The spring is in full swing, and that includes the stylish New York gala circuit. This season, fashion was front row at many of the city’s top events, and not just on the red carpet. The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation hosted a luncheon with a Max Mara fashion show, while the 30th Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon held a runway show by Naeem Khan. Meanwhile, the Luisa Diaz Foundation’s MAG Gala hosted a Runway of Hope with women survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking.
In a city that dresses up to the nines, this spring party season has been all about glitter, sequins, tweed and oversized fashion. Here are some highlights from New York’s trendsetting party scene, ahead of the summer.
Sophie Elgort exhibit at Lafayette 148
Lafayette 148 New York is one of the coolest fashion flagships in SoHo, and this new exhibition just made it cooler. Featuring enormous photographs of double-exposure beaches, palm trees and flowers by artist Sophie Elgort—daughter of famed Vogue fashion photographer, Arthur Elgort—her new exhibition “Away We Go” was the perfect prelude to summer. “Its inspired by postcards and the spirit of travel,” said Elgort in a statement. “What started as a happy accident turned into a series of double exposure analog images about reflection, light, color and movement.”
On view until June 9 at 59 Greene Street, the exhibition also celebrates the launch of the brand’s ‘Postcards’ print for Pre-fall 2023. The fashion world was out for this event, with VIP guests including supermodel Christy Turlington, Zoë Chao, Kate Young, Violetta Komyshan, Lizzie Asher and Casey Kolhlberg, among others.
Rescue Dogs Rock NYC Cocktails For Canines at Versa
Rescue Dogs Rock NYC are literal life savers in New York. They save all kinds of dogs, including ones that have been abused, neglected and abandoned. The organization held a fundraising event at the sky high Versa in the heart of Midtown, with co-chair Georgina Bloomberg. The bustling cocktail event was stylish with pink power suits and flirty summer dresses. The goal was to raise awareness of homeless animals across the country, and to help fund their new rescue center in Long Island, which will cost roughly $350,000. “We need bigger and more modern kennels & air conditioning to start,” said Jackie O’Sullivan, co-founder of Rescue Dogs Rock NYC. “We want it to be a comfortable oasis for these dogs who have already been through so much.
Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Annual Luncheon 2023
The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is one of the most socially active foundations in New York City. Since 1976, the foundation has invested over $100 million towards collaborative cancer research programs, helping scientists to make breakthrough discoveries to fight cancer. For their annual luncheon at AVRA restaurant, the foundation hosted a fashion presentation of Max Mara’s spring/summer 2023 collection by Danny Miller, and honored Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank for supporting cutting-edge cancer research. In attendance was Jean Shafiroff, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, and fashion designer Kobi Halperin, among others. Next up, the foundation is hosting their Hamptons Happening on July 8 on the Bridgehampton estate of Kenneth and Maria Fishel.
NYC Second Chance Rescue’s 3rd Annual Rescue Ball
Set in the stately Pierre Hotel on April 27, this third annual event aims to raise funds to give a seconnd chance to dogs and cats that are critically ill, abused and injured. Since they started their Rescue Ball 14 years ago, they’ve saved over 14,000 animals. This year, they honored author Joe Gatto, animal activist Georgina Bloomberg and Peter Roufail, named veterinarian of the year. The event offered stylish looks from guests like Leesa Rowland, Dylan Lauren (daughter of Ralph Lauren), reality star Melissa Gorga and the night’s host, Tony Award nominated singer and actress Orfeh.
The Opportunity Network’s 20th Anniversary with Annual Night of Opportunity Gala
Late night host and comedian Trevor Noah brought the laughs for the Annual Night of Opportunity Gala at Cipriani Wall Street, hosted by the Opportunity Network. It was hosted by NBA champion, Richard Jefferson, who talked about “career fluency,” and helping youth achieve their goals through mentorship. With the help of a lively audience of over 1,400 guests, the fundraising gala helped raise over $4 million for their programs, which help underrepresented students of color. “One of my favorite ways to think of opportunity is a possibility to make progress,” says Noah onstage at the event. “How do we get better? To see yourself beyond yourself. Deconstruct yourself to your core parts, what makes you who you are, and find people like that because they will walk the path that you did.”
Public Art Fund after party at Metropolitan Pavilion
Known as one of the most creative nights in New York, the Public Art Fund’s Party and after party is always a vibe. This year, actor Paul Rudd, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley and author Alice Berman, among others, were in attendance for the event on May 2 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The spring benefit celebrated art with a seated dinner for 400 people, art projects by Yvette Mayorga and Typoe, and a silent auction to help support public art that’s free to the public.
The Sarabande Foundation event at The Standard, High Line
If there is one foundation that represents the marriage of fashion and art, it has to be The Sarabande Foundation. Founded by the late British fashion designer, Lee Alexander McQueen, this foundation supports artists with grants, scholarships and subsidized studio space in the UK (they’re working towards developing a similar program in the US, too). They hosted their latest event on May 2, bringing together artists and designers at The Standard, High Line. The event included guests like fashion designer Thom Browne, Helen Gaultier, and more. Fashion designer Andrew Davis showcased a large-scale sculpture of figures created from Scotch tape, while Rosie Gibbens offered a performance that captivated guests in the heart of the hotel’s on-site venue, The Plaza. Sarabande’s director Trino Verkade, who hails from the fashion world says the event “is another step forward in sharing Sarabande’s world, amplifying the work we do with our creative partners at The Standard, and expanding our community for the future,” she said in a statement.
Brooklyn Museum Artist’s Ball after party
Known as one of the hottest parties in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Museum’s Artist’s Ball brings hip hop together with the art world effortlessly. That’s probably because rapper and producer Swizz Beatz is a regular guest every year—mainly because he is a Brooklyn Museum Trustee. This year, guests gathered to celebrate the annual fundraising event’s guest of honor, artist Carrie Mae Weems. Artworks by Mickalene Thomas were on view during the cocktail, while Dior selected décor that was inspired by Weems’ own artwork. The dinner welcomed guests like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tracee Ellis Ross and Natalia Dyer, among others.
PARTY GIRL. Parker Posey
New York “It” girl Parker Posey hosted an afterparty for the New York premiere screening of her 1994 film, Party Girl, on April 27. Held in a sleek basement club called Jean’s, its the latest celebrity hotspot in SoHo. In attendance were fashion designers like Christian Siriano, Jill Stuart and Zaldy, as well as actors Gina Gershon, Guillermo Diaz, and musician Peaches.
9th Anniversary MAG Gala
Held on May 18, this annual gala supports survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Hosted at The Plaza by the Luisa Diaz Foundation, the star-studded night showcased the Runway of Hope fashion show, showcasing fashion designers Jovani, Anne Fontaine and Chiara Boni. The executive director of the gala is Luisa Diaz, the former Miss Venezuela International, and started the foundation in honor of her grandmother, who was a domestic abuse survivor.
“The MAG Gala is possible because of a snowball of kindness with everyone that came together to the first gala, and throughout the years, to make this event happen,” said Diaz . The benefit helped fund three charities—Safe Passage Heals, Hope’s Door and Team TLC NYC. The dinner was followed by the ceremony in the grand ballroom, and attendees included Jean Shafiroff, Seth Herzog and Sarina the Violin Diva, among others. Brazilian artist, fashion designer and hairstylist Tony Matta showcased three looks from his recycled fashion collection.
“My ball is here and it’s a celebration of kindness, because people are forgetting to be kind,” said Diaz. “We are living in a society that glorifies negativity. There are so many people doing great things for the community but we’re not talking enough about it; I believe in kindness and humanity. We cannot forget to be kind to ourselves and others.”
Reformation’s Handbag Launch Party
If there was one party that was packed and fun, it has to be this one. Held at the beloved Lower East Side haunt, the Casino ,on East Broadway on April 25, this is where Reformation unveiled their first-ever handbag collection. This sustainable collection made in Europe was made from recycled materials in tanneries who use low-impact energy practices. The collection includes The Rosetta, a classic shoulder bag, and The Vittoria, a tote bag perfect for a long day out. Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall showed up, alongside the campaign star Camila Morrone, from Daisy Jones & the Six, Georgia Fowler and Lo Bosworth. At the secret bar in the basement, bartenders handed out bags to guests, instead of drinks.
Mayenda Tequila Launch Party
Bling Empire: New York reality star and fashion influencer Tina Leung toasted at the launch of Mayenda Tequila, a new luxury tequila from the Campari Group, on May 11 in the East Village, with guests Alton Mason, Camille Becerra, Ah-Niyah Gold and more. Mayenda is a sumptuous tequila brand and the cocktails were designed by Maestro Tequilero Jesus Susunaga, with a menu by Chef Julian Medina.
New York City Ballet Spring Gala: INVENTION
On May 4, the New York City Ballet held their annual spring gala, with the premiere of a work by Christopher Wheeldon set to music by Arnold Schoenberg, with scenery and costumes by artist Kylie Manning; and a work by Alysa Pires (in her NYCB debut) set to a commissioned score by Jack Frerer with costumes by Dana Osbourne. The program will also feature Justin Peck’s critically acclaimed 2017 work The Times Are Racing, set to music by Dan Deacon, with costumes by Humberto Leon. In attendance was Carolina Herrara, Michael Bloomberg, Lauren Chan, Fe Fendi and Carol Mack.
Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl launch party
When we look back to the early aughts, all we see are style icons like Tinsley Mortimer and Paris Hilton. Now, director Zackary Drucker has released a new Hulu Original documentary called Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl, which looks at these style icons through a cultural lens, and how it was a purveyor of social media. The launch was held at MarieBelle New York in Soho, and had attendees like Ben Widdicombe and Scott Kaplan, the film’s executive producers, producer Emmet McDermott, and R. Couri Hay, one of the film’s subjects, and more.