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Broadway actresses and Hollywood stars to the ladies who lunch

Performa presented The Red Party, a dazzling gala benefit. Proceeds from The Red Party will directly support the creation of new Performa Commissions for the Performa 11 Biennial (November 1–21, 2011).
Arnold Scaasi has dressed them all—from Broadway actresses and Hollywood stars to the ladies who lunch and America’s First Ladies. Epitomizing the “lifestyles of the rich and famous,” his custom-made clothing evokes the height of elegance and craftsmanship from the late 1950s to the present.

In celebration of the acclaimed fashion designer and his recent gift to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), of more than 100 outfits (to complement the MFA’s acquisition of his archive), the Museum is presenting Scaasi: American Couturier, from its opening on September 25th, through June 19, 2011, in the Loring Gallery.
Lady Colin Campbell, Arnold Scaasi, Glendina Weste, and Malcolm Rogers
The exhibition showcases 28 of Scaasi’s fabulous designs and explores his professional relationship with four women from among his extensive clientele, including Barbra Streisand, for whom he designed the seemingly transparent black tulle pants ensemble that she wore when accepting her 1969 Oscar for Funny Girl. The ensemble, now part of the Museum’s collection, will be displayed along with additional outfits created for the actress. Scaasi: American Couturier is made possible by the David and Roberta Logie Fund for Textile and Fashion Arts and the Loring Textile Gallery Exhibition Fund.

Scaasi’s richly tailored suits, cocktail dresses, and lavish evening gowns were statement pieces, often made for women with big personalities who lived grand lives, such as celebrities Elizabeth Taylor, Mary Tyler Moore, Sophia Loren, and Barbara Walters, and socialites Brooke Astor, Austine Hearst, Evelyn Lauder, Ivana Trump, and Gayfryd Steinberg. In addition, he created beautiful clothes for women who were suddenly thrown onto the world stage—First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush—whose elegant Scaasi gowns helped them establish a strong public image. (Jacqueline Kennedy also wore outfits by the designer before becoming First Lady.) As well, Scaasi made gowns for debutantes, outfits for artist Louise Nevelson, and even, on one occasion, designed a more modern habit for an order of nuns in Pennsylvania.
Scaasi: American Couturier Exhibition at the MFA
Scaasi: American Couturier focuses on the designer’s opulent creations and his collaborative relationship with his clients, among them: actress Arlene Francis, New Yorker Joetta Norban, celebrity Barbra Streisand, and socialite Gayfryd Steinberg. The designer met Francis, a Broadway actress and television star, in 1955, shortly after he opened his custom design studio. He created numerous outfits for her public appearances. For her starring role on Broadway in Once More with Feeling (1958), he designed a show-stopping silver matelassé evening dress with a red satin evening coat lined in silver matelassé. As he recalls, it delighted the audience when Francis—complimented on the outfit by another character—replied, “Oh, this old thing—I only wear it to the supermarket.” On view in the exhibition, it is one of the more dramatic examples of his trademark: a dress made with the same fabric as the lining of the matching coat.

His 30-year working relationship with Barbra Streisand began shortly after he first saw her perform at a small downtown nightclub in New York City in 1963. The association continued through countless outfits made for Streisand’s personal wardrobe, nightclub performances, and appearances at Hollywood premieres and the Academy Awards. Scaasi: American Couturier features outfits designed for the star (with several design sketches), including a bold, black-and-yellow zig-zag-patterned “motorcycle outfit” created for Streisand’s movie musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970).
In the 1970s through 1990s, as the influence of the 1960s counter-culture waned and opulence came back into fashion, Scaasi’s designs epitomized the extravagance of high society, especially during the Reagan era. Among the Nouvelle Society of New York was Gayfryd Steinberg, wife of billionaire financier Saul Steinberg, who commissioned many ensembles. Twelve of these, which she recently gave to the Museum, are featured, including a dramatic strapless gown of black, white, and grey organza petals, and a brilliant yellow satin ball gown, along with several design drawings.

“As one of the few American designers to specialize in custom-made clothing during the later part of the 20th century, Arnold Scaasi represents a true American couturier. The addition of his clothing and archive has taken the MFA’s collection of 20th-century fashion to a new level,” said Pamela Parmal, MFA’s David and Roberta Logie Curator of Textile and Fashion Arts.
Born Arnold Isaacs, the Montreal native studied at the prestigious Cotnoir-Capponi School of Design in Montreal and the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne in Paris, where he apprenticed at the House of Paquin before moving to New York City to work with renowned designer Charles James (1953–54). Shortly thereafter, “Isaacs” was turned backwards and became “Scaasi.” He gained recognition for his designs, and in 1955, the December cover of Vogue pictured a coat he designed for Dressmaker Casuals (a Seventh Avenue manufacturer), creating the buzz that helped him launch his ready-to-wear line the following year. In 1958, the designer won the prestigious Coty Fashion critics Award and his success was assured. In 1964, he opened his couture salon.

He mastered draping and created refined silhouettes that are intricately constructed, averaging approximately 120 working hours for each outfit and involving at least three craftswomen They are made of luxurious, flamboyant, expensive fabrics and furs, and feature asymmetrical necklines, pouffed sleeves, and billowy skirts in a wide range of bright colors. Fur-trimmed gowns, feather-lined coats over dresses of feathers, and jewel-encrusted dresses are some of the extraordinary confections that bear the SCAASI label.
Anna Bursaux, Ian Gillespie, Jennifer Gillespie, and Debra Lakind
Bill Cunningham, Christopher Muther, and Patrick Faloon
Arnold Scaasi and Malcolm Rogers
Frederic Sharf and Katie Getchell
Bruce Beal and Roberta Cohn
Carol Simpson and Bruce Metzler
Jean and Frederick Sharf
Phyllis Katz, Donald Katz, and Scott Black
Isabelle and Scott Black
Larry and Robert Cohn
Lauren Whitley, Wayne Nichols, Tomie Nagao, and Pam Parmal
Dave Weik and Diana Zlatanovski
Rachel LoVerme and Marko Rosenfeldt
Karen Rotenberg, Michael Rotenberg, and Malcolm Rogers
Last Monday, a week, The Lung Cancer Research Foundation hosted its 5th annual Lung Cancer Awareness Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria. The luncheon and presentation was co-chaired by Laurie C. Carson, Pippa Groves Gerard, Kimberly Kravis Schulhof, and Michele Wolkoff.

Keynote speaker was Dr. Mark Socinski, Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and a member of the Multidiscipinary Thoracic Oncology Program and Lineberg Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Back to front, L-R: Mark Socinksi M.D., Elizabeth Peabody, Shabnam Kazmi, Deborah Walsh, Marc Ladanyi M.D., Jim Dougherty MD, Laurie Carson, Julia Rowland PhD., and Kimberly Kravis Schulhof
Top to bottom, L-R: Danielle Englebardt, Lara Metz, Carol Weisman, Linda Fischbach, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, Brett Heyman, Jean Steinberg, and Prasuna Wright
Lung Cancer survivor Joey Smith with his family
Top to bottom, L-R: Danielle Levine, Shafi Roepers, Caroline Greenwald, Melissa Meister, Alex Shuman, Rebekah McCabe, and Marcie Pantzer
Among the Guests: Donna Acquavella, Shelly Carr, Bill Carson, Eleanor Dejoux, Jim Dougherty, Tana Dye, Shoshanna Gruss, Elizabeth Howard, Coco Kopelman, Arie Kopelman, Marie-Josee Kravis, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, Karen LeFrak, Kelly Mack, Chris Mack, Dudley Mason, Lisa McCarthy, Martha McLanahan, Lee Niven, Marcie Pantzer, Susan Patricof, Elizabeth Peabody, Shafi Roepers, Emilia Saint-Amand, Barbara Winston, Eleanor Ylvisaker.
Kim Konigsberg, Joseph Shapiro, Jimmie Holland, and Elizabeth Peabody
Antonia Dubrul and Sydney Shuman
Susan Tisch-Allen and Judy Spiegel
Kimberly Kravis Schulhof, Liz Groves, Pippa Gerrard, and Laure Sudreau-Rippe
Karen Glover, Kelley Johnston, Lala Flemming, and Yana Rowley
Anne Nordeman and Martha McLanahan
Deborah Walsh and Helen Miller CEO Cancer Care
Arie and Coco Kopelman
Laure Sudreau-Rippe and Laurie Carson
Arlene Reed and Michele Wolkoff
Susan Stevenson Woodward and Clelia Zacharias
Ellen Schnoninger and Shawn Warren
Meg Kirkpatrick, Bill Carson, and Wendy Routh
Chris Mack, Charlotte Blechman, and Rebekah McCabe
Lisa McCarthy and Wendy Breck
Carol Weisman and Lesley Shulhof
Jim Dougherty MD and LCRF 2010 Scientific Merit Award Winner Donald Kufe, M.D
This past Saturday night Performa, a non-profit multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the 21st century, presented The Red Party, a dazzling gala benefit, at 508 West 37th Street.

With actor Alan Cumming as host, and honoring visual artist Shirin Neshat, The Red Party also featured special performances by Fassbinder actress Barbara Sukowa and Yvonne Rainer’s group, as well as Padded Cell, a dessert installation created by food artist Jennifer Rubell. Attire for the evening was red, as you might have guessed, and designer Karelle Levy of KRELwear was on hand to create one-of-a-kind Quickie Couture pieces for guests. Proceeds from The Red Party will directly support the creation of new Performa Commissions for the Performa 11 Biennial (November 1–21, 2011).
Performance
In 2005, Performa launched New York's first performance biennial, Performa 05, followed by Performa 07 (2007), and Performa 09 (2009). In 2011, Performa will present its fourth biennial, Performa 11 (November 1–21, 2011).

The Red Party featured décor inspired by the Russian Constructivists of the 1920s, including a remarkable set and banners commissioned by Performa, and handmade by artists Kyle Goen and Zach Rockhill.
Performance
The Red Party began with dessert, performances, and dancing with music by DJ Tikka Masala and DJ Pierce Jackson. There was also be a special performance by Chica Vas and Sexual Energies School: Leningrad, featuring Zach Layton, Nick Hallett, Brian Chase, and Mike Skinner.
 
Artists in attendance included Vanessa Beecroft, Sanford Biggers, Phong Bui, Jules De Balincourt, Carroll Dunham, Simon Fujiwara, Kyle Goen, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Jesper Just, Jon Kessler, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kalup Linzy, Robert Longo, as well as Ryan McNamara, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Lorraine O’Grady, Adam Pendleton, Giuseppe Penone, Zach Rockhill, Carolee Schneemann, Laurie Simmons, and Lorna Simpson, among others.

PERFORMA was established by RoseLee Goldberg in 2004. More information is available at www.performa-arts.org.
Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn
Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn
Shirin Neshat
Shirin Neshat
Ludwig Heissmeyer, Daniela Behr
Ludwig Heissmeyer and Daniela Behr
Cindy Sherman, Shoja Azari, Saskia Bos
Cindy Sherman, Shoja Azari, and Saskia Bos
Defne Ayas, Grace Li, Laura Skoler
Defne Ayas, Grace Li, and Laura Skoler
Nadine Peyser, Alain Noirhomme
Nadine Peyser and Alain Noirhomme
Jiawen Shi, Annika Connor
Jiawen Shi and Annika Connor
Joshua Weidenmiller, Ryan McNamara
Joshua Weidenmiller and Ryan McNamara
Arianne Lovelace, Jeff Taylor
Arianne Lovelace and Jeff Taylor
Chen Tamir, Jen Denike, Mika Rottenberg
Chen Tamir, Jen Denike and Mika Rottenberg
Anne Hathaway, RoseLee Goldberg
Anne Hathaway and RoseLee Goldberg
Nicolas Nahab, Ashley Tickle
Nicolas Nahab and Ashley Tickle
Raoul Juncosa, Candice Madey
Raoul Juncosa and Candice Madey
Emma Hall, David Lipa
Emma Hall and David Lipa
Mauricio Banchieri, Marybeth Bentwood
Mauricio Banchieri and Marybeth Bentwood
Sara Fitzmaurice, Dan Tanzilli
Sara Fitzmaurice and Dan Tanzilli
Maria Baibakova, Tatiana Broushlinsky
Maria Baibakova and Tatiana Broushlinsky
David Raymond, Dorit Chrysler, Jesper Just
David Raymond, Dorit Chrysler, and Jesper Just
Anastasia Rogers, Matthew Earnest
Anastasia Rogers and Matthew Earnest
Shoja Azari, Michelle Stein, Phong Bui
Shoja Azari, Michelle Stein, and Phong Bui
Martha Shane, Mike Maggiori, Lana Wilson
Martha Shane, Mike Maggiori, and Lana Wilson
Nick Hallett, Brock Monroe
Nick Hallett and Brock Monroe
Andrew, Andrew
Andrew and Andrew
Zach Layton, Mark Beasley
Zach Layton and Mark Beasley
Adam, Eve, RoseLee Goldberg, Valerie Cueto
Adam, Eve, RoseLee Goldberg, and Valerie Cueto
Claire Bishop
Claire Bishop
Eileen Kornreich, Bill Kornreich
Eileen and Bill Kornreich
Lauren Lesselian, David Campbell, Kate Robinson
Lauren Lesselian, David Campbell, and Kate Robinson
Elyse Goldberg, Saskia Bos
Elyse Goldberg and Saskia Bos
Clara Mejias
Clara Mejias
Kai Kuhne
Kai Kuhne
Jack Gordon
Jack Gordon
Jessica Hintermeister
Jessica Hintermeister
Linda Stern, Scott Vandervoort
Linda Stern and Scott Vandervoort
Alan Cumming, Jennifer Rubell
Alan Cumming and Jennifer Rubell
Cecilia Stucker
Cecilia Stucker
Karen Wong, Tracey Ryans, Angela Goding
Karen Wong, Tracey Ryans, and Angela Goding
Bliss Lau
Bliss Lau
John Spong, Glenn Brown
John Spong and Glenn Brown
Kyle Goen, Marcus Hicks
Kyle Goen and Marcus Hicks
Courtney Plummer, Vivianne Ivanier
Courtney Plummer and Vivianne Ivanier
Anne Fidler
Anne Fidler
Peter Rosenthal, Amy Rosi
Peter Rosenthal and Amy Rosi
     
Photographs by PatrickMcMullan.com (Performa).
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