Dressing La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita preview

When you think of Italian fashion, visions of Gucci, Armani, Valentino, and Salvatore Ferragamo appear in your head. Whatever you’re wearing, when it comes to shoes, handbag, pair of glasses, or a couture suit or gown,  Italian-made signifies chic. As you walk through the streets of Milan (in your mind’s eye, at least), visit the Piazzale Cadorna where you’ll come across a Claes Oldenburg sculpture titled Ago, Filo, e Nodo (Needle, Thread and Knot), installed in January 2000. This artwork stitches together Milan’s famed fashion history with fine art in a very tangible way.

From head to toe, we can expect unlimited style inspiration in this year’s Gala After Party theme–La Dolce Vita—at the Italian Embassy tomorrow evening. Ladies might pair nouveau retro hairdos with flowing sequin dresses to match their shoes. Dapper, dancing men will show off the D&G logo on the soles of their shoes. Whatever your look, we’re sure it will go perfectly with espresso, bocce, and vintage Ducatis. Ci vediamo domani!

Joshua Navarro, Museum Assistant and Blog Photographer

Phillips Flashback: November 30, 1984

D.C.’s reputation for tennis shoes with sensible suits and other fashion sadness has lifted a bit as the city has recently achieved the once far-away status of “cool”. But was it a hip place back in 1984? I’d guess not. In the thick of the Reagan years, Fodor’s description of the city noted that sales of women’s white gloves were skyrocketing. But what about the fashion barometer at the Phillips? Well, while processing archival materials from the Board of Trustees, archives assistant Colleen Hennessey stumbled on a real gem:  Karl Lagerfeld, the mayor of the world’s beautiful people, presented a fashion show at the Phillips on November 30, 1984. Here’s the description:

On Friday, November 30 Karl Lagerfeld will be at The Phillips Collection to present his spring designs. This is their first showing outside Paris. The evening will include the fashion presentation in the Music Room and a seated dinner on the second floor of the annex. The entire evening is being underwritten by Saks Jandel, Mr. Ernest Marx, President. Tickets are $275 per person. Letter invitation are being mailed now.

Mr. Lagerfeld, anytime you’d like a reunion, we’re here for you.

A selection from the full-page coverage of the event in Washington Dossier magazine, February 1985. Photo by John Whitman. Clipping from Phillips Collection Archives.

A selection from the full-page coverage of the event in Washington Dossier magazine, February 1985, shows Laughlin Phillips and his wife Jennifer with Saks Jandel’s Ernie Max and the famous designer. Photo by John Whitman. Clipping from Phillips Collection Archives.

British Invasion

Last week, in honor of Antony Gormley’s current exhibition, we threw a British-inspired soiree with the British Embassy, Washington, to celebrate all things great about Britain. While temperatures spiked outside, cool galleries helped guests imagine they’d journeyed across the pond. Ambassador and Lady Westmacott stopped by. Models from Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie donned BurberryCharlotte Olympia, Issa, and Stella McCartney, and DJ Danny Harris rocked the Music Room with a ’60s British Invasion set.

A collage of photographs from a recent Phillips after 5 event with a British theme. Photos: Sue Ahn

Photos: Sue Ahn