The Past Is Prologue
Toasting artists old and new with Lanvin and the New Museum
"I love the name César. It's so grand, non?" proclaimed Alber Elbaz during last night's party at New York's Luxembourg & Dayan gallery. He was referring to the late Nouveau Realist artist César Baldaccini (known simply as César, à la Madonna), whom Lanvin has honored with a trio of projects: an installation of his work in the windows of its Paris flagship, a "chic picnic" earlier this year, and yesterday evening's intimate gathering that saw friends of the house gather to admire three floors of the artist's compressions and sculptures. Equally "grand" was César's giant, phallic thumb piece, which greeted guests outside the gallery's entrance upon their arrival.
Elbaz explained that he first encountered César's work at Le Crillon, in Paris. "The bar there was designed by César," he offered. "I ate there for ten years, and that's where I gained all my weight, so I thought we'd better do something about it, and here we are," he said. Gallerist Daniella Luxembourg, however, saw a different link between César and the designer. "They are both great artists. They are both unique, and they're not afraid of attacking their materials," she said, adding that César was "very much in favor" of working with fashion houses and had collaborated with Nina Ricci, Hermès, and Chanel during his career. Lanvin's menswear designer, Lucas Ossendrijver, too, weighed in on the connection between the house and the sculptor. "There's an element of fantasy in both our work," he said. "What we do at Lanvin is not art. It's applied art. It's clothes, and they're meant to be worn. There are a lot of constraints, but we try to bring a fantasy to make people dream about better things." His favorite piece in the show? "The big finger outside. It's so direct!"
Down on the Bowery, the New Museum threw its annual Next Generation Party in honor of the artists Cyprien Gaillard and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. After a private dinner in the seventh-floor Sky Room, cochairs Maria Baibakova, Fabiola Beracasa, Massimiliano Gioni, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, and Vanessa Traina Snow led guests into the building's signature neon-green elevators, down to the first floor, for an after-party. Whereas other museum fetes draw a more uptown kind of crowd, the New Museum attracts downtown's cool kids. Deejay May Kwok and musician Twin Shadow kept the likes of Alexander Wang, Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, and Lily Donaldson dancing until well after all the grown-ups had left.