The towering display of quilts in the Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory Thursday night managed to dwarf even the 6-foot-4 frame of Citigroup Inc. Chairman Richard D. Parsons.
“You can do things with space,” Parsons said.
He sat on a red chair at one end of the 50,000-square-foot hall and gazed at 651 red-and-white quilts suspended in the air, draped on chairs and laid flat.
The gala was for the benefit of the American Folk Art Museum, and the quilts came from the collection of Joanna S. Rose. Many guests dressed to coordinate: There were red-and-white checkered garden gloves, Jimmy Choo red-satin heels, and a sprinkling of rubies and diamonds.
“The shoes are my naughty shoes,” Stacey Hollander, the museum’s chief curator, said about the cardinal-red open-toed shoes fastened to her ankles with red laces and revealing matching toenail polish.
Tony Calabrese, who works in finance, wore red corduroys by Bonobos, which he bought for the occasion.
“It’s baseball-stitch red,” said the former minor-league baseball player.
“I missed the memo about the dress code,” said Parsons, who was wearing a navy suit. His wife, Laura, the chairman of the museum, wore a white dress.
Cornelia Guest, the event’s caterer, wore black.
“Had I worn white, going in and out of the kitchen, well, I would have looked like a Messy Marvin,” Guest said.
The meal featured watercress and leek soup paired with Louis Jadot Macon-Villages 2009. When the Lobster Newburg arrived, waiters poured Morgon Chateau des Lumieres Cote du Py 2006. Strawberries and cream and vegan chocolate-chip cookies were served in the Tiffany Room with Grand Enclos Chateau de Cerons 2005.
The only wrinkle was that Rose, the quilt collector extraordinaire, didn’t stay longer. After a quick tour at the start of cocktails, she departed, leaving others to marvel at her acquisitions, which will blanket the armory through March 30.
“It’s visually stunning,” said Goldman Sachs partner John Mahoney.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)