The Whitney Gala and Studio Party continues to be one of our favorite events of the year. But the uptown stalwart was moved downtown this year to Hudson River Park's Pier 57 and the town cars followed. The night, which was sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, J.P.Morgan/Chase, AOL, and Marchesa, began with an elegant sit down dinner in honor ofNew Yorker art writer Calvin Tomkins. The gala decor featured tables in alternating color schemes, elaborate crystal chandeliers suspended from steel beams, and a video installation by artist Marilyn Minter. After a performance by Fitz & The Tantrums, guests like Bar Rafaeli, Georgina Chapman, Lela Rose, and Michelle Monaghan walked through the industrial space and toward the studio party where the Chandon was already flowing.
The younger crowd, which included Yigal Azrouel, Vikram Chatwal,China Chow, Julie Henderson, Ally Hilfiger, John Legend, Charlotte Ronson, and Coco Rocha, meandered around the seductive space as Questlove mixed it up. Rafaeli started dancing immediately in her ruffled Marchesa gown and spent a good portion of the night teaching Hilfiger how to shake her hips. Monaghan took a seat on a velvet couch only to be greeted by pops of confetti. Illuminated neon trays carrying mini sandwich cookies and push pops circulated throughout and a bright, youthful, aura prevailed.
Porta-pottys aside, this new venue provided a taste of things to come. The Whitney is set to open its new exhibition space and performing arts center in the Meatpacking District. And it seems the UES crowd is quite willing to migrate below 14th Street for a good night out!