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July 29 2014

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5 posts tagged "Barry Diller"

High Times With DVF, Chelsea Clinton, and Ethan Hawke

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Chelsea Clinton, Robert Hammond, and Diane von Furstenberg at the Highline Spring Benefit

 

The Friends of the High Line’s spring benefit drew a colorful mélange of donors and supporters to Hudson River Park’s cavernous—but intimately candlelit—Pier 57 last night.

 

The evening celebrated the community-fueled organization that has overseen the transformation of an abandoned rail line into an immensely popular elevated urban park. Cofounders Robert Hammond and Joshua David traded hearty hugs and handshakes over gin gimlets and champagne before the crowd was ushered into a dining hall, which boasted garlands of snapshots from the High Line’s history.

 

As guests nibbled on green-market-fresh fare, presenters Diane von Furstenberg, Amanda Burden, and Chelsea Clinton heaped praise on the 1.4-mile stretch of greenery nestled high above Manhattan’s streets. “Wherever I go in the world, people talk to me about the High Line,” said von Furstenberg, who together with husband Barry Diller—also in attendance—has contributed more than $35 million to Friends of the High Line. “And why did the High Line happen? Because the dreamers wanted it.” One such dreamer is Ethan Hawke—a former Chelsea resident (he recently decamped to Brooklyn) and one of the evening’s honorees. “It’s always fascinating when someone makes something beautiful when they don’t have to,” he said. “They could have easily torn the High Line down, and instead, they made something wonderful for the city.”

Photo: Patrick McMullan 

DvF: Fashion’s Fairy Princess

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Camilla Morton’s new book Diane von Furstenberg and the Tale of the Empress’ New Clothes landed on our desk today, a holiday gift from von Furstenberg herself. And what a tale it is! Morton is well practiced at translating fashionable lives into fairy tales—she’s already done it with Manolo Blahnik and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker and Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty—but von Furstenberg’s fairy story needs less fictionalizing than most. Consider the evidence:

The heroine’s royal pedigree: von Furstenberg is actually a princess, thanks to her previous marriage, to Prince Egon of Furstenberg.

The heroine’s trial and triumph: She did, as a young woman, consider and then reject a rival suitor: Fidel Castro. (“I didn’t,” she insisted at a talk this fall at the 92nd Street Y, “have an affair with him. I had this incredible idealistic image of him. And he was quite good looking. But after two days I must say I was very disappointed.”)

The happy ending: von Furstenberg has earned not only the keys to the kingdom—at least the kingdoms of New York and fashion, as the president of the CFDA and a friend of Mayor Michael Bloomberg—but also the crown jewels: She revealed at the 92nd Street Y talk that husband Barry Diller proposed with 26 diamond wedding bands—one for each year they weren’t married.

She also exhibits fairy-princess generosity: “Whenever a friend of mine is sad, I give her one,” she said.

Photo: Jenny Kawa/BFAnyc.com

In Chelsea, Portraits Of The Artist And The Primate

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Anh Duong was in Chelsea last night, surrounded by a gallery full of Anh Duongs. The painter’s new show, at New York’s Sonnabend Gallery, was devoted exclusively to self-portraits. “I decided I’m going to paint myself because I’m always available and on time,” Duong deadpanned. “So it started as an excuse, basically, and then it became a sort of diary. I’ve been painting myself for the last 20 years.” The portraits, which have the slightly off-kilter fluidity of Alice Neel’s (and the liquid eyes of Margaret Keane’s), show the artist nude and clothed, outdoors and in, with cameo appearances by dogs and stuffed toys. They also offer Duong an ample opportunity to dress up for her sittings, spotlighting a killer collection of frocks, accessories, and jewels. “I think they are also great excuses to use a color or shape or to add something to the painting, to the composition,” she explained. “That’s why I’m interested in painting objects, the bag, the shoes, whatever. I think also the clothes have a personal significance. As I child I would always dress up; I felt like it was some sort of make-believe world, where if the clothes were perfectly put together, then I was safe. It was a response to a chaos around me…I felt like it was this ideal world, so it came naturally that I would use that in my portraits.” A fashion-heavy crowd, including Barry Diller, Carlos de Souza, Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa, and Phillip Lim, came by for a look. Lim, a friend of the artist, found an especially good reason to keep a sharp eye open. “I think one of our trenches is in here,” he said, before spinning off to have a look. But Duong herself said she preferred to see her paintings as expressions of emotion and technique, rather than portraits, per se. After all, she added, “I really think that every work of an artist is a self-portrait—I just push it further.”

At Paul Kasmin Gallery nearby, the new show by Walton Ford was testing that hypothesis. Ford is known for his large-scale watercolors inspired by the animal paintings of J.J. Audubon and others, but several of the enormous pieces in the new show had no history at all: wall-sized paintings of gorillas mid-scream, without the context of time or place. A portrait of the beast within? The gallery was as thronged with stampeding visitors—Daphne Guinness, Salman Rushdie, Padma Lakshmi, and Olivia Wilde among them—but the artist himself was the picture of civility in a sharply tailored three-piece suit.

Photo: Patrick McMullan/ PatrickMcMullan.com

Coppola Walks The Aisle In Alaïa, Baby Beyoncé Is On the Way, Hurricane Irene Rains On DVF’s Parade, And More…

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Over the weekend, Sofia Coppola married singer Thomas Nars in a custom-made, “chiffon with a blush of lilac” gown by Azzedine Alaïa. He also made a special party dress for Coppola’s daughter, Romy. [WWD]

Designer Walter Van Beirendonck’s clothes have always “bridged the gap between art and fashion, proving that wearable garments could also express extreme concepts and humor.” Through his clothes, he has pushed issues like AIDS activism, war, ecology, and mass consumerism. At last, his influential work will be displayed in a retrospective, Dream the World Awake, at MoMu in Antwerp. [Hint]

One of the biggest stories from last night’s VMA awards: Beyoncé is pregnant. The singer revealed her baby bump and confirmed that she and her husband, Jay-Z, are expecting their first child. Jay-Z also surprised fans when he took the stage for a performance with Kanye West. [Huffington Post]

In preparation for Hurricane Irene, cultural events were canceled and restaurants were closed throughout New York, including Diane von Furstenberg’s screening of Tanner Hall. After speaking with Mayor Bloomberg, DVF and husband Barry Diller called off their screening and party in the Hamptons for their daughter, Tatiana von Furstenberg, and Ringo Starr’s stepdaughter, Francesca Gregorini, who co-directed movie. [Page Six]

Photo: Steve Granitz / WireImage

Blasblog: The Caviar Countdown To DVF’s Russian Bash

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I won’t lie: The notion of giving up Mariah Carey and the beaches of Rio, where I was for Fashion Rocks earlier this week, for the subzero temperatures of Moscow was a hard one to swallow. But not long after arriving here for the events surrounding Diane von Furstenberg’s exhibition opening, I found some things that really helped it go down: vodka and black caviar. DVF’s festivities in the Russian capital began last night with a cocktail party in her store on Kuzneckiy Most Street, followed by a dinner at the decadent and quintessentially Russian Pushkin Café hosted by Moscow’s reigning retail queen, Landau Fashion Group’s Aizel Trudel.

Tonight sees the opening of the two-part DVF retrospective—a series of dresses designed by von Furstenberg, and a selection of art she has commissioned—but at dinner, the ladies got a chance to relax and blow off steam. (There had been some stress in the preparations: Apparently getting art into the country is as hard as sneaking Soviet relics out.) But everyone was in a good mood after a few buckets of the good stuff. Von Furstenberg told a story about an enthusiastic masseur who announced, “I like to give pleasure”—only in regard to his massage prowess, surely, but she stayed on her iPhone for much of the session, just in case.

Husband Barry Diller, meanwhile, revealed that he’s a big deal in Russia because he has a nice boat, which he explained wasn’t a bad reason, all things considered. (Others are notorious in the country for far worse.) In fact, the only scary point for the guest of honor was when Trudel announced the guest list for tonight’s event: 6,000 are confirmed. “That many people are coming to see pictures of me?” von Furstenberg blushed. Today I bumped into three familiar faces—Naomi Campbell, Natalia Vodianova (who was literally swarmed on the street), and Kate Bosworth—who will be among them. Check back on Monday for my report on the remaining 5,997.

Photo: Courtesy of Landau Fashion Group