Paparazzi and tabloid TV crews lined Madison Avenue Monday night for the 30th anniversary celebration of the Whitney Museum’s Breuer Building. They were there for one shot: the first public appearance of John Kennedy Jr. and his bride, Carolyn.
Carolyn’s low-cut black dress had everyone guessing its source, which turned out to be Prada. But it doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her old pal Narciso Rodriguez, the fellow who designed her wedding dress. Bessette-Kennedy is said to have recently received at least one black Cerruti number he created.
“I’m sure whatever she wore she looked exquisite,” said Rodriguez, who was reached in Paris. “She’s always done such a good job of mixing different designers and looks. That’s her personal style I love so much.”
Others seemed to love it as well, and a steady flow of guests passed by their table for hellos, hugs and old-fashioned ogling. It reminded some of the early Charles and Di days.
And, as is normal when Kennedy is around, a coterie of cleavage-baring blondes made sure to loiter nearby.
“My mother decided to give us our introduction to art here at the Whitney,” Kennedy, who co-chaired the gala along with Miuccia Prada and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Speilvogel, told the crowd. It was Jacqueline Kennedy who cut the ribbon at the building’s opening.
The big scandal of the night came with New York Times cultural correspondent Paul Goldberger’s remarks about the building’s architectural merits. The use of words like “arrogant” and “cold” in his description of the Marcel Breuer-designed museum left some in the crowd, including Breuer’s widow, Constance, less than pleased. Breuer was so upset, she tried to leave.
“Someone had to convince her to stay,” said Goldberger later. “The odd thing is that I didn’t think it was so controversial. I was speaking from the vantage point of today — the Nineties. I didn’t think that people would take offense. I had offered to speak with her and explain, but she wouldn’t hear of it. I was like Saddam Hussein to her. Look, I’ve been around for a long time and I wouldn’t have gotten where I was in my career writing for architects’ widows. If Mrs. Breuer wishes to deny the tremendous changes in architecture, what can I do? Widows are the keepers of the flame.”