“I love flowers, and I recently got this tattoo of a Dianthus japonicus,” said January Jones, extending her wrist to reveal a delicate pink bloom. “It’s a symbol of luck and friendship and five is my favorite number and it’s a five-petal flower.”
Wearing elegant Etro silk evening pajamas, the actress, who appears in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming Netflix series “The Politician,” was just one of the celebrities who came out for Saturday night’s Lotusland Memoirs of a Garden Gala in Montecito, Calif.
Sponsored by Etro, the celebration of the long-awaited reopening of Madame Walska’s whimsical Japanese garden after a three-year, $6.5 million renovation started with a stroll through the wonderland’s lily ponds, flowering succulent gardens and trellis archways hung with Japanese paper cranes, with dancers and string quartets along the way.
Cocktails were served on the great lawn with taiko drummers offering plenty of Instagram ops.
“We had so much fun last year,” said Jennifer Tilly. “At the auction, I bought the Suzanne Belperron earrings with the Mabe pearls that were owned by Madame Walska. I love them; they are so fragile, but they have such meaning. She had this phenomenal jewelry collection.”
Led by chairs Setenay Osman, Nati Smith and Lotusland trustee Belle Hahn, the annual gala raises money for the garden, a Santa Barbara landmark. “This is something I bought with the Japanese garden in mind,” Hahn said of the crane-patterned Roberto Cavalli gown she was wearing, before changing into an Etro number. “The earrings are from the Rare Origin of Linda Fargo at Bergdorf Goodman. My dream is to have her curate this event one day,” she added of the garden, which she’s been visiting for 30 years. “Madame brings all the magical creatures together, the plants come together, the people come together.”
Among those mingling over sake cocktails and Japanese-inspired dinner were interior designer Michael Smith; photographer Dewey Nicks and his wife Stephanie; photographer Ellen von Unwerth; Brentwood Country Mart owner Jim Rosenfield and Heather Whitney Rosenfield, with her Poppy Stores partner Jenny Belushi; Rodarte designer Laura Mulleavy and artist Alexandra Grant; designer Monique Lhuillier, and GlamCam chief executive officer Calgary Avansino.
With 32 acres of gardens open to guests by reservation only, Lotusland has been a favorite location for fashion photo shoots over the years, and its founder Ganna Walska, has become a cult figure. (The promotion of her failed opera career by her fourth husband, Harold Fowler McCormick, inspired aspects of the screenplay for “Citizen Kane.”)
Mulleavy, who had her last runway show at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, was just one of the guests who left smitten. “I have never been here, but I’ve known about it for so long. I’m definitely coming back,” said the designer, taking refuge from the sun under a paper parasol.
“I drove up and came straight here,” said Lhuillier, wearing her own spring 2020 baby blue pleated dress. “It really is magical. It’s such a treasure and it’s great to see the whole community rallying around it.”