The Winter Show Opening Night Party

Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

As the unofficial kick-off social event of the new year, this is always a spirited and glamorous evening where guests walk the spacious aisles beneath Park Avenue Armory’s soaring ceiling, enjoying cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and live jazz while perusing captivating objects from around the world representing 5000 years of art, antiques, and design.

East Side House Ambassador Students – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The Show’s presenting sponsor is Chubb, while Bank of America served as the Opening Night Party Sponsor. The event also functions as an annual benefit for East Side House Settlement, a community resource in the South Bronx. Proceeds from the opening night party will benefit East Side House Settlement, providing critical services and resources to over 14,000 Bronx and northern Manhattan residents.

Bunny Williams – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The party ran from 5 – 9 pm and scaled ticket prices ranged from $25,000, which will provide college scholarships for 5 East Side House graduates, to $350, for those arriving in the last hour. Among the approximately 1000 guests were Michael Bloomberg, renowned interior designer and entertaining expert Bunny Williams (who told me she’s been covering this Show basically since its inception), Martha Stewart, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Av Mark, Jill Kargman, Coco and Arie Kopelman, R. Couri Hay, Justin Connor, Janna Bullock, Peggy Siegal, Robert Rufino, Polina Proshkina, Alexander Hankin, and Barbara Tober who confessed that 2024 is a very special year as she will turn 90.

Design Co-Chairs Billy Cotton and Wendy Goodman – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Co-Chairs of the event are Lucinda Ballard and Michael Lynch. The 2024 Design Co-Chairs are New York Magazine Design editor Wendy Goodman, renowned architects Billy Cotton and Peter Pennoyer, interior designers Ellen Hamilton, Alexa Hamilton, and Corey Damen Jenkins, who has most recently worked his magic on the “Visions of America” sale and exhibition at Sotheby’s.

Beautiful Objects – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

In celebration of The Winter Show’s 70th Anniversary, there are over 70 internationally renowned dealers in the fine and decorative arts, presenting museum antiques and fine art from ancient times to the contemporary.

Allan Katz-Americana Oversized Rooster Side – photo courtesy

There is also a special exhibition, Focus: Americana, presenting exceptional objects from historic exhibitors highlighting Americana design history, curated by Alexandra Kirley, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and designed by architects Frederick Fisher & Partners.

Barbara Israel Garden Antiques – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

I’ve been attending this event for years, and I love the sense of discovery while examining the eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary art. I’m always amazed at the incredible selection and the enormous variety, but I gravitate to many of the same dealers, like the U.K.-based Didier Ltd.

A photo of Louise Nevelson and her jewelry at Didier Ltd. – copy 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.

Catherine Deneuve wearing iconic Man Ray Spiral earrings at Didier Ltd. – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

This year’s highlights are a pair of tall iconic spiral “Lampshade” earrings by Man Ray, worn by his muse Catherine Deneuve and captured in a photograph dated 1968. Priced at $250,000, they are the most expensive item they have for sale.

“The fair derived from a long-ago Board member who received an inheritance of couture clothing that she then sold and donated the proceeds to East Side House. This act evolved into participation in other fairs, and eventually, in 1955, the launch of the Winter Antiques Show.”

Daniel Diaz, East Side House Executive Director

Nicky Hilton wearing Alice + Olivia – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

While the Winter Show Opening Night Party is not a fashion event per se, anything in New York has the potential to be a fashion event, especially when you connect the worlds of art, design, and philanthropy. There is no dress code, but people generally look put together and festive, whether channeling a traditional Upper East Side visage or something more downtown and artsey.

Hill-Stone, Inc – photo by Marilyn Kirschner

While black ruled the night, there were hits of strong color, a smattering of winter florals, and lots of pink in all shades, which shows no signs of abating even after the onslaught of “Barbiecore” in 2023. There was even an exhibitor with pink hair.

Marilyn Kirschner & Peggy Siegal – photo by Joshua Kamei

Many women used the event to bring out their statement jewels. I piled on the pearls. When publicist Peggy Siegal spotted me wearing a beautiful pearl necklace, she remarked, “You win!”

Galerie Léage, Paris – photo Marilyn Kirschner

The Show’s acclaimed programming includes curated presentations, panel discussions, and benefit events. There is a VIP lunch on January 21, a Young Collector’s night on January 25 honoring Wes Gordon & Paul Ahnold, and a Connoisseur Night, slated for the 26th.

The Show runs through Sunday, January 28, and general admission for the day is $40.

Latest Comments:

  1. Great article! I enjoyed every sentence–so true, unfortunate as it may be. I even learned some new jargon. Hopefully, it…

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.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.