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WWDStyle issue 03/28/2011

Guests at San Francisco’s M.H. de Young Museum on Thursday night celebrated the opening of “Balenciaga and Spain,” a 120-piece fashion retrospective of the couturier’s career, with a little bit of Spanish flair. A six-piece flamenco band imported from Seville played during cocktails, and flamenco provided the after-dinner entertainment.


This story first appeared in the March 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“You can’t even measure it,” said Rodarte designer Laura Mulleavy of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s influence. Mulleavy attended with her sister Kate as guests of Christine Suppes, who swept into the party in a candy pink off-the-shoulder full-skirted Fifties Balenciaga gown. In an homage to Balenciaga, Sabrina Buell wore an Issey Miyake abstract skirt and tunic with sculptural folds. “It looks like Japanese flamenco,” Buell said.


The $2,500-a-ticket fund-raiser for the museum drew 350 guests, including Denise Hale, Marissa Mayer, Vanessa Getty, Victoria Traina, Vanessa Traina, Jamie Tisch, Gwyneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom, Balthazar Getty, Maggie Rizer, Connie Nielsen, Maria Bello and Mia Wasikowska.


Mixing a little tradition with her contemporary fashion, Alexis Traina looked mysterious in a black lace Spanish mantilla that matched her Dolce & Gabbana gown. “I was really channeling tonight,” she said.


Museum president Dede Wilsey looked a bit like something out of a Velázquez portrait, dressed in a full-skirted black-and-brown gown topped by a lace-and-sequin black bolero — designed by Oscar de la Renta, who once worked at Balenciaga.


“I’m going to let my granddaughters play dress-up with it,” she said.