Glamour Sponsors Kitschy Asian Soiree

April 2, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

The American Museum of Natural History's winter dance American Museum of Natural History Wednesday, 03.28.01, 8 PM onward
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Considering the Asian Wonders of the Far East theme of the American Museum of Natural History's Winter Dance, there was a noticeable lack of actual Asian people at the event (except, perhaps, the ones in the glass cases inside the Gardner D. Stout Hall of Asian Peoples).

But that didn't stop some guests from dressing like Asians--several Caucasian female guests arrived dressed in high-collared Chinese cheongsam dresses and Japanese kimono wraps. (One even went so far as to wear a funnel-shaped Chinese peasant hat--not quite appropriate for a dinner with $250 to $350 tickets.)

The spectacle escalated with drag queens from Screaming Queens--men dressed as women dressed as Japanese geishas and Chinese opera singers--in outrageously bright costumes. And a decent turnout added to the display, with Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Angie Harmon, Jason Sehorn, Heidi Klum and Frederique Van Der Wal attending the event.

The event's co-chairwomen were Sedgwick and Bonnie Fuller, editor in chief of Glamour magazine, which sponsored the event. It was organized by Sheri Low's staff at the museum's office of development and Fuller's staff at Glamour, and raised more than $300,000 for the museum's educational programming fund.

The evening began with cocktails and a silent auction (to benefit the museum) in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. Luxe items such as Coach lambskin pillows; Christian Dior, Escada and Polo Ralph Lauren bags; and a custom-made Brooks Brothers suit were all on display in antique cabinets and chests from Props for Today. (The company also custom-built bamboo and wicker sake bars for the event.) Models attired in gowns for auction by designers such as Vera Wang and Randolph Duke circulated among bidders. The pre-dinner events continued in the Hall of Biodiversity, where manicurists from Nails for Venus decorated partygoers' fingernails and makeup artists painted temporary tattoos of the Chinese word for “glamour” on guests' arms.

For dinner, the museum's Hall of Ocean Life was festooned with an array of Asian-inspired tchotchkes and party favors, including paper parasols, porcelain statues and Chinese exercise balls. Giant dragon puppets lined the staircase railing where guests entered the hall. Belle Fleur decorated the tables with shimmering Chinese brocade tablecloths with towering cherry blossom centerpieces (we've been seeing a lot of these lately) accompanied by vases full of dendrobium orchids and wheatgrass. For dinner, guests were served pupu platter appetizers, Teriyaki chicken with noodles and julienned Asian vegetables, and Indonesian chocolate velvet cake decorated with chocolate chopsticks, all catered by Restaurant Associates.

During dinner, guests were treated to a performance by the Los Angeles-based Li Xiao Dan Chinese Opera Company, who performed a short re-creation of the traditional lion dance usually performed at Chinese New Year parades. The dancers' quick exit was followed by the entrance of the Screaming Queens performers, who sashayed and posed on the dance floor among dancing guests.

The final piece of the Asian-Glamour connection: Custom-made fortune cookies with the magazine's infamous “Do's and Don'ts” fashion advice tucked inside.

--Suzanne Ito

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