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24 h Party People

A Power Crowd Celebrates Prada's Very Temporary Paris Museum

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Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli   
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After the success of the Double Club in London, Paris was an obvious target for another of Prada's cultural interventions. The 24 h Museum was exactly that, an imposing exhibition space constructed inside the Palais d'Iéna for all of one day. Prada's collaborators this time were the art provocateur Francesco Vezzoli and Rem Koolhaas's design team AMO, who mimicked the traditional museum setup with a central gallery of classical "sculptures" (photographic images of ancient statues mounted on Perspex, with contemporary features superimposed). There was even a monumental techno-goddess in the grand stairway of the Palais, à la the Winged Victory at the Louvre.

The 24 h Museum opened last night with a party that was a work of art in itself. First, there was a dinner for 120 or so, in the central gallery. As party guests began to arrive and the gallery's metal grill doors were briefly closed, it became clear that we were actually in a huge cage. That fit right in with the conceptual mind games Vezzoli and his patron Miuccia Prada play so well. Super-chef Alain Passard, who specializes in extraordinary vegetariana, did the menu. I tasted a hibiscus reduction for the first time in my life. Entertaining (on a grand scale) footnote: All the tableware, glasses, and cutlery apparently came from Miuccia's home. After dinner, there was a disco in the Salon des Refusés, the room where museums would traditionally store things that were rejected from exhibitions. Kate Moss directed the music—Dexys Midnight Runners, David Bowie, George Michael, the hits of your (or at least her) life.

It's easy to imagine the Herculean effort that went into making the 24 h Museum happen. That's power. But it looks like power is Prada's theme this season. The shadow cast by Miuccia's star-injected men's show last week is a long one. She got another celebrity turnout last night, from Polanski and Deneuve to Salma Hayek and Diane Kruger, with a smattering of art world stars. Still, the ever-contrary Vezzoli said, "This is a night when romanticism trumps power." Mind you, it was romance with a twist. The artist also claimed inspiration from the Oedipus complex. It was his mother's eyes that were superimposed on every statue.

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