“Ten remarkable years, I mean, it’s amazing,” Donna Karan, referring to how long she’s been hosting the ACRIA holiday dinner at her Urban Zen Center in Greenwich Village. It was the foundation’s eighteenth annual holiday dinner and fund-raiser last night, which raises money for AIDS research through the sale of art. “It’s an obvious way that art can help people,” said Jonathan Horowitz, who received the Artists Preventing AIDS Award, alongside his partner Rob Pruitt. “As an artist, the two things that make me the most happy are one, to be left alone in my studio, and conversely, being a part of a powerful community that can fight AIDS,” said Pruitt. “And I think after tonight, I’m going to try harder to be a part of the community and spend less time stitching bears in my studio!” (Pruitt designed panda-printed teddy bears exclusively for last night’s auction, while Horowitz created an etching of a rumpled bed, which inspired the decor—silvery draped sheets which crept up the walls and were molded into table centerpieces.) Before Bernadette Peters announced dinner, Sofía Sanchez Barrenechea (in sequined Jason Wu) caught up with Meredith Melling, while Karan and Calvin Klein Collection’s Francisco Costa huddled together in a corner. Kate Foley, who somehow already got her hands on a printed top and skirt from Tory Burch’s pre-fall collection, wove through the tables with friend and fellow Brit Chelsea Leyland. “I think it’s such an amazing organization,” said Leyland, who had Christmas shopping on the mind. “Especially for the fact that you can shop for art and help a good cause!”
Meanwhile in Chelsea, Paul Kasmin, Kara Finnerty, and Vogue’s very own Hamish Bowles and Miranda Brooks gathered a group to toast their good friend and frequent collaborator, François Halard, whose namesake opus collects images from his over-25-year career. The impressive table of contents tells the story of a man who’s traveled to the far corners of the globe, delving into the sacred spaces of some of the greatest artists of the 20th century and capturing their varied but equally inspiring environments. To fete a man who counts everyone from Cy Twombly to David Hockney as subjects, no place seemed more fitting than Paul Kasmin’s gallery, where, in the most serendipitous fashion, an exhibition celebrating Constantin Brancusi (a favorite of Halard’s) set the scene.
“Brancusi is one of my biggest photographic inspirations,” Halard offered. “Really, the book is about inspiration and places that have been important to me as an artist, so I’m really enjoying being in this space.” His near-100 guests would agree, taking equal delight in perusing the pages of François Halard and admiring the five bronze Brancusi casts displayed throughout the gallery space. While his cohosts enjoyed fine wine and conversation, it was strictly business for Paul Kasmin, who upon overhearing the man of the hour engaged in debate over the most influential sculptors of the modern era, felt compelled to jokingly remind him, “You should be writing in books!”
Hamish Bowles greeted the ever-elegant Duke of Devonshire, who found himself in New York on business, and braved rush-hour traffic to get his hands on the monograph. He plans to keep it in the extensive library at Chatsworth House, his family’s stately home to which ten pages of the book are dedicated. Artist Anh Duong, whose black-and-white portrait claims a full spread of prime real estate in the tome, arrived in an envy-inducing shearling Phillip Lim coat. “I’ve known François since—I don’t want to say how long . . . . We grew up together,” she reminisced. Posing with the ’90s-era snap (whose exact date had conveniently escaped her memory), nostalgia was in full-swing.