The Winter Show Opening Night at Park Avenue Armory

Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The Winter Show Opening Night Party was held at the Park Avenue Armory on Thursday evening. It was a glamorous evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and fascinating objects from around the world, the unofficial kick-off social event of the new year, and an annual benefit for East Side House Settlement, a community resource in the South Bronx.

Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

East Side House’s programs focus on education and technology, serve as gateways out of poverty, and are keys to economic opportunity. All revenues from the show’s general admissions and the net proceeds from the preview parties and other events go to East Side House and contribute substantially to its private philanthropic budget.

“Each year, The Winter Show offers dedicated and passionate collectors and connoisseurs the opportunity to acquire and learn about an extensive range of works from around the world,”

Helen Allen, Executive Director, The Winter Show.
Event Co-Chairs Elizabeth Lawrence, Alex Papachristidis, Bunny Williams
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

This year’s edition features 68 international exhibitors presenting an array of art, antiques, jewelry, and design spanning 5,000 years. The show includes curated presentations, special activations, and programming, as well as thematic displays in collaboration with this year’s notable Design Council Co-Chairs Bunny Williams, Alex Papachristidis, Stephen Sills, and Elizabeth Lawrence. The Design Council Honorary Co-Chair was Wendy Goodman, Design Editor of New York Magazine.

Marilyn Kirschner, Rebecca Moses, Freddie Leiba, Musa Jackson
Photo by Wendy Goodman

Each object exhibited by the 68 exhibitors is vetted for authenticity, date, and condition by a committee of 150 experts from the U.S. and Europe. Attendees can shop confidently from the vast selection of objects ranging from the mundane to the marvelous. And shop they did…or, at least, they perused. The show runs for 10 days, so last night’s guests have plenty of time to go back and take a better look without the fanfare of the opening night and the various distractions: food, drink, and people.

Wendy Goodman, Design Council Honorary Co-Chair
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

While it seems that many New Yorkers are in Florida or some other warm destination (of course, it’s pretty warm here, too), the show was packed with many “usual” suspects, and there were some new faces. Among the attendees were Michael Bloomberg, Diana Taylor, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Martha Stewart, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Helen Shifter, Christopher Mason, Audrey Smaltz, Sharon King Hoge, Polina Proshkina, Jamie Drake, Jon Marder, Wendy Goodman, Rebecca Moses, Freddie Leiba, and Musa Jackson, Editor-in-Chief of Ambassador Digital Magazine and Co-Founder of Harlem Festival of Culture.

Jamee and Peter Gregory
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

For the most part, guests were dressed festively but not overly so. I guess you could say they were dressed up and dressed down, casual yet festive, exemplified by Jamee Gregory, who wore an allover silver sequined boyfriend blazer by Michael Kors, which she accessorized with trousers and black sneakers. Perfect, as it was pouring rain last night.

Barbara Israel Garden Antiques
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

I’ve been attending this event for years, and I love the sense of discovery that one gets while examining the eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary art. I’m always taken with the incredible selection and the enormous variety. However, I do seem to gravitate to many of the same exhibitors year after year, such as the U.K.-based Didier Ltd.

Max Ernst 24 karat gold Blowfish Pendant at Didier LTD
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Founded by Didier and Martine Haspeslagh, they specialize in jewelry made and designed by painters, sculptors, architects, and designers from the second half of the 20th century, including Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder, Andre Derain, Alberto Giacometti, Jacques Lipchitz, Gio Pomodoro, Louise Nevelson, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso who first made unique jewels from objects troves that were further embellished for Dora Maar, Francois Gilot, and other girlfriends.

Kentshire Victorian Serpent Bracelet

Kentshire, based in New York, is always must-see thanks to its fantastic mix of antique and contemporary jewelry. One standout is a sensational Victorian serpent bracelet with oval and rose-cut diamonds. Lillian Nassau, also based here in New York, specializes in beautiful and rare Louis Comfort Tiffany glass objects and windows.

Portuondo Gallery, a new UK based exhibitor
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

I was taken with a 1930’s statue by sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnah. A larger version is on display in Central Park’s Conservatory Gardens. Also, seeing Barbara Israel Garden Antiques’ extensive collection of estate statuary makes me wish for a country estate large enough to hold such a grand selection. I love enormous tapestries and Aubusson rugs and the selection at London based Keshishian Ltd.

1930 Isotta Fraschini Commodore Roadster
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

I adore Art Deco, and among the new exhibitors specializing in 20th-century decorative arts and design are the London-based Portuondo Gallery and Porbertaebasta, based in Milan. But, as it turns out, the most spectacular art deco item on display is not something to wear or decorate one’s home. It is a car. But not just any car: a limited edition 1930 Isotta Fraschini “Commodore” Roadster Typo 8A Super Spring.

The art deco masterpiece by features a Lalique hood ornament and coachwork by Carrozzerie Castagne. Made in Milan for the American market, it is priced at $1,450,000 and is for sale by Kelly Kinzle, a highly respected New Oxford, PA-based dealer. I asked Kelly if he thought the car would sell at this show. He paused and said, “I hope not.” So I suppose he has plans for this highly collectible automobile.

Latest Comments:

  1. Great reporting, once again, by Marilyn, not to mention her critiques. Perfectly spot-on and correct.

  2. Yes, Ackerman: “So the more and more we can restrain each other and be quiet and silent- I think that’s…

  3. Hello Marilyn, At last we have Haider Ackerman, providing clothes that are beautiful, becoming and wearable. Yes, believe it or…

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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  1. Ah, I once interviewed magical Mario Buatta at the Winter Show. So many discoveries here. Send the show, and Wendy Goodman, down to San Miguel de Allende — we need all those smarts and beauty. And I admire the sneakers on Jamee Gregory. True chic.

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