“I do get a few of these, but I try to avoid them if I can,” said director George Lucas of being honored time and again. This particular occasion, however, was special: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Art+Film Gala, where the Star Wars creator was being praised alongside artist Mark Bradford.

The director had accepted the invitation to LAMCA's very fancy party because, “They’re doing film and regular art at the same time, which I think are the same things anyway. I don't think art is any different than cinema.”

“I’m building a museum which is about narrative art, which is where art started,” he continued. “I’m a firm believer that art tells stories, and the best story medium is film...more and more art museums are moving into film, because it’s the same thing. Film is not like theater, not like a novel, not like any of those things. It’s like a painting. It’s a visual art.”

“Oh my God, the legend George Lucas,” exclaimed Bradford, moments after the two had been chatting. He too had similar sentiments: “Art, film, it’s the same thing.”

As the tallest man in the room, Bradford was hard to miss. “I’m actually shy,” he said. “Fit that in, '6’8’’ and shy.' They don’t go together so well.”

He, like most guests, had noticed the protest happening outside the museum's entrance when he had arrived. A group had gathered, shouting across the street. But amid the event’s thumping music, it was getting harder and harder to hear their chants.

LACMA 2017 Art+Film Gala : Presented by Gucci
Melanie Griffith and Dakota Johnson attend the LACMA 2017 Art+Film Gala, Presented by Gucci. Photo courtesy of BFA.

Billy Farrell/BFA.com

“I got out of the car and heard,” said Bradford. “I didn’t know what that was. I’ll go back and investigate and see if I want to join.”

Jane Fonda told me it has to do with UCLA and David Geffen,” remarked a guest.

Fonda was among the first to arrive, mingling with Lucas and LACMA Chief Executive Officer and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan with wife Katherine Ross. There was also Brad Pitt making a rare appearance, chatting with artist Thomas Houseago and wife Muna El Fituri; Selma Hayek Pinault with directors Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, and husband Francois-Henri Pinault, Armie Hammer with Call Me by Your Name costar Timothée Chalamet, Amy Adams, Zoe Saldana, models Rosie Huntinton-Whiteley and Behati Prinsloo, Barbra Streisand, Jared Leto, Gia Coppola, Soko, and Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner, who posed on the red carpet together before sneaking inside.

The fundraiser, a cocktail followed by a dinner and performance, raised over $3.4 million last year, while honoring Robert Irwin and Kathryn Bigelow. Presented by Gucci, the night’s proceeds are used to support LACMA’s film initiative, and again, for its seventh year, it was co-chaired by Leonardo DiCaprio and LACMA trustee Eva Chow.

“He’s the best partner,” said Chow, who had nothing but praise for DiCaprio, who was again missing this year during cocktail hour, sponsored by Laurent-Perrier. “He’s a great actor, handsome, very conscious of world issues...bright, good mannered. He’s a good friend, but I’m a big fan.”

In about a month, said Chow, as she sat with a bloody bandage in her hand (“I put my finger between the door, silly me”), they’ll begin organizing next year’s event.

“To be honest, I have a list of people I feel I must honor, so basically it’s a question of getting the right timing for me to get them to agree to be honored,” she said. “Like George Lucas, I’m sure, so many programs and events want to honor him, so I’m so happy that I got him to agree to be honored by us. They are masters of art and film, and we have a lot of them to honor. George Lucas, Mark Bradford with Annie Lennox singing, you cannot ask for more than that.”

This year’s biggest change was the entrance. While cocktails has usually been held in the front by LACMA’s “Urban Light” sculpture, this year—inspired by the brand’s newest fragrance Gucci Bloom—it was in the back entrance in the midst of a garden oasis with sixteen lit palm trees as a center showpiece, leading up the steps and into the dinner, which was held in a massive tent.

“It’s all very glamorous,” said Petra Collins. “I was really excited to dress for this, because Gucci’s newest collection is very space and alien themed...and why I love George Lucas. I also love seeing everyone’s looks.”

As to be expected, there were plenty of Gucci looks to go around—and one narrowly avoided fashion emergency. “I was going to wear that and didn’t,” said Dakota Johnson of another guest's Gucci dress, eyeing a group sitting together later which included Collins, Rowan Blanchard and Hari Nef.

Crisis averted.

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