What is probably the most fashion-conscious event of the New York social season--the gala benefit opening of the Metropolitan Museum's annual Costume Institute show--had Manhattan's power elite in quite a spin.
This year called "Dance," the show features on-your-toes ensembles from minuet modes in the late 1700s to swinging threads from the 1960s (the exhibit runs through Sept. 6, 1987).
But the displays in the museum's downstairs gallery inevitably get upstaged by the opening-night exhibit at the front door, as photographers do their flash dance for guests arriving in their finery--from couture gowns and Cartier jewels worn by Upper Crusters (who pay $750 per dinner ticket) to thrift-shop whimsies of the Downtowners, New York's New Bohemians (who pay $125 per ticket for after-dinner dancing).
Some arriving guests actually get so caught up in the fashion fanfare that they pause and do pirouettes for the paparazzi, as if they themselves were the event.
Appropriately enough, dance looks--especially petticoated skirts--have turned up in many American and European designer collections this year. So many of the Met Set took full advantage of the new fuller proportions.
Paloma Picasso was both bouffant and avant in a satin, full-skirt Empire gown with a sable-tail bodice by Paris' hottest new couturier , Patou's Christian Lacroix.
Calvin Klein's bride, Kelly, loyally wore a black strapless cocktail dress of her husband's design. It had a short, full, petticoated skirt.
Ivana Trump, wife of the mega-rich builder, Donald Trump, swept in with a long, full-skirted gown that looked appropriate for waltzing with Amadeus.
And though Ann Getty's strapless, draped column didn't exactly look easy to frug in, the dazzling jewels at her throat definitely danced in the light.
Most dance-worthy of all the guests, however, was a woman whose own name upstages the name on any label she might wear. Mrs. Richard McKenzie, also known as Eva Astaire, has a father who knows a little about the subject of dancing.