A fashionable turnout to MOCA’s 30th


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Drawing the international jet set, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s 30th anniversary festivities this weekend were a reminder of how cozy the art and fashion worlds have become. Miuccia Prada kicked things off Friday night with a party at her epicenter on Rodeo Drive. All of the merchandise had been removed from the store, and the walls were covered in book-print wallpaper to celebrate the launch of the designer’s new tome, which documents the fashion house’s work on the runway and in film, art and architecture.

The same synergy was at work at the MOCA NEW gala Saturday, where Prada designed the costumes for a performance art piece created by her friend, Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli. Lady Gaga, in a crystal-mesh dress and a silver crinkly crown designed by Frank Gehry, played her song “Speechless” on a bright pink, butterfly-festooned piano customized by Damien Hirst as members of the Bolshoi Ballet twirled in tutus, also designed by Prada. (Nevermind that Michael York stumbled over Miuccia’s name while introducing the work, described as the Ballets Russes, Italian-style.) The hat and costumes, as well as masks designed for the performance by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, are up for grabs in an online auction that ends Nov. 30, with proceeds benefiting the museum.


The event, which raised $4 million, was co-chaired by philanthropist Eli Broad (museum savior, who rescued MOCA from financial ruin earlier this year) and arts advocate Maria Bell, gallery owner Larry Gagosian and Russian-born art wunderkind Dasha Zhukova. Grand Avenue was closed to traffic to make way for the enormous party tent with a marquee entrance. The dinner’s theme was Russian, with shots of vodka and pickled vegetables at the tables and Russian propaganda-style posters lining the walls.

Zhukova (above right), who is the girlfriend of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the editor of British fashion magazine Pop, and half of the design team for denim label Kova & T *, looked radiant (at 7 ½ months pregnant) in a spidery black macrame and crochet fringe Rodarte dress. The Russian beauty is a new star in the art collecting world, having founded the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow in September.

Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy sat at Zhukova’s table, along with designer-photographer Hedi Slimane and 13-year-old blogger Tavi Williams (who told us, at the previous evening’s Prada event, that she had been personally invited by Zhukova).

At the pre-dinner cocktail party (with music ‘curated’ by Pharrell Williams -- is it just us or is ‘curated’ just a fancy way of saying ‘built a playlist’?), we ran into Los Angeles designer Jeremy Scott, wearing a leather harness on top of his tuxedo jacket that perfectly played off his Mohawk coif, and chatted briefly with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton -- who told us with some measure of glee that though the glittery hoodie he was wearing was from American Apparel, he was really excited about the outfit he’d assembled for the upcoming American Music Awards. He described it as a ‘kind of but not really sailor suit’: white with navy blue accents from Moods of Norway, white Doc Martens and hair dyed ‘Gwen Stefani blond.’

Guests at our table included John Legend, dashing in a Prada tuxedo and bow tie, and his girlfriend, model Christine Teigen, who had to be sewn into her peach-colored, asymetrically draped Prada cocktail frock. She was having a problem with the zipper, she said, and luckily the Bolshoi Ballet’s tailor was on hand at the Prada store to help prevent a wardrobe malfunction.

Other party people included Katherine Ross, wife of Michael Govan, director of the L.A. County Museum of Art, who wore a black gown with a hand-pleated bodice by L.A.’s J.C. Obando; Vogue West Coast Editor Lisa Love chose a black sequin Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo; Elizabeth Wiatt in a painterly sheath by Erdem Moralioglu; and actress Marisa Tomei (on the arm of Decades’ Cameron Silver) in vintage pink Jean Desses. Angelina Jolie (in a black velvet strapless Armani Prive gown) and Brad Pitt (in a Tom Ford tuxedo) came and went before the gala began, telling photographers they had to attend a friend’s wedding.


After the Damien Hirst-decorated Steinway & Sons. piano was auctioned off for $450,000, the cool kids decamped to an after party at the Prism Gallery in West Hollywood. (The Prism, founded by 23-year-old Australian gallerist and artist PC Valmorbida, opened on Thursday night with yet another shindig). On the way in, we chatted with Nicky Hilton, who was all a-sparkle in a short black sequin Bob Mackie dress she borrowed from her mother. “She just gave me all of this stuff by Mackie. I love it,” she said.

Designers Angela and Margherita Missoni were there, as was Tom Ford — complaining about the lighting in the cramped VIP party in the old restaurant space next door. (Now that he’s a film director and all.) For a few moments we cooled our heels next to Neil Patrick Harris, who seemed to be valiantly trying to stand out of harm’s way as VIPs swarmed the porch with the urgency of spawning salmon headed upstream.

At one point the lights on the VIP veranda flickered off for a few seconds -- reminding us a bit of the opening moments of the evening’s centerpiece (the full title of which was ‘Ballet Russes Italian Style (The Shortest Musical You Will Never See Again’) and then went dark.

When they came back on, and we found ourselves butt-to-butt with Eva Mendes and Brian Grazer, elbow-to-elbow with Takashi Murakami and bust-to-bust with Rose McGowan, it felt for all the world like the evening’s performance art hadn’t really ended when Lady Gaga left the stage.

It had just entered a second act.

-- Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn

*[Updated 11/17/09] An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Dasha Zhukova was no longer designing the label Kova & T.

Top photo: Lady Gaga, in a Prada dress and Frank Gehry hat, performing at the MOCA’s 30th anniversary gala. Credit: Anne Johansson / For The Times.

Second photo from top: Dasha Zhukova in Rodarte. Credit: Wire Image.

Third photo: Marisa Tomei in vintage Jean Desses. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Fourth photo: Designer Jeremy Scott. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.