Designer Angel Sanchez came up to Gillian Miniter and gave her gold cocktail dress, which he designed, a sharp tug.
“I’ve never seen a man put his hands on my wife like that,” said her husband, Sylvester Miniter, president of Durham Capital Corp.
Getting the dresses just right was a primary concern Thursday night at a gala for El Museo del Barrio, a museum on upper Fifth Avenue in Manhattan focused on Latin American and Caribbean art. The event, held at Cipriani 42nd Street, honored Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino.
The waiters offered pisco sours to guests including Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour and Testino subjects such as Kate Winslet, Josh Hartnett and models Liya Kebede and Carolyn Murphy.
At the lectern, Winslet, in a white-and-black gown with her hair wavy and swept back, described what it is like to work with Testino.
“He’ll say, ‘It’s beeuuutiful, but I think it would be better naked, no?’ Quite frankly, how could one refuse?”
Testino credited his career to Wintour: “Long ago she decided I was a good photographer.”
Speeches were brief, in part because the museum has no director to speak on its behalf. Its last chief, Julian Zugazagoitia, departed in the summer of 2010 to lead the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
Before the medallion of veal was served, DJ Alexandra Richards (daughter of rocker Keith Richards) began spinning downtown club music.
Studs on Red Collar
Jeronimo Gaxiola, who designed the decor for the event, stepped on the dance floor in Christian Louboutin shoes covered in metal studs. Stylist Benjamin Le Hay also wore studs on a detachable red collar by Eleven Objects.
Designer Fabiola Arias wore one of her own long gowns, the color of cream on top and blue on the bottom.
“I wanted it to look like the woman has just emerged from the water, and has all this ocean life stuck on her,” she said.
Arias, a graduate of Parsons the New School for Design, has sold several of the dresses to Neiman Marcus for about $5,500 apiece.
Designers Cuca Diaz and Paola Wong showed off their creations, which they make under the label Pink Magnolia. Wong’s dress was nearly backless except for the bow over her bum.
The event raised more than $950,000, said the museum’s director of external affairs and development, Susan R. Delvalle.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)