Monday, October 19, 2009
Haute Couture Grand DameBetsy Bloomingdale, in a 1986 Marc Bohan for Dior Haute Couture gown, stands next to the Marc Bohan "Wall" at FIDM The Event: This last Saturday was the Black Tie Gala Opening of High Style Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising/FIDM Museum and Galleries. Curators Kevin Jones and Christina Johnson spent three years scouring the hallowed closets of one of the most celebrated Grande Dames of Fashion, Betsy Bloomingdale. The Exhibit spans over 30 years of Bloomingdale's love and admiration for Haute Couture and fine fashion, ranging from her first Couture purchases in the 1960s to her last one; a black silk crepe and chiffon from the late designer Gianfranco Ferre for Dior Couture. The Exhibit runs October 21st to December 13Th. The Scene:Glittering Tent: The Scene at the High Style Betsy Bloomindale/Haute Couture Gala The tented party, held at the Grand Hope Park, adjacent to the FIDM campus was elegantly decorated with crystal "Chandeliers" dangling from its ceiling and greeted the VIP guests as they entered the party. In addition, exquisite white chairs, tables, mini-sofas, several fully-stocked open bars and delicious hors d'oeuvres tables "announced" to the gown-and-tuxedo crowd that this would truly be a very special event. Seen On The Scene: Mary Stephens and Nick Verreos, Betsy Bloomingdale/Haute Couture Exhibit Opening Gala As soon as I arrived, I spotted Mary Stephens, Director of the FIDM Advanced Fashion Design/Debut Program, looking both elegant and modern in a black ensemble. I jumped up and down (literally!) when I saw my good friend Jane Cha, Executive Producer of Project Runway. Her date was the incredible R.J. Cutler, director of the Vogue documentary The September Issue. Jane Cha and R.J. Cutler, Betsy Bloomingdale/Haute Couture Exhibit Opening Gala Also seen were Buzz Aldrin--the second person to set foot on the Moon back in 1969 and his beautiful wife Lois--as well as philanthropists Iris Cantor and Barbara Davis. I heard that many of Betsy Bloomingdale's family came out for this illustrious event, including her two sons and one daughter as well as her grandchildren. Buzz Aldrin and James Galanos, Betsy Bloomingdale/Haute Couture Exhibit Opening Gala I got a quick glimpse of the star of the night, Betsy Bloomingdale, who was looking fabulous in an iridescent orange taffeta gown from Marc Bohan for the House of Dior. One of the many highlights of the night was when I recognized one of my fashion idols, designer James Galanos. Of course, I had to stop him and say "hello". That moment made my night! The Couture: Nick Verreos at the Betsy Bloomingdale/Haute Couture Exhibit, FIDM Museum and Galleries By the time I made my way inside the exhibit, I had only about fifteen minutes to do a mini-tour (I had another event to attend, the Kevan Hall Spring 2010 Runway Show at Universal Studios). From what I saw, it made my arms tingle with excitement, I must say. All the "masters" were there: Christian Dior Haute Couture from designers Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferre, Galanos, Adolfo, Givenchy, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and others. There were video montages explaining the clothes, the art of Haute Couture and exclusive interviews with Monsieurs Givenchy, Bohan, Fracois Lesage and Bloomingdale herself. Even in my quick visit, I caught juicy "Couture Dish" from the videos like how Mrs. Bloomingdale and her Couture friends like Nan Kempner and Lynn Wyatt knew their importance within the Couture Houses and how their vendeuses (sales ladies) ALWAYS gave them "the right price". Love the dish!There is also an entire section devoted to the croquis (or sketches) from the design houses that were sent to Mrs. Bloomingdale after she had made her selections. As I was leaving, I spotted one of my favorite pieces in the exhibit: A canary yellow silk taffeta Dior Couture gown that was displayed with its inner corselette turned inside-out, so the viewer can see the stunning intricacy that really makes an Haute Couture gown (photo above). I will DEFINITELY have to return to see the exhibit with more patience. It deserves two hours if not more! It is a MUST SEE for anyone who loves fashion and the art of Haute Couture. Forget going to Paris, it's all in Downtown Los Angeles at the FIDM Museum and Galleries!