Inside Dior’s Guggenheim Gala, Female Artists Took the Spotlight

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Karlie Kloss and BANKS at the Guggenheim International Gala.Photo: David X Prutting/BFA.com

Did you notice the back-to-back starry nights in New York City? Twas all thanks to the annual Guggenheim International Gala, made possible by Dior. Last night was the second and last celebratory bash for the late artist Agnes Martin, whose work is currently on view at the museum, as well as an all-female lineup of work by other artists in the Guggenheim collection. The black-tie affair brought out a sea of celebrities and fashion insiders including Anne Hathaway, Karlie Kloss, Kate Beckinsale, Anna Wintour, Valentino Garavani, and Dior’s first female artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Naturally, many guests wore Dior. Pre-dinner, we listened to a premiere performance of composer John Zorn’s “Praise,” a composition inspired by Agnes Martin. While her abstract paintings projected onto a screen, a trio of musicians played cinematic, sometimes spooky, sometimes meditative sonic sounds via harp, gongs, and what sounded like chirping birds.

As for the dinner? It was all very extravagant: candlelit floral centerpieces, a decadent menu (see: Chardonnay cream sauce), and a run-in with Elle cover girl Haley Bennett, who recently revealed she’s often mistaken for Jennifer Lawrence. Wearing an embroidered, princesslike black tulle skirt by Dior, she raved about Chiuri: “She’s someone that I look up to. She’s a powerful woman, and the Dior woman is a powerful woman, so it’s the perfect fit.”

Artist Sarah Morris sat next to me at dinner and noted the evening’s strong all-female vibes. “Evidently, there’s some sort of theme going on,” she said. “I guess I should’ve gotten one of those T-shirts.” (That much-buzzed-about WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS T-shirt from Dior’s Paris runway.) Morris was eager to climb the rotunda and view Martin’s exhibition. “I don’t see the meditation, transcendentalism, or anything like what I’ve heard people talk about tonight,” she said. “I see a playfulness and I see a menace.”

As the evening closed and guests made their way to Ubers, BANKS and Karlie Kloss were two of the last standing. BANKS, who performed at the pre-party, also applauded Chiuri: “She’s so empowering. It’s a sign of the times. It’s a sign of women kicking ass.” Kloss politely refused an interview while readying to brave the paparazzi outside. Anne Hathaway took her husband’s hand and made the next dramatic exit, strutting confidently to an SUV with her tulle skirt trailing behind her, seemingly unbothered by the frenetic flashbulb lights. The clock had yet to strike midnight.

Talking Feminist Dior at the Guggenheim Gala Pre-Party