R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : A Black and White Bash to Dye For

Two colors were all over the Neiman Marcus Courtyard in Fashion Island on Saturday when the Newport Harbor Art Museum staged its fifth annual Black and White Bash.

More than 800 guests honored the event’s black-and-white dress code, showing up in colorless costumes that ranged from casual chic to downright ridiculous. The $50-per-person buffet dinner and dance was expected to net at least $30,000 for the Newport Beach museum’s exhibition and education programs.

Primary Colors

Many in the crowd were art lovers and proved to be creative dressers. Women sported everything from black satin hot pants to long black gowns (with funky pillbox hats, feather boas and other outlandish accessories). Many men wore traditional black suits with a twist--pairing the suits with white T-shirts or switching the pants with a pair of white shorts.


One woman tottered around in black-and-white lace-up shoes with six-inch spiked heels and a black miniskirt that was scarcely an inch longer than her jacket.

Lea Petersen wore a halter dress covered in zebra stripes.

“You’ve got a real mix of fashion here,” she said. “There’s a few evening gowns, and there’s shorts. When they say casual, they mean Newport Beach dressy casual.”

Bill and Jane Jennings wore their pajamas.


“It’s the only black-and-white clothes we own,” Jane Jennings said. “He had a nice black robe, and I had this white satin nightgown.”

Mary Bauman-Mirhady was one of the few who rebelled against the color code: She wore a screaming yellow polka-dot dress.

“I got all dressed in a black-and-white outfit today but it was so hot and it felt totally out of context,” she said. “This is summer!”

Another woman was draped head to toe in yards of black lace, with a short black lace apron covering white bicycle shorts, a black corset and long black veil.

“She looks like she raided a funeral parlor,” one fashion critic said.

Block Party

When they weren’t people-watching, guests were entertained by strolling jugglers, face-painters and psychics. They also danced on a black-and-white checkered dance floor to the rhythm and blues sounds of the Jones Boys.

“This is Newport Beach’s block party,” said Michael Botwinick, museum director, who wore an understated black suit with a white collarless shirt.


Throughout the courtyard, under massive garlands of black and white balloons, food stations were set up with specialties from volunteer restaurants.

Guests grazed on penne pasta with duck sausage offered by Tutto Mare Ristorante, spareribs and chicken with broccoli from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and breaded griddle cakes and potato cannelloni with shrimp filling from Patina of Los Angeles. Other participants were Antoine, Diedrich Coffee, Farmer’s Market in Atrium Court, Ferdussi Taste of Persia, Hard Rock Cafe, Pasta Bravo, the Raft and Royal Khyber.

Faces in the crowd included Lennie Goldsmith, master of ceremonies; Carl and Pat Neisser; Susan Porter; James Rollans; Bjorn Sedleniek; Bob and Kathy Schroeder; Kathleen Dixon; Jim and Harriet Selna; Mark Crisler; Judy Steele; Tom Tomlinson; Naomi Vine; Walter Sebring, and Grant Berisford.