BEFORE THE BIENNALE: Francophiles and art enthusiasts alike gathered last week at the Fifth Avenue Consulate General of France for a cocktail party in celebration of the annual Biennale des Antiquaires, now in its 26th year. The Biennale exhibits art, antiques, fine jewelry, “the best of the best,” said Christian Deydier, president of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires.
Deydier addressed the crowd midway through the fête: “The Biennale this year will be quite important because we have Karl Lagerfeld as our official scenographer. No one doubts his enthusiasm for art or his capacity to create a place, a setting, down to the smallest detail. The idea this year is ‘shopping in Paris in the beginning of the century.’ A concept he is no doubt more than very familiar with.” There will be a large emphasis on windows, Deydier later explained, as if one is shopping on the Rue de Rivoli.
The party swirled around the Western-facing parlor room of the consulate; the windows had been thrown open to show the views of the sun setting over Central Park. Emma Snowdon-Jones, Peter Marino, Marjorie Gubelmann and Pierre Levai were all present. Ramdane Touhami was also on hand, discussing his latest business ventures: his acquisition of a yet-unnamed centuries-old beauty brand and an upcoming beauty-related publication. “I’m leaving New York, back to Europe, to France,” Touhami shrugged under a large 18th century oil painting of one of his countrymen looking particularly stern. “It’s time to go back.”