Wednesday, November 24, 2010

San Francisco Social Diary

Diane Wynne, Thomas Songin, and Nicole Angiuli at The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show Preview Party.
by Jeanne Lawrence

“Amazing!” exulted one patron at The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show Preview Party on October 27.

Was he talking about the heavenly vision awaiting the guests at the entrance to Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion—six 20-foot high Chinese pagoda structures designed by architect Andrew Skurman?

Was he reacting to the ladies looking ethereal in their Derek Lam gowns —Show Chair Michele Goss and the other Chairs (Rosemary Baker, Wheeler Griffith, Jenna Hunt, Kathryn Lasater, Lisa Podos, Mary Poland, Shirley Robinson and Kendall Wilkinson)?
Honorary Chair Derek Lam with Vanessa Getty. Dede Wilsey and HRH Princess Michael of Kent.
Chairs Shirley Robinson, Kendall Wilkinson, Lisa Podos, and Kathryn Lasater. Chairs Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus.
Chairs Michelle Curtis and Wheeler Griffith. Chair Rosemary Baker with John and Lucy Buchanan.
Chairs Letitia and Michael Kim.
KC Lynch with Chairs Jenna and Bryan Hunt. Chair Suzanne Tucker.
Chair Mary Poland, with architect Andrew Skurman. Chair Laura King Pfaff with Charlie and Trish Hulley.
Was he talking about the always-fabulous annual gala itself, a benefit for the non-profit Enterprise for High School Students?

No. What awed him was the inspired decision to broadcast the first game of the World Series on massive screens in the show’s lecture tent—and the fact that the Giants won.

"Why would people want to go to the game if they could watch from here and also enjoy wonderful food, people, and art,” said Supporters Committee Co-Chair Michelle Curtis. Why, indeed?
The World Series on massive screens in the show’s lecture tent.
Mr. and Mrs. Dolph Andrews may have been the first in the door at 3:50 p.m., but they were soon surrounded by a swirl of guests that included many San Francisco boldface.

Among those in the crowd: Vanessa Getty, Lonna Wais, Denise Hale, Charlie and Anne Johnson, Cynthia and John Gunn, John and Lucy Buchanan, and Dorothy and Ken Page; Dede Wilsey and a quartet of Trainas (John, Trevor, Todd and Katie).
Todd Traina, Katie Traina with Chair John Traina, and Dede Wilsey.
It seemed every top designer in the city was there including, of course, Honorary Chair Derek Lam—a native son who’s made a huge name for himself in New York as a fashion designer.

Cheers erupted intermittently throughout the evening as the thousands of guests wandered in and out of the tent, watching the home team win while sipping, supping, and surveying the fabulous goods.

Aficionados Chair Michael Kim was impressed by Yurie Pascarella’s orange-and-black alligator Hermes Birkin bag—a tribute to the Giants, of course.
Lisa Podos and Michael Wais. Christopher and Ann Marie Bently.
Andrew Skurman. Norman and Norah Stone.
Vittoire Brown, Keith Scott, and Summer Tompkins-Walker. Yurie Pascarella and Lucas Shoemaker.
This year’s Gala had a Chinoiserie theme (extended even to the menu, with Asian-fusion touches like green tea crème brulée). The theme was a tribute to San Francisco’s sister city, Shanghai, which hosted a World’s Fair, Expo 2010, that had welcomed more than 73 million visitors before it closed on October 31.

The works of art on view throughout the show and Loan Exhibition revealed how much Western art has incorporated or imitated Eastern design elements and techniques.
Karen Caldwell. Denise Hale. O.J. Shansby.
Jeffrey Alan Marks and Madeleine Stewart. Justin Fichelson and Marcy Carmack.
Stephanie Tuttle, Bo Lasater, Paula Carano, and Angelique Griepp.
Betty Kay Coakley and Gary Friedman. Kenneth and Dorothy Paige.
Jeffrey Alan Marks and his “Million Dollar Decorator” Bravo TV crew captured the scene on tape—there was red, red, and MORE red.

And I’m sure they included the fretwork painting adorning the entrance that was done by Shirley Robinson and her team. It was based on the iconic “Badminton Chairs,” made in the 1750s for the Chinese Bedroom in one of England’s great homes. Two are in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, and our town’s Ann Getty owns the other six.
Jim Henderson, Mindy Henderson with DeWitt and Peggy Burnham.
Ross Cassidy and Jeffrey Alan Marks. Joszi Meskan and Dede Wilsey.
Cheryl Baxter and Kendall Wilkinson. Ned Mobley and Brenda Mickel.
Roberto Lee, Joseph Matzo, and Cynthia and John Gunn.
Joy Bianchi and Douglas Durkin. Summer Tompkins Walker and Vanessa Getty.
The dealers’ booths were spectacular—from lighting to layout—and the exhibitors included returning favorites Carlton Hobbs, Robert Young, and Douglas Dawson and new finds such as Liz O’Brien and Michael Goedhuis.

The jewelry and fine art offerings were especially extensive this year, and the latter included contemporary Chinese works.

Everyone loved the customized fortune cookies that departing guests received, especially the ones that carried the sentiment that “She who wears antique jewelry looks younger and more beautiful.” (I can vouch for that.)

Many people returned in the days after the party to do serious shopping—Dianne Feinstein, for one, was spotted on the last day—and visitors from all over the U.S. and abroad oohed and aahed and bought.
Steinitz, Paris.
Robert Young Antiques, London.
Finnegan Gallery, Chicago.
Robert Bowman, London.
Midori, Gallery Far Eastern Art, Miami. Michael Goedhuis, London.
The lecture series was the most successful to date. The organizers scored a coup by including David Beever. He is Keeper of the Royal Pavilion in Brighten, created for King George IV and known for its fanciful Chinoiserie interiors.

Bunny Williams’ lecture was oversold, and both Adam Lewis and HRH Princess Michael of Kent packed the house. (HRH Princess Michael charmed the audience by recalling how as a newlywed she slept in a Chinoiserie bed at Badminton House.)

The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show plays a big part in boosting civic spirit—and the Giants’ winning the series the day after the Show closed was just the cherry on the sundae: San Franciscans were bursting with pride.
Photographs by Drew Altizer. New York based Jeanne Lawrence reports on lifestyle and travel from her homes in Shanghai and San Francisco, and wherever else she finds a good story.