MISE EN SCÈNE
Thrash’s essence, like her hair, also now in the shade of pandemic platinum, has captivated a room with flair and finesse for decades, as she flawlessly sets the stage for every event. Philanthropy, at the highest level, takes ingenuity and brains, both of which Thrash has plenty. It was her goal that the Paris-meets-Los Angeles’ 72-hour whirlwind, a three day experience of private art collections, luncheons, dinners, and a gala offered guests something smart, exclusive and unique.
The private collection visits offered to the fortunate guests were some of the most important private collections in the world. It began with film and television producer Michael Phillips’ Asian art collection, T.V. show creator Darren Star’s art-filled collection at his Beverly Hills home, philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick’s collection at their Beverly Hills estate, real estate developer James Goldstein’s collection housed in his mid-century masterpiece, John Lautner-designed Beverly Hills home, prolific gallery owner and collector Larry Gagosian’s Holmby Hills home, the home and private art museum of entertainment executive Steve Tisch, the art foundation of Frederick R. Weisman in Bel Air, as well as opportunities to see the latest exhibits at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty Museum, and the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
“There isn’t anyone who knows how to create memorable experiences the way Becca does,” shared Dallasite entertaining guru Kimberly Schlegel Whitman. “When her name is on an invitation, it is guaranteed to be filled with friends and fun and is sure to be a night you will remember. The LA L.A. Louvre event introduced us to private corners of Los Angeles that we often drive past and don’t even know. It was incredible treat to get to go inside their homes and see their collections with other art enthusiasts and hear the stories of the collectors and their remarkable collections.”
The event hosts included entrepreneur Ronnie Haft, with his husband Andrew Nagel, who had a welcome cocktail party at their Beverly Hills Forever home on Tuesday evening. Real estate developer Richard Weintraub, and his wife Liane, hosted the Malibu brunch on Wednesday in their historic, 1921 five-story beach front home, Villa Tramonto, while contemporary art collector and Jumex Collection owner Eugenio Lopez hosted a glorious al fresco seated dinner in his art-filled Beverly Hills home on Wednesday evening. In Lopez’s estate, one was as likely to see a Basquiat, Donald Judd, Cy Twombly, or a Warhol Brillo box, as an incredible Jeff Koons poolside sculpture among the other treasures that were feasts for the guest’s eyes.
The coup de grâce was Thursday evening’s culmination of the tremendous effort, a seated dinner for over 250 at the home of Colleen and Bradley Bell, high above the City of Angels in Holmby Hills. Longtime friends of Thrash through their mutual support of Anthony Kennedy Shriver’s Best Buddies organization, she’s the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and a T.V. producer, and he’s a seasoned television executive who has won over 20 Daytime EmmyÓ Awards. Their home, formerly the residence of Rod Stewart, and before that, Gregory Peck, served as the perfect backdrop for the Le Grand Nuit.
LA VIE EST BELLE
Many of the guests upon arrival at the Bell’s estate, entered the Mediterranean-style villa and were captivated by the impressive contemporary and classic art collection the Bells have assembled. Friendly, charming, and outgoing, the Bells are the perfect hosts for this kind of event. Never one to miss an opportunity to incorporate the French theme, a rendition of The Ritz Paris’ Hemingway Bar was recreated in the oak-paneled library of the residence. “The Bells are such lovely people, and their home was perfect for this event. The Hotel Ritz barkeep Colin Fields, who was flown in to create the pop-up, lost his mind when he saw the facsimile,” noted Thrash. As the Old Fashioned, Martini and signature Serendipity (nicknamed France in a glass) cocktails flowed, so did the guests who greeted longtime friends and eagerly made new ones.
In fact, as the event spilled onto the estate, with a magnificent view of the city, guests were so entranced by each other that dinner was served over an hour later than planned. After all, it isn’t always easy gathering guests to be seated. The gigantic tent was festooned with vibrantly pink lighting. With an abundance of one-story high greenery perched on the tables, it was the perfect counterbalance to the fuchsia pink carpet. Much of decorative elements and rentals were driven directly from Houston to Los Angeles. “We incorporated the natural beauty of Southern California with palms, elephant ear leaves and banana trees to add to the gradations of green,” offered Thrash. “The chandeliers dripped in long, cascading ivy, while the shapes of the plants were projected onto the ceiling, adding to the tropical theme.”
Creative, sublime, yet extremely elegant was Thrash’s goal in creating the décor. Never one to miss an opportunity, Becca Cason Thrash’s dress of glittering olive green sequins, designed by her close friend, designer-to-the-stars Naaem Khan, who also attended, matched the environment perfectly. “I find inspiration everywhere in creating a gala’s theme. Naaem sent me the dress he designed for me, and we built the evening around that,” revealed Thrash.
The synergy between the olive beaded gown and her pink kunzite and diamond jewels that punctuated the green and pink theme wasn’t lost on anyone. “It was so appropriate that Becca’s Naeem Khan gown had a cape attached,” shares Austinite philanthropist Carla McDonald. “She is a philanthropic superhero, and her superpower is bringing the world’s most interesting people together to advance the work of the world’s most important organizations.”
Guests raved over the entirely green table palette, highlighted with Yves Klein French blue tableware accents, that graced the silk table coverings on the many Continental and square tables, as guests were perched on green Chiavari chairs. In fact, every place setting was a feast for the eyes, and shortly thereafter, the cuisine palette. Guests dined on elegant French fare of filet mignon, asparagus in a light Bearnaise sauce, as well as pears in Champagne with crème fraiche. To pair with the meal, bottle upon bottle of Baron de Rothschild Champagne’s Chateau de Meusault 2016 and Le Petit Haut Lafitte 2015 were poured. For après dinner, Casa Dragones Joeven sipping tequila, Kastra Elion expresso martinis, and an array of French chocolates was served.
While dining, and as the evening progressed, the live auction, deftly helmed by Michael Macauley of Sotheby’s Fine Art and Auction, raised the pulse of the evening even more. As Becca Cason Thrash shared a few moving words about the importance of fundraising for the cause, with a video greeting by the Louvre President Laurence des Cars, the auction was off to a flying start. Some of the artists who donated works and who also attended the event were Chris Levine of London, California-based artist James Verbicky, Niki Haas of the Haas Brothers duo who grew up in Austin, to name a few. The Impressionist collector Lionel Sauvage (and longtime Louvre’s International Friends’ board member) was spotted huddling with the current American Friends Of The Louvre board chairman, Kip Forbes of New York (Becca Cason Thrash serves as the vice-chairman), while collector Mary Ellen Marziale flew in from Italy for the gala and was accompanied by her actor/director son, Antonio Marziale.
The bevy of guests who attended the event also included Michael Chow, founder of Mr. Chow restaurants, who bought the custom Tiffany watch for $85,000 at the auction, and Former Ambassador to Great Britain, the Honorable Robert Tuttle and his wife, Maria. Since the event occurred in Los Angeles, some local star power added to the guest list including Jacqueline Bisset, Chris O’Donnell, Jennifer Tilley, a few Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members, producer Mark Burnett and his actor wife, Roma Downey, to name a few. Paris was also well represented with Parisian residents Ina Giscard d’Estaing (her father-in-law was Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former President of France), Baroness Rose Anne de Pampelonne, Ritz Paris Director Mark Raffray, Fabrice Pasqual of Air France, and Parisian Lucas Somoza, among many other dear Paris-based friends of Thrash’s. The creative clout of the guests included designers like Juicy Couture co-founder Gela Taylor, and Monique Lhullier. Many other notables comprised of investor Francois Schramek, German technologist Patrick Hessler, philanthropists such as Sydney Holland, Carolyn Powers, and Orange County-based Elizabeth Segerstrom.
In fact, philanthropists Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and his wife, Regina, were overheard marveling about the vast turnout and enthusiastic support from so many Texans, too. The laundry list of Thrash’s Texas fans and supporters who would show up to support her for anything, anywhere would be too long to list here, yet we were all there. “Most were eager to show up to make a contribution to the event by doing their part: looking as glamorous as possible, donning fashionable new ensembles and jewels, and bringing their irreplaceable Texas exuberance by bidding vigorously…and to show the international guests how to let their hair down.” laughed Thrash.