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The Black and White Ball in 1966
Versailles for the sixties beautiful people

"The guest list reads like an international list for the guillotine,” said Leo Lerman, one of the guests. Andy Warhol said to his date, Henry Geldzahler, “We’re the only nobodies here.” Held at the Plaza, the ball was ostensibly in honor of Katharine Graham. While she was having her hair done at Kenneth’s the night before, someone said to her, “We’re so busy, Mrs. Graham, with the hairdos for the Black and White Ball. Have you heard about it?” “Yes,” Graham replied. “It seems funny, but I’m the guest of honor.” Of course, that was only one reason for the ball. Capote was the foremost social strategist of the moment, and the game of it was what interested him. He used it as an instrument of torture—“Maybe you’ll be invited and maybe you won’t,” he liked to say to eager supplicants. But it was also a snapshot of the ancien régime, the café-society mix of money and power and glamour (Tallulah Bankhead, Lauren Bacall, McGeorge Bundy, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow) at its last moment of relevance, before the sixties swept it away.

THE SINGER REMAINS THE SAME: Frank Sinatra and his wife Mia Farrow make their entrance at the Plaza.

Photo by: Elliot Erwitt/Magnum Photos.