View Slideshow

In the middle of New York City’s seat of power, two gleaming red Ferraris idled just outside Cipriani Wall Street.

Heartbreakingly, no one raced them. They were there for display only, just two spectacular pieces of machinery, an F12berlinetta and a 458 Speciale, sitting pretty. The automaker was the sponsor of the New Museum spring gala, which was taking place later Tuesday night. The theme was “Red or Racy.”

This story first appeared in the April 4, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A young woman arrived wearing a lacy burgundy jumpsuit by Stella McCartney that was cinched at the waist. It was Frances Halladay herself, Greta Gerwig. She politely declined a cocktail because she said she didn’t want to have trouble getting out of her jumpsuit in the ladies’ room.

Gerwig tends to talk in circles, like a latter-day and more upbeat Annie Hall. She was asked if she’s attended any of the other major art exhibitions in the city, such as the Whitney Biennial or the Armory Show. “I actually have. On Saturday, I just saw — speaking of the Armory, though a different kind of Armory — I saw the xx show at the Park Avenue Armory. I loved it so much. It was so indulgent to have all that space and just 50 people. It was beautiful. And to dance. I loved it so much. I was very moved,” she said.

She is a comedienne. Her sensibility, both serious and ditzy, was shaped by her first movies, small-budget dramedies that were later grouped under the label “mumblecore,” and reached its zenith in the movie she cowrote two years ago, “Frances Ha.” She is now moving into sitcoms, a spin-off, sort of, called “How I Met Your Dad.”

The museum gala was taking place a day after the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother,” the show that spawned Gerwig’s sitcom, where she’ll be a writer and producer. She’ll hear in a month if it’s going to be picked up as a series.

“I loved making it, though,” she said. “I really hope it happens. I’m crossing all of my digits.”

She got giddy again talking about the finale.

“I loved it. I loved it. No, I loved it. I spent the whole three weeks leading up to the finale making Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas]” — the show’s creators — “not…they kept talking about it and I kept saying, ‘Please don’t tell me, don’t tell me.’”

She was not among those fans who took to social media to complain about the show’s ending.

“I mean, everybody I talked to loved it. Sometimes I feel like things happen on the Internet but not in the world,” she said.

Later, Gerwig introduced the singer Lykke Li. She probably loved it, loved it too.