On Tuesday night the New York Botanical Garden held its annual Orchid Dinner benefit at the Mandarin Oriental, a change of scenery after three years at the now-shuttered Rainbow Room. Although the view from the hotel's 36th floor was different, the format of the evening remained the same—cocktails and a sale of rare orchids followed by dinner at tables decorated by floral, event, architectural, and interior designers.
The 28 dinner tables were as lush as usual. Traditionally floral-filled looks included James Rixner's pink and purple orchid tree and a giant urn of plum and orange orchids at Stephen Elrod and Rob Sanford's table for Lee Jofa. Other designs emphasized accessories over blooms, like the paper fans, bird sculptures, and nests on Katie Leede and Prudence Designs and Events' table and the blue-and-white ceramics on Rod Winterrowd's table.
Feathers were a focal point at Sebastian Li and Rinfret Ltd. and Glorimundi Floral's tables, and patterned tablecloths abounded. Timothy Whealon's table for Baccarat was covered in colorful stripes, Katie Leede and Prudence Designs used an overlay printed with birds, and Sara Story Design employed a rich red ikat patterned cloth.
The most unusual and striking look of the bunch was Michael McKinnon's tribute to Lady Gaga—not your typical Orchid Dinner muse. At the center of the table, McKinnon placed a large diamond-shaped sculpture covered in black lace and pink orchids and surrounded it with smaller versions. On each guests' plate was a lace-trimmed napkin topped with Gaga-like sunglasses, which created a surprisingly similar likeness. “It's a little naughty,” McKinnon said.