“Chanel is fashion. Fashion is Chanel,” Rachel Zoe declared to InStyle the moment she made her way up the New York Public Library’s iconic 42nd street cascading outdoor staircase and into the architectural gem’s main lobby, where handsome gents who doubled as models presented guests like Zoe freshly poured glasses of champagne Thursday night. “I’m probably the number one fan, at least one of the number one fans of Chanel. I dream in Chanel. I love it.”
The occasion was, naturally, a Chanel Fine Jewelry-hosted dinner in celebration of the research institution’s upcoming 2017 permanent treasures exhibition, the reason for which a twinkly portfolio of bibliophiles and yes, Chanel super fans, gathered after dusk. “I’ve lived in New York for 10 years and I’m an avid reader and I’m so honored to be here tonight,” Rose Byrne, who co-hosted the event and dazzled in a black organza dress from the Parisian fashion house, told us as she made her first-ever visit to the library. “It’s the perfect example of fashion meeting literature, so I’m really honored. It’s just gorgeous.”
Speaking of gorgeous, Byrne proceeded to chat up 44-year-old actress Amanda Peet, who, between air kissing other guests (which included Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, Natasha Lyonne, and Dakota Fanning, to name several) revealed that her first memory of the brand dates back to her mother’s go-to perfume: Chanel No. 5.
Before finding their dinner seats, guests perused a small batch of the library’s treasures on display, which included one-of-a-kind works of art and rare books like the Gutenberg Bible, one that tickled Williams’s fancy. “I am over the moon about this event tonight,” the Girls actress, dressed in a black velvet lace Chanel top with a white leather skirt, told us, explaining why she loved the glassed historical rarities. “I like anything that has existed for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Fanning, who later sat across from Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg inside the candlelit dinner, was busy also professing her love for Chanel, calling it “the epitome of elegance and taste and class.” That timelessness permeated into the dinner room, where roughly 10 seemingly endless tables were adorned with a garden-worthy selection of white and pink peonies, roses, and, of course, Coco Chanel’s iconic camellia, several oversize versions of which were preciously stored inside glass hurricanes.
So what did the A-list guests think of Coco Chanel’s timeless fashion philosophy, “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off”? Zoe didn’t exactly agree. “It’s definitely not a rule that I live by,” she told us, moving on to clutch her army of vintage Chanel jewels throughout the night.
See more of the standout moments from the dinner below.