15 Minutes at the Mid-Winter Gala


There was 15 minutes of fame (and fond reminiscences) for the Old Economy on Saturday out at the de Young Museum during the Mid-Winter Gala.

This 6th annual soiree, hosted by the Junior Committee of the Fine Arts Museums, deftly raised some $250K for museum programs as they saluted the de Young’s exhibition, Warhol Live.

Within the 400-deep crush that mingled in Wilsey Court it felt more like ‘80s Wall Street than our current ‘30s era Hooverville: a colorful swirl of soigne suits and glamorous gowns. Disco balls in the dinner tent! A riotous gaggle of glitz for a Saturday night in San Francisco that would’ve made Andy proud. And actually held his attention.

“They said it couldn’t be done this year,” exclaimed Trevor Traina, a Fine Arts Museums Trustee and co-founder of this now beloved tradition. “I just raised money for one of my companies, DriverSide.com. But it was more difficult to raise money for this party!”

Trevor said that many folks warned him -- “Don’t hold the party this year; Don’t do a dinner; No one has the money.” But like his mother, dynamo Dede Wilsey who serves as Fine Arts Museums Board President, this check doesn’t fall far from the checkbook.

“Even the Guggenheim canceled its Young Collector’s Artist Ball this year,” said Trevor. “But in this bad economy, we thought our guests have had enough gloom-and-doom and could actually use a good night out.”

Team Trevor, which includes his Honorary co-chairwoman Vanessa Getty and Gala co-chairwomen Kathryn Lasater and Allison Speer, garnered some $80K in sponsorships (Bulgari, Sothebys, First Republic, PG&E), raised money and had a great time doing it.

Alexis Traina and her husband, Mid-Winter Gala Honorary co-chairman and Fine Arts Museums Board Trustee Trevor Traina

And with an homage to Warhol as theme, everyone got in the game. From the Brillo-box invites and yellow banana programs (by Dauphine Press), the dinner tent’s Studio 54 decor (Blue Print) and wild dance music (Wonder Bread 5) to the Warholian be-wigged wait staff.

“Tonight is the night to channel one’s inner self,” said Juliet de Baubigny, a vision in a regal purple vintage Azzedine Alia gown. “Not that I’m really sure what that inner self is!”

Other great gowns? Vanessa Getty channeled old Hollywood glamour in a smashing pale gold, silk charmeuse goddess gown of her own design (executed by her dressmaker, Patty Orr).

And Nicola Miner rocked the house in a knock-out peacock-blue Giles Deacon gown that she accessorized with Warhol-esque black patent Prada opera-length evening gloves.

Channeling Andy’s fondness for TV dinners, Taste Catering’s MeMe Pederson cleverly created a modern-day version of those metallic-sectioned suppers: tomato soup (organic, natch) and gourmet mini grilled-cheese followed by a main course of Fulton Valley cornflake-crusted fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

The menu was a hit. But most important to MeMe? When the plate belonging to Trevor’s guest, French Laundry chef Thomas Keller, was cleared from the table and returned to the kitchen, it was clean as a whistle.

Trevor’s wife, Alexis Swanson, and her family have long moved beyond their days of Swanson Hungry Man dinners. So it was that Trevor toasted his wife (“The dearest to my heart”) with a glass of the primo Swanson Alexis Cabernet vino which graced each table.

“We’re pouring the good stuff tonight --this wine would cost you $170 at Spruce Restaurant,” teased Trevor, to his fellow gala-goers. “You’ve already paid -- so drink, dance and be merry!”

Billy Getty and his wife, Mid-Winter Gala Honorary co-chair Vanessa Getty

Don Johnson and his wife, Kelley Phleger Johnson with Stanlee Gatti

Metallica's Lars Ulrich and his partner, actress Connie Nielsen

Mid-Winter Gala co-chair Allison Speer and her fiancé, Dr. Fred Moll

Robert Mailer Anderson and his wife, Nicola Miner

Fine Arts Museums Director John Buchanan and his wife, Lucy Buchanan

French Laundry chef Thomas Keller and his fiancée, Laura Cunningham

Kate Harbin and Evie Simon

Margot and Nick Graham

Lindsay Bolton and Erin Lowenberry

Montgomery and Annie Woods with Summer Tompkins Walker

Juliet and Andre de Baubigny

Maxx Traina and Stephanie Unger

Brian Wilsey and actress Barret Swatek

The Queen of Green Zem Joaquin (left) with Splendora founder Gina Pell and Ungaro fashion house co-owner Isha Abdullah

Beth Schmidt and Stephan Jenkins

Victorie Brown (left) with Alberto and Consuelo Lataliste

Alyson Jackson and Brad Harrington

SF Ballet Dancer Damian Smith, Vanessa Getty and Donald Van der Marcke

Nicola Miner in one of the evening's finest ensembles

Hilary Armstrong and Kimberly Sesnon

Kelly Grimes and SF Ballet Dancer Aubert Vanderlinden

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