By  on June 20, 2013

A splashy staple of the fall New York social calendar is getting splashier. WWD has learned that Christian Dior has signed on as lead sponsor of the Guggenheim International Gala, to be held in a two-part event on Nov. 6 and 7. The first night will be hosted by the Guggenheim’s Young Collectors Council and will feature a yet-to-be-named musical guest, followed by the benefit dinner the second night. Dior and the Guggenheim announced their party partnership Thursday morning at a press conference held at The Wright, the museum’s restaurant, where Dior artistic director Raf Simons and Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong issued a veritable save-the-date before opening a preview of the Guggenheim’s James Turrell light installation, “Aten Reign,” which opens Friday in the museum’s rotunda. Turrell and artist Christopher Wool, whose retrospective goes up in October, are the gala’s honorees.

But back to the party. Adding Dior to the invitation ups the glamour angle considerably. The GIG, as the museum’s annual and most important fund-raiser is known, has been around forever, usually drawing a mix of older socialites and major artists. “Often we have an auction. Not a large auction. Normally, just five or six pieces,” said Jennifer Blei Stockman, president of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, who will serve as the GIG’s honorary cochair with Simons. “It’s very elegant, but this time a lot is changing because Christian Dior is an active partner. The whole company is very, very art savvy.”

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