Hollywood may have relocated to the Côte d’Azur for the Cannes Film Festival, but on Wednesday night the Museum of Art and Design brought the French Riviera to the Upper East Side for its annual young patrons gala. “If you can’t get [to Cannes], this is the next best thing — no jet lag,” said Mike De Paolo, who sits on the museum’s board of trustees. The Harold Pratt House was transformed into a Sixties casino, with palm trees, roulette and craps tables and a 1968 Jaguar XKE parked out front. “I feel like you’re already gambling just by being in New York,” said artist and the evening’s honoree Sebastian Errazuriz, when asked if he would try his luck on the tables. It would have been worth it for him to play his chips — winners took home pieces from emerging contemporary artists such as William Steiger, Jennie Jieun Lee and Sebastian Blanck.
“He promised me, by the way, a bevy of beautiful women tonight and he sure has delivered,” Vladimir Kagan said when introducing Errazuriz. “Cheers to all you lovely ladies, you are beautifully dressed,” he said — a shout-out to Valentino, the party’s sponsor. The likes of Sofia Sanchez de Betak, Kate Foley, Dalia Oberlander and Claire Distenfeld were dressed in the house’s creations. Distenfeld was celebrating after the e-commerce launch of her clothing boutique Fivestory that morning. “I feel good but it’s really anticlimactic because at the end of the day it’s not like opening a real store. You don’t get a rush of people, you don’t get to interact,” she said. “All I wanted was for someone to e-mail customer service.”
Even those not in Valentino donned their best black tie. “When you don’t have Valentino in your closet I say wear Valentino red!” said Linda Fargo in a Haider Ackermann shawl and a Michael Kors for Céline sheath dress. “At this point I might have to call it vintage,” she quipped.
Though many were eagerly awaiting the gambling winners to be announced, Errazuriz gamely reminded attendees of the cause at hand over dinner. “[The Museum of Art and Design] is an incredibly exciting museum that has the ability to be fast and nimble and lean and has an incredible team of people,” he said. “So in this conquering of new territories, as opposed to other museums who are very big and have maybe all the guns all the ammo all the resources they could have, this one is more of a scout, and as a scout it can move where others can’t. And as a scout I hope it leads the way.”