The splendid evening was shared by Barry Diller, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Jerry Bruckheimer, Katharina Otto-Bernstein and Veronique Pittman.
Everyone dressed up like crazy. Evelyn Lauder whose husband, Leonard, is the chairman of the Whitney’s board of directors, wore a black leather Armani top and black pants from Natori. She was thrilled to the tippy-toes of her black stilettos that the evening raised over $1.7 million for the museum. Others echoing the black-and-white scheme were Blaine Trump in a black Dior column, a white fox chubby and white lilies in her hair; Marisa Berenson in a black Donna Karan with a white shawl; Stephanie Seymour in a black leather corset and floor length skirt; Donna Dixon in chic black; Lisa Jackson in a black Jean Paul Gaultier; Alexandra von Furstenberg in a short dress by Chloé with a silver belt and black boots; Lisa Perry in a mink-trimmed Rudi Gernreich minidress and white boots, and Jacqueline Anderson, the wife of the Whitney’s director Maxwell Anderson, in a silver leaf very-peekaboo gown by Gaultier with the only thing between the leaves and Jacqueline being, well, Jacqueline.
Colin Cowie transformed the party into an elegant black-and-white set, painted the dining room walls in huge horizontal stripes and coordinated the silk covers on the chairs. Half the room was done in black and half in white, with everything from the carpets, dishes, and waiters’ uniforms, following suit. Even the food by Jean-Georges kept to the color scheme: sea scallops with black olives, braised short ribs with black mushrooms and dark chocolate tart with mint ice cream and black-and-white cookies.
This story first appeared in the October 23, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Not since John Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette regularly went to the gala has there been such a glamorous night out at the Whitney.
At the French-American Foundation, nobody had more fun than Nan Kempner in her towering heels and sheer dress. She said that when she was going out the door, her maid said, “Oh, Mrs. Kempner, you can’t wear that dress, you can see your underwear under it.”
“No you can’t,” Nan said. “I’m not wearing any.” Oh, ha ha ha.
Michele David-Weill was honored with the Benjamin Franklin Award at the foundation’s gala dinner in the Four Seasons pool room. The dear man was overjoyed and nearly overcome when he was presented with a rare copy of a first edition of “Memoirs de la Vie privé de Benjamin Franklin ecrits par lui-même,” Franklin’s autobiography, when he was in Paris — it was published there in 1791. David-Weill, an international financier and a director of several arts and civic institutions over here and over there, was for a moment without words. Then he spoke volumes.
The room was a sensation. Bill Tansey used colors of the fall season, filling plump pumpkins on pale orange cloths with flowers around the still empty drought-stricken pool. This warm site welcomed nearly 200 serious Francophiles who said the hell with the weather, which had been dreadful all day, and everyone showed up. Annette de la Renta, Anne Cox Chambers, Princess Firyal of Jordan and Patsy Preston were all in long silvery gray satin skirts and a variety of tops. Elizabeth Strong-de Cuevas, the sculptress, looked like a piece of her own work in Issey Miyake’s extraordinary creation, a horizontally stiff-pleated samurai dress in two shades of gray. Mary Sharp Cronson and Liz Fondaras each wore those tiny red rosettes that signify membership in France’s Legion d’Honneur.
During cocktails, Arthur Haas played French Baroque music using all 122 keys on an exquisite hand-painted copy of a 17th-century harpsichord. Among the patriots were Hélène David-Weill with her daughters Beatrice Stern and Agathe David-Weill; Tony Smith, the president of the Foundation; Catherine and David Hamilton of Chicago; Jayne Wrightsman; Cécile and Ezra Zilkha; Consul General and Mrs. Richard Duque; John Richardson, and the aforementioned Nan Kempner in Balmain’s new black dress with tiny tucks sewn on the diagonal. She looked very vertical and tall in those heels as high as champagne flutes. Her maid was right. You could see right through her.
Alannah Weston is in town from London for a few days and her pals Vicky and Matthew Doull are giving a little “at home” for her, a cocktail party in anticipation of the next exhibition Alannah is opening in December at the gallery at Windsor, the beautiful residential estate in Vero Beach, Fla., founded by Alannah’s parents, the honorable Hilary and Galen Weston of Toronto. Adding to her achievements in the art world, this time Alannah will show a sensational collection of works, never before seen by the public from those controversial “wrappers,” Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They will wrap anything if it’s big enough and famous enough, including London Bridge.
The New York City Ballet will kick off its winter season gala at a party at Bergdorf Goodman today. The Gala, set for Nov. 26, will celebrate the jeweler Paul Morelli who has shown his beautiful wares at the store for 20 years. Bergdorf’s chairman Ron Frasch will host the benefit cocktail where a retrospective of Morelli’s work, including pieces from his personal collection, will be displayed in the windows and vitrines of the main salon. Principal dancers from NYCB including Darci Kistler, Maria Kowroski, Yvonne Borree and Jennifer Ringer will don the designer’s diamonds.
Peter Bacanovic, Martha Stewart’s besieged and beleaguered stockbroker, is moving to Los Angeles to get away from it all. All being the press and photographers camped outside his and his parents’ doors since the notorious Imclone stock sales scandal hit the fan and dragged Peter and Martha with it.