An initial sign of a great party is arriving to a full parking lot. This was the case Dec. 12 for the Arizona Costume Institute’s sold-out annual Holiday Luncheon fundraiser at Phoenix Art Museum.
The theme of the afternoon was “Spirit of the 1920s.” Tabletops were adorned with ruby red and white flowers in centerpieces reminiscent of an era when the most fashionable women wore fabulously large hats.
Haute Couture Benefactors chose 12 pieces from the ACI vault to place on display for the Holiday Luncheon’s 400 attendees. The fashions included a 1980s intricate bead, sequin and silk Oscar de la Renta jacket and full skirt set donated by Jacquie Dorrance; a 1994 silk dress embellished with large metal “safety pins” donated by Kelly Ellman; a luxurious Pauline Trigère wool and fox fur cape and dress set from the late 1960s donated by Bobbie Haas; a 1993 iridescent silk-satin Geoffrey Beene evening dress donated by Ellen Katz; and an exquisite double-faced wool crepe Ralph Rucci jacket and skirt set donated by Diane Halle.
After a ’20s inspired lunch of “swanky” smoked salmon and deviled egg topped Bibb lettuce salad, and “roaring” tender Beef Wellington with a rich bordelaise sauce, attendees were treated to a fascinating keynote speech by renowned fashion illustrator David Downton. A true artist, Downton spoke of his work drawing some of the most notable names in the fashion world including Linda Evangelista and Iman.
After sharing his dazzling portraits, Downton commended the luncheon attendees for supporting the Arizona Costume Institute and ACI’s Curator of Fashion Design, Dennita Sewell. Funds from the Holiday Luncheon support the ACI mission of acquisition and preservation of garments and accessories of historical and aesthetic significance.
– Text by Leigh Havins
– Photos by Haute Photography LLC