“Victoire is a complex woman. She finds beauty in very dark corners,” observed Dennis Freedman of Barneys New York.
On Tuesday at Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers, Victoire de Castellane emerged from the darkness and fell under the spotlight at the annual benefit ball for the Museum of Arts and Design, commonly called MAD. She was among the three other honorees — Ralph Pucci of Ralph Pucci, Kate Spade chief executive officer Craig Leavitt, and hotelier Ian Schrager, in absentia.
“I really like that name — MAD — you just can’t forget it,” De Castellane said. “I’m impressed at how open MAD is to ideas.”
“There is something quirky about MAD,” said Simon Doonan, the master of ceremonies. “I love the orientation toward craft.”
“MAD is the only museum that reveals the creative process without fear,” said Pucci. “What goes into making a product — how is the product made and with what materials? How does this product affect our lives? Questions we all take for granted and rarely think about.” Pucci’s show at MAD gave a retrospective of Pucci mannequins, re-created his mannequin studio at 44 West 18th Street, and had Michael Evert, Pucci’s sculptor, on the scene creating busts of Anna Sui, Mary McFadden and others as visitors watched.
The museum, located on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, strives to be distinctive, sometimes aims at the fashion industry to raise its profile, and true to form, presented Tuesday’s honorees with thick bronze sunglasses, as symbols of being visionary, designed by Sebastian Errazuriz, who was also in attendance, instead of the usual trophy.
The event drew almost 500 supporters, raised more than $1 million for the museum, and put a crowning touch on a successful year for MAD, which so far has attracted 300,000 visitors through six exhibits, according to museum director Glenn Adamson. Others at the event included Amy Lau, Katharina Plath, Jerome Chazen, Linda Fargo, Vladimir Kagan, Dr. Thomas Shutte, Michael Pratt, Dror Benshetrit, Zoe Buckman, Rafael de Cardenas, Judith-Ann Corrente, Jamie Drake, Todd Eberle, C. Virginia Fields, Edwin B. Hathaway, Lewis Kruger and Nanette L. Laitman.
By David Moin
Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFA.com