Raf Simons played host on the second night of the Guggenheim International Gala on Thursday, despite his surprising recent resignation from Dior, the evening’s sponsor. Greeting the high-profile gala guests, he was surrounded by glamorous women like Emily Blunt, Leelee Sobieski, and Dakota Johnson, all wearing his designs. Johnson, who was with stylist Kate Young, recalled that the last time she’d been at the Guggenheim was for the James Turrell exhibit in 2013.
Cindy Sherman, in a stunning sequined gold dress, said she came “to support Raf, despite his having recently retired.” 15-year-old Kiernan Shipka, in pale peach, said she always finds something age-appropriate from the label. “I think Dior has fantastic clothes, and they’re very timeless, and recently I’ve seen so much fun stuff from them,” she told the Cut. “I think they can suit, you know, different age ranges,” she added. She looked terrific in the ethereal dress.
Simons is known for his obsession with color, and color infused the event. Guests entered the gala on pale-rose-colored carpet, and the dinner in the museum’s rotunda was done entirely in shades of fuchsia and dark reds — on the tables, the flowers, the flooring. Even the lighting had a pinkish glow.
Sidney Toledano, Dior’s CEO and a Guggenheim board member, thanked his Dior creative team in a speech, and spoke warmly of Simons, calling him “The great Raf Simons, the one who — let’s put it this way — who stopped collaboration with Dior a few weeks ago, but with whom we kept a very strong friendship, and I am proud of working with him for almost four years.”
Also on hand was Dior’s menswear designer Kris Van Assche, a Dior Homme–clad A$AP Rocky by his side. The 27-year-old rapper was at home in the high-power crowd, air-kissing blondes and chatting with Isaac Mizrahi.
A pre-dinner performance of “November Steps,” based on the ballet by Minsa Craig and Alberto Burri, whose work is currently on exhibition at the Guggenheim, featured male and female dancers rendered androgynous in white unitards, white wigs, and fake white lashes. The auditorium was done all in white for the performance, the entire stage encased in white, creating a stark contrast to the warm reds of the dinner upstairs.
“Watching the ballet was a moment of peace and joyfulness,” Toledano told the crowd. “You know, in this world where we are running, connecting, it was a kind of break,” he said, perhaps alluding to the fashion world’s relentless pace. “And thanks to them, the artists, we give meaning to our lives.”
See Samantha Casolari’s dreamy photos of the event in the slideshow below.