Breaking New Ground

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Breaking New Ground

As the May Madness of the charity circuit reaches its homestretch, the Whitney museum brought the action downtown Tuesday night for its annual Art Party, this year themed “The Groundbreakers” after the site of its new Meatpacking District location, which literally broke ground earlier that day. What exactly constitutes a proper downtown bash? For starters, a location (the Highline Stages) so foreign to attendees that two in-the-know guests mistakenly found themselves next door at the more obvious Milk Studios, baffled by their surroundings until they realized they were at the wrong event.

That is how you keep things fresh on the social calendar.

blog-new-whitney-01.jpgThe scene at the event

Those who made it through the iBook-toting publicists under a white tent and into the exposed brick space were greeted with one of the more creative décor choices (courtesy of Bronson Van Wyck) of the past month. The first room, had burlap covered tables with red peonies and two bars, one of which was framed by shelves of Sunray film spotlight lamps. A screen projected footage from a hidden camera outside of people entering the venue.

“Someone just needs to figure out to stand right in front of the camera all night and they’ll be famous,” joked one guest.

The crowd—a mix of men sporting ties, guys in Nantucket reds (it’s not quite summer folks) and girls in an array of mini dresses—was too busy packing the back room, which held a silent auction of works by contemporary artists like Tauba Auerbach, Ryan Humphrey, Curtis Mann, Michael Phelan and Max Snow (the evening’s proceeds benefited the museum’s Independent Study Program), and another bar decked out with glass chandeliers and green and blue glass vases flickering with candles. There were potted plants throughout and a green tufted leather sofa on which a man was inexplicably holding his head (or sleeping sitting up?) for much of the night.

“I don’t know how they did this—I had nothing to do with it,” exclaimed an excited Eddie Borgo, one of the hosts of the evening, along with Shala Monroque and Amar’e Stoudemire.

blog-new-whitney-02.jpgFrom left: Eddie Borgo; Amar’e Stoudemire

Ah yes, the New York Knicks player and fashion darling cut quite a swath through the party as he made his way to a back corner cordoned off VIP area wearing a custom-made, charcoal grey chinzed wool suit from Calvin Klein Collection. Once ensconced there, he settled into his own tufted sofa, alone save for a phalanx of suited men ostensibly protecting the 6’10 player. What did he make of the party circus around him?

“Everyone’s calm, everyone’s having a good time, everyone’s socializing. It’s just a really good elegance,” he offered. Of his style icon in the making status, he was modest. “I think it’s just the fashion that’s in me. It’s not forced. There’s no second thoughts into it. I’m just being myself and the world sees it.”

blog-new-whitney-03.jpgFrom left: Shala Monroque and Jason Wu; Joan Smalls and Monique Pean

That said, even a star athlete needs a break from the crowds (hence the solitary status).

“I made a few rounds already, so I’m gonna rest right now,” said Stoudemire.

There was no resting for Jen Brill, Lauren Santo Domingo (looking tiny less than a month after giving birth to her son), China Chow, Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung and Joan Smalls, who had the room so crowded even basketball player-height stylist Nick Steele couldn’t find his date Monique Pean. No matter, it seemed everyone was in a convivial mood, most of all Borgo, who jumped from acquaintance to acquaintance doling out heartfelt hugs and kisses.

blog-new-whitney-04.jpgFrom left: Lauren Santo Domingo and Maggie Betts; China Chow

“I’m into nice people right now,” he said.

Groundbreaking, indeed.

Photos: Billy Farrell Agency

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