Phillips Goes for Old Hollywood Look

Film noir inspired the decor for the Phillips Collection's second annual gala.

By Anne E. Stewart May 24, 2007, 4:43 PM EDT

New York designer David Tutera wrapped napkins at the Phillips Collection gala in paper film strips.

Photo: BizBash

Taking a cue from the current “Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film” exhibit, the Phillips Collection hosted a black-and-white gala on May 4, with decor and flowers from New York-based designer David Tutera. “The look is very crisp, clean, modern meets old world, because you’re in a modern art museum, and focusing on a vintage-themed exhibit,” Tutera said.

More than 400 black-and-white clad guests entered the museum via a red carpet and the women received red feather boas (a hint at the scarlet notes to be found at the after-party). Cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres from Design Cuisine Caterers floated through the museum’s ground level and courtyard, while dinner was served in various upstairs galleries, allowing the guests, including D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, to eat amidst the collection. Tutera created four different table themes, each playing up the black-and-white theme taken from old films. Centerpieces featured white casa blanca lilies, roses, hydrangea, Phalaenopsis orchids, and black and white feathers, all resting in tall glass vases wrapped in paper film strips.

For Phillips Collection event planner Allison Signorelli, who works part-time for the collection as well as other clients, living up to last year’s luxe French-themed bash was as much of a challenge as protecting the museum’s works. “Last year we opened the new building, and so the event was about that,” she said. “It was sort of easy to generate excitement in that way. This year was the follow-up, the sophomore effort. But I think we’ve been successful.”

After dinner, the fete moved down the street to the Anderson House for an all-red post-party designed by Tutera to evoke old Hollywood glamour (that old warhorse of design inspiration). Dancing took place in the venue’s two-story ballroom (drenched in red lighting), with music provided by the Glenn Pearson Orchestra, while Design Cuisine served desserts in the lush red tent in the garden.

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