LACMA celebrates "Fashioning Fashion" exhibit under the stars
“Saturday night had a Venice theme, but this is Venice under the stars,” Michael Govan, CEO and director of LACMA, told guests gathered Monday evening in honor of the donors who supported the “Fashioning Fashion” exhibition at the newly opened Resnick Pavilion. He was referring to the Venice-themed “Unmasking” opening gala two nights before that packed hundreds of people into the Renzo Piano-designed space. This more intimate affair was held al fresco just beyond the Pavillion’s glass walls and thankfully the day’s record heat had died down to a comfortable level so attendees could enjoy their meal at the long candlelit banquet table. “This is better than the Piazza San Marco!” said Govan.
“Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915” is housed in the Resnick Pavilion and will be a part of the museum’s permanent collection. Everything from 18th century rectangle petticoats to neoclassical Grecian revival is represented in the timeline of dress. Items such as a dandy blue and green plaid men’s suit and a pair of very au currant black lace-up boots stood out from the exhibit as obvious influences in modern-day fashion. “It’s so amazing to see the evolution of fashion and how it's influenced designers,” said Suzanne Saperstein, who along with Ellen Michelson played a key role in the acquisition of the exhibit’s pieces. “They were so ahead of their time and had so much less to work with.”
Other guests there to celebrate the exhibit and its supporters were Grace Tsao, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H Shapiro and a handful of fashion designers including Monique Lhuillier, Gregory Parkinson, Irene Neuwirth, Juan Carlos Obando, Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte and Erin Fetherston, who spends half her time in L.A. now that she is consulting with Juicy Couture.
And as if the art that filled the Resnick Pavilion wasn’t enough to stimulate people’s eyeballs, several cases of fine jewelry were on display, courtesy of the evening’s sponsor Van Cleef & Arpels.“We’ve always been impressed with LACMA historically, but especially what Michael Govan has done with the museum in the past few years,” said Nicolas Bos, president and worldwide creative director of Van Cleef & Arpels. “And the fact that they are, in a very contemporary way, putting even more emphasis on costume and the history of fashion and accessories, is something we wanted to support and be associated with. It’s of course very dear to our hearts as jewelers.”
Part of that emphasis on the history of fashion will include an exhibit exploring the history of men’s fashion. Dinner guest and a strong supporter of all things sartorial (with the designer-heavy closet to prove it) Cameron Silver expressed his excitement of this news saying, “I’ve already told [Sharon Takeda and Kaye Spilker, LACMA curators] that they can have first dibs on my closet. They can have anything they want. I could make their job very easy.”
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photos: (Top) Suzanne Saperstein, Michael Govan and Ellen Michelson, from left. (Middle) Grace Tsao. (Bottom) Guests dining outside the Resnick Pavillion at LACMA. Credit: David Crotty, Patrick McMullan