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Black Tie International: Celebrity Philanthropy News-
Donatella Versace


Gala Co-Chairs,  Donatella Versace, Liz Swig,  Special Guest


Gala Co-Chairs,  Donatella Versace, Liz Swig,  Special Guest
Patrick Dempsey, and Co-Chair, Allison Kanders. 
Photo by: 
©Patrick McMullan/PMC






New York, NY (OCTOBER 22, 2008)— Raising over 3 million dollars, more than 1,100 prominent members in the art, fashion, media, business communities turned out last night in support of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Gala and Studio Party sponsored by Versace. Co-Chaired by Allison Kanders, Liz Swig and Dontella Versace with special guest Patrick Dempsey, the evening’s theme, Whitney-Past, Present and Future, was a visual sensation with inspired décor that fused high fashion and contemporary art.


Beth Campell’s installation created for the Gala, greeted guests as they arrived and served as the décor inspiration for the evening conceptualized by David Staerk Design. The installation reflected the evening’s theme as well as Ms. Campbell’s exploration of the psychological conception of one’s surroundings. Playing with issues of repetition and memory, Ms. Campbell’s recent installations have conjured uncanny trompe 1’oeil effects suggestive of mirrors. Her witty use of multiples and mirror images profoundly alter the viewer’s perceptions, questioning the place of the viewer in relation to the work as well as one’s psychological reaction to space.


As part of the Whitney sponsorship, Versace collaborated with world-renowned artists Julian Schnabel and Wangechi Mutu to create two one-of-a-kind pieces of priceless jewelry.  The jewelry, produced for Versace, was on display in the lobby and auctioned along with the signed original sketches, by sealed bids coordinated by Sotheby’s chairman, James G. Niven. Additionally, Marc Quinn generously agreed to donate to The Whitney Museum of American Art, a one-of-kind piece of jewelry produced by Versace.  His piece was also auctioned by sealed bids at the end of the evening along with an original sketch signed by the artist.  


Julian Schnabel for Versace

Ceramic deity head pendant with black diamond eyes, ruby lips, and gold foil appliqué hair.  Pendant hangs from a gold chain. 


Marc Quinn for Versace

Gold lip pendant with ruby encrusted tongue.  Pendant hangs from a gold chain.


Wangechi Mutu for Versace       

Pair of gold elbow length cuff bracelets.


“The Whitney Museum of American Art is an incredibly respected and important institution,” says Donatella. “I am excited about this collaboration as art has always been part of the Versace DNA, and something personally that has always inspired me in the creation of my collections.”


After attending cocktails in the Robert J. Hurst Family Gallery, guests ascended to the Emily Fisher Landau Galleries for a three- course dinner catered by Glorious Food and reveled in a high energy performance by Sting in which he sang “Every Move You Make.” Notable guests in attendance included:


Celebrities and Artists:

Sting and Trudie Styler, Christina Ricci, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Sean Avery, artists Julian Schnabel, Wangechi Mutu, Cindy Sherman, Fred Schneider, Michael Nouri, Beth Campbell, David Salle, Tara Donovan, Carroll Dunham, Mark Fox, Rachel Howard, Charles LeDray, Whitfield Lovell, Malcolm Morley, Lari Pittman, Ugo Rondinone, Laurie Simmons, Rudolf Stingel, Lawrence Weiner, Fred Wilson and Terry Winters.



Director Adam Weinberg; Officers Neil Bluhm (Board President), Robert Hurst and Brooke Neidich (Board Co-Chairs); Trustees Steven Ames, Anne Dias Griffin, Susan Hess, Warren Kanders, Leonard Lauder, Ray McGuire, Steven Mnuchin, Tom Tuft and Liz Swig.


Other notable guests include:

Evelyn Lauder, Charles and Betty Anne Gwathmey, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Amanda Burden, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Julie and Billy Macklowe, Heather Mnuchin, Mary Boone, Marvin Hamlisch, Campion and Tatiana Platt, John and Susan Gutfreund, Frederic and Shirin Fekkai, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Jane Holzer, Sari Gueron and Bonnie Morrison.


The Studio Party, hosted by Matthew Brannon, Martin Dawson, Amanda Hearst, Barbara and Andrew Mandell, Leighton Meester, Dalia Oberlander, Christina Ricci, Alexandra Richards, Arden Wohl and the Whitney Artists Council began at 9pm and DJ Cassidy entertained the vibrant crowd that danced the night away and enjoyed a special performance by Nick Cannon. Guest indulged in Ketel One Sugar-Plumtinis and Ketel One Chocolate Martinis specially created for the Studio Party. Notable guests in attendance included:


Byrdie Bell, Kipton Cronkite, Lydia Fenet, Zani Gugelmann, Behnaz Sarafpour, Gilles Mendel, Poppy Delevigne, Jane Krakowski, Katie Lee Joel, Kiera Chaplin, Juliette Lewis, Emma Roberts, Helena Christensen, Rose Bryne, Harry Josh, Lee Lee Sobleski, Becki Newton and Hannah Soukupova.



The Whitney’s annual Gala supports the Museum’s ongoing exhibition and educational programming. The Gala is the most visible and prominent of the Museum’s fundraising efforts, providing the essential funds needed to support the latest achievements of emerging artists as well as American masters.



The Whitney Museum of American Art is the home of the world’s preeminent collection of American art. Founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the institution has remained committed to its mission of supporting living American artists.  Through its Permanent Collection, traveling exhibitions, world-renowned Biennials and innovative educational programs, the Whitney facilitates exploration of the richness of American art and culture throughout the world.



Gianni Versace SpA is one of the leading international fashion design houses and a symbol of Italian luxury worldwide.  It designs, manufactures, distributes and retails fashion and lifestyle products including Atelier(Haute Couture), prêt-a-porter, accessories, jewelry, watches, eyewear, fragrances, and home furnishings all bearing the distinctive Medusa logo.

For more information on the Whitney Museum please visit:

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