It was a decidedly intimate and low-key crowd gathered at the Whitney Museum Tuesday night as Louis Vuitton celebrated its partnership with prolific Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and the opening of her retrospective. “It’s nothing but dots!” enthused Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer Yves Carcelle, who flew in from Paris for the occasion (one of his last before he steps down in his current role). “Yayoi has been one of the most fascinating artists I’ve ever interacted with—and, trust me, I’ve had my fair share of artist collaborations.”
Gathered in the museum’s main lobby for drinks and photo ops were the likes of Sofia Coppola, “Glee” star Dianna Agron, Alice Eve, tattoo artist and Vuitton collaborator Scott Campbell, Olympia Scarry, Beth Rudin DeWoody and Harley Viera Newton. Margherita Missoni, who came for cocktails before dashing off to a dinner she herself was hosting, made her first public appearance with as a newlywed, arriving with her race car driver husband Eugenio Amos. “I’m still getting used to having a ‘wife’ title,” she joked, showing friends her stunning engagement ring. Diane Kruger, meanwhile, headed straight up to the museum’s fourth floor to get an up-close-and-personal view of the Kusama works—but not before submerging herself in the first floor interactive “Fireflies on the Water” installation. “It moved me to tears, it was that beautiful,” she said. Her beau, Joshua Jackson, was more fascinated by the Kusama’s “Self-Obliteration” film that played on a loop. “Oh, to be a neuron in Kusama’s brain,” he quipped.
Following cocktails and before a live performance by UK-based Blonde Redhead some 160 guests ascended to the garden level for a seated dinner prepared by chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Park Tavern. Surrounded by rows of mirrored tabletops and Plexiglass chairs, the décor, awash in shades of red complete with custom Kusama-themed napkins and button tchotchkes, had many counting their blessings that they had opted to stay in town this week during the dog days of summer.
To the surprise, and disappointment of many, Marc Jacobs, one of Kusama’s biggest fans and who helped spearhead the collaboration process, was unable to attend—his scheduled squired by next week’s Louis Vuitton Maison opening in Shanghai. Great artistic minds clearly think alike, as Kusama herself, only hours earlier greeting her fans and spectators with the fervor of a rock star in her first U.S. appearance in more than 30 years, opted to take the night off and sat out the dinner
Martha Stewart, for one, was saddened at not having met her. “But look at these magnificent red dahlia centerpieces,” the domestic diva cooed of the dinner flowers. “A complete and utter fitting tribute.”
- Photos by Joe Schildhorn