In The Bag

by AVENUE insider Photographed by Amy Fine Collins
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, Amy Fine Collins, And More Toasted Max Mara’s New Whitney Anniversary Edition Bag.

New York’s most refined bag ladies gathered on Tuesday, April 26, at the Whitney Museum of American Art to celebrate the launch of the new Whitney Anniversary Edition Bag.

Last year Max Mara has partnered with the newly re-opened in the Meatpacking district Whitney Museum of American Art to create a limited edition Whitney bag to commemorate the exciting occasion. The Whitney bag instantaneously became the must have bag hanging off the shoulders of all of the city’s It Girls.

Now to fete museum’s one-year anniversary at 99 Gansevoort Street, Max Mara has launched a new limited-edition tote inspired by a John Singer Sargent drawing of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. To mark the event, the Italian fashion house hosted an intimate dinner party and presented its own handbag homage to the museum’s original founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, along with an advanced viewing of “Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection.”

Ms. Vanderbilt Whitney was a true art pioneer, being one of the first women to open a major museum in New York City and wear a pair of harem pants defying all of society’s expectations. Her modern day counterparts, including AVENUE’s very own March cover girl, Amy Fine Collins, Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Zoe Buckman, and many other revolutionary women, looked like art works come to life in their vibrant silk skirts swooshing around the elegantly decorated dinner table.

As the stylish guests attended to their champagne glasses they marveled at the extraordinary reimagined version of the structural bag. With only 400 of each design produced, the Whitney Bag anniversary Edition pays homage to Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942), the founder of the museum, art pioneer as well as a style icon in her own right. The Whitney Bag Anniversary Edition is inspired by a quintessential image of Mrs. Whitney, dressed in an original outfit by Léon Bakst, costume designer of the Ballets Russes. She is depicted in a 1914 sketch by John Singer Sargent wearing this iconic outfit: a pair of harem pants (a style that would influence Paul Poiret) and an ivory tunic with a black jet beads pattern of flowers and leaves. It was one of Mrs. Whitney’s favorite outfits, and she can also be seen wearing it in a number of other artworks, including a photograph by Baron Adolph de Meyer and a painting by Robert Winthrop Chanler.

In honor of Mrs. Whitney, the Whitney Bag Anniversary Edition incorporates two decorative motifs within two different handbag renditions. The leaf and flower are reproduced using a special relief technique that is applied to the original Whitney bag design. Two motifs, one unifying color: a refined pearl shade reminiscent of the long pearl necklace Gertrude is wearing in the portrait by Baron de Meyer.

As the festive dinner went on, guest enjoyed classical jazz music as the sun set over Hudson, adding a certain softness to the rigid architectural lines of the museum. The ladies were treated to a dinner setting laid with gilded china, burgundy and deep purple floral arrangements, and candle light, adding a touch of romance to the spring evening. And while the elaborately prepared cacio e pepe pasta and branzino entrees were a true feast for the eyes and beyond, the main piece de resistance, even competing with the stunning Max Mara Whitney bags, was the view from the museum’s open-air terrace.

To learn more about Whitney Anniversary Edition Bag pick up May issue of AVENUE.


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