What: Preview party for the exhibition, A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James.
Where: The Menil Collection.
The 411: Fans of famed fashion designer Charles James and patrons Dominique and John de Menil got a first glimpse of the spectacular new exhibit featuring 14 creations that James made for Dominique, set amid furniture he designed for the couple and great works of art. "There seems to be a Charles James moment, and not just in New York," Menil director Josef Helfenstein said, referring to the big James exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute. "It makes both shows even more interesting."
Menil assistant curator Susan Sutton confessed that the Menil team experienced "quite a large learning curve" in mounting a show that combines fashion, furniture and artworks. She enlisted Tae Smith, an independent costume conservator who custom made the dress forms, and Lisa and George Sacaris (Lisa is a textile designer who dyed the linings of the fabrics and George is an artist and metal fabricator who produced the metal stands and bases in the show, which is on display through Sept. 7).
Who: Vivian Wise, who took best dressed honors in a sleeveless teal swing dress with black velvet band at the neck, and Sergio Morales, Alexandra and Brady Knight, Cliff Helmcamp and Jerry Jeanmard, Lynn Wyatt, Mickey Rosmarin, Chris Goins, William Middleton, who is writing the definitive biography on the Menils, Greg Fourticq, Craig Lidji, fashion designers David Peck and Arend Basile, Gary Tinterow and Minnette Boesel.
In from New York were Costume Institute curator Harold Koda and Chanel brand ambassador Amanda Harlech.