The glass-walled lobby of Midtown’s Lever House on Thursday night allowed the post-work crowd a clear view of the sort of human tornado of glitter and color that was the opening of David LaChapelle’s installation, “From Darkness into Light.”

This story first appeared in the June 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The exhibit presents the photographer’s work in three different media: stickers, collage, and looped paper chains in the style of a 1950s prom.

“I was inspired by the simplicity of childhood — those early art lessons, all that, but with a more adult spin,” LaChapelle said.

As for the adult spin: nudes abounded. The largest photo-collage in the series faced the street, depicting nude blonde women climbing around a sinking ship, while a few feet in front of it hung a large origami bird suspended from the ceiling. LaChapelle muse Amanda Lepore, who may have posed for more photos than the photographer himself, held court under the paper chains.

“That’s me,” Lepore joked, gesturing at the thousands of breasts displayed on the paper chains. “Go find me.”

LaChapelle’s aesthetic wasn’t exactly perfectly suited to 53rd Street and Park Avenue. Some guests’ get-ups garnered more than a few stares from suit-sporting passersby who waited for taxis outside their neighboring office buildings. Lauren Remington Platt passed through, looking slightly confused by the wildness of an early evening cocktail party with this level of outré fanfare. She paused to greet Aby Rosen and Samantha Boardman, and later Hana Soukupova.

Of course, the photographer is perhaps more famous for his celebrity portraits than his artwork, and some famous friends turned out for the exhibition.

“His work is just so inspiring,” Daphne Guinness said from behind a black veil festooned with light blue pom-poms. “He’s wonderful, a very dear friend.”

Nodding just behind her, Uma Thurman agreed, “He’s an incredible talent.”

She gave a friendly squeeze on LaChapelle’s bicep before the trio was absorbed by a horde of photographers.

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