Inside the Marcel Breuer Building (formerly the Whitney Museum of Modern Art) last night, we overheard someone shriek as we meandered through the very packed selfie-taking crowd. "My Instagrams aren't going through!"they shouted. The house of Valentino had taken over and created a mix of part art-show, part-couture-show, part-party that had the fashion set blowing up social media all night. It seems silly, but poor cell reception felt like a tragedy, as the several hundred guests, including Olivia Munn, Emma Roberts, and Olivia Palermo couldn't wait to share what they had just witnessed. Because, as with many parties the house of Valentino throws, it was a sight to be seen and a scene to be seen in.
The event was divided into three equally-mesmerizing parts that took up three floors of the storied building. First, came the art in the art sense. Italian artist Fornasetti created an exclusive installation just for this party called The Five Senses, which was a mix of black and white interpretations of the senses and how they're experienced (e.g. faces printed on plates covered a wall and long hands dangling from clear strands). Guests navigated through the art-covered floor during cocktail hour, champagne in one hand, cell phones in the other. We spotted Ivanka Trump posing for husband Jared Kushner as he snapped her near a wall with gigantic eyes printed on it, only for the lights in the room to shut off every 10 seconds. Meanwhile, Padma Lakshmi stopped near a wall covered in a print of enormous lips. "This is such a creative use of the space," Lakshmi said. "It's so exciting, fresh, and interactive. It's not unapproachable, which art can sometimes be."
Afterwards came art in the fashion sense with the main event of the evening: Valentino's Haute Couture show. Elevators took celebrities and editors down a few floors like cargo, and when the doors opened, dropped them right into a fashion show. The situation was unique: It's very rare to have a couture show in New York City, as they are usually in Paris in January."It's almost like it's a holiday treat that I don't have to commute to Paris," Palermo joked before taking her seat. Last night's event honored Valentino's new NYC store opening and brought out everyone in the city to celebrate, which also included Ben Stiller, Jaime King, Tommy Hilfiger, Prabal Gurung, Derek Lam and more, who all sat patiently under dozens of industrial lights as the show began.
And about the show—gasp!—breathtaking. Valentino's creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli named the collection "Sala Bianca 945," and it lived up to its name with every single look being all white. It was inspired by the painter Robert Ryman's quote: "White has a tendency to make things visible. With white you can see more of a nuance; you can see more." Therefore, makeup was minimal and hair was pulled back in tight low ponytails to let the couture pieces really stand out, even without any color. And with white as the main point, textures and details were visible on each of the 47 looks. We saw Katie Holmes mouth the word "beautiful" several times to her seat mate, Valentino Garavani himself. There was fun inserted into the naming of the pieces, too, with inspirations taken from the show's Manhattan location for a "5th Avenue" suit and a "Jackie O" dress. The finale look, a cashmere design, was named "Love NY." The designers took their bow to a standing ovation as cell phones shot up for another Insta-worthy moment.
Finally, came art in the music sense of the word. For the third and final time, guests were whisked to another level of the museum, trudging down several flights of stairs in their Valentino heels and cocktail dresses to get to the musical portion of the night. On the way, we saw James Marsden, who looked pleased with his first-ever couture show. "That was so impressive, he said. "This is one of my first proper fashion shows. That was really one-of-a-kind." Champagne flowed as DJ Joakim Bouaziz spun, and later—to those who made it that far into the night—Skunk Anansie (shown below) performed a short set.
The night's memorable moments never ceased. As we went to retrieve our coats at coat check, we rode the elevator with Martha Stewart, who was busy looking at her iPhone, 'gramming away. Because who wouldn't want to share a night like that?