The annual Frick Collection Young Fellows Ball is one of my favorite spring events in New York City. I love the themed finery and the way the galleries come to life as guests wander through in ballgowns and bow ties. This year's theme was "A Night at the Spanish Court," drawing from the current Charles Coypel Don Quixote tapestries exhibition. The invitation read "Don Quixotic black tie," and many attendees arrived in dramatic dress from flamenco ruffles to crowns of red roses and mantilla headresses to matador-inspired coats. For added flair, the ladies were given customized fans reading "Lanvin hearts the Frick Collection" in gold cursive, and the Garden Court was lit up with scenes from Miguel de Cervantes' novel.
My friends and I spent quite a bit of time walking through the galleries and sipping champagne cocktails, but also had a great time on the dance floor -- it was Turner and Vermeer in one room, Kanye in the next. And actually, the entire evening was a juxtaposition of styles and attitudes. One friend aptly noted that all of the women were dressed for a formal affair in their rather opulent floor length gowns, but the men, mostly in black tie, looked dressed for dinner. Quite so. On the other hand, an acquaintance commented that the event was already "stuffy and very conservative." She left early with a like-minded entourage for a buzzier party downtown. When it comes to formalism in dress and manners I'm an old conservative, but I quite like the visible contrasts that are an inherent part of life in this city.
There are more photos from the ball here and here, and for those of you who are not familiar, I feel it is my duty as a Young Fellow to give you some background: The Frick Collection is internationally recognized for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. Housed in the former residence of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick, it is one of New York City's few remaining Gilded Age mansions, and provides a tranquil environment for visitors to experience the works of Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Goya, and Whistler.