The Guggenheim International Gala Pre-Party, sponsored by Dior, is one of those rare New York happenings that warrants a trip to the same address on two consecutive evenings. The celebration kicked off Wednesday with a blow-out party that served as a precursor to tonight’s more intimate black-tie dinner. Hosted by the Young Collectors Council, the fête drew a mix of fashion, art, and music luminaries who mingled over flutes of Veuve Clicquot and miniature macarons in anticipation of the main event: a special performance by R&B artist du jour, Banks. Offering further proof that the best things come in pairs were twins TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann—both staples at the annual occasion. “There’s always great company, good music, nice cocktails,” Wonder said. “Who doesn’t love that?” Wonder chose a Blumarine skirt in whisper-thin lace with a fur hem that met decorum while still bucking tradition. “I’m the complete opposite of that when it comes to style,” she said. “I like getting dressed up but also twisting the element a bit.”
This sentiment was echoed by the musical guest of honor, who delivered one of her first live performances since she dropped her newest album, The Altar. The singer swapped her prim, red carpet sheath for a pleated tulle Dior Haute Couture gown and a magnificent feathered headband onstage. “It’s funny, I thought I’d pick something from the collection that walked the runway, but Maria Grazia [Chiuri] designed something special for me to wear,” she said following her set. “It’s a visual reference of a dream world. I felt like queen Banks!” The gallery’s ribbon-like spiral ramp, which leads from the ground level toward a domed skylight, was swathed in amber light projections, setting a sort of celestial mood. Even DJ Chelsea Leyland couldn’t help but do a full 360-degree spin (in Dior heels, no less) while capturing the visually-rich scene for her Snapchat followers. “To see an artist perform in such a unique setting is always really interesting,” Leyland said. “The sound pairs in a very distinct way in the Guggenheim. Plus, it’s always nice to come to an event when it’s art-related and when it’s in a beautiful space.”
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