PartySugar Behind The Bash: de Young Opening Party for Vivienne Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion


In order for me to fully provide you with the most informative advice on everything that has to do with parties, I'm writing a new feature entitled, PartySugar Behind The Bash where I'll give you the scoop on San Francisco's hottest parties and most outrageous nightlife. I'm attending the events, speaking with the party planners, and getting the recipes so you can incorporate the up to the minute trends, decor, and dishes into your fabulous parties. After fretting about what to wear, I attended the opening party for Couture & Cocktails Vivienne Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion, an incredibly fashionable exhibit at the de Young museum. Despite the fact that I didnt see Ms. Westwood, the party was totally oversold and overcrowded with about 2300 people in attendance and lines, lines, lines everywhere, the majority of the people looked amused, satisfied, and enlivened by the party and the atmosphere was like an old school rave with a grown up make over. For the menu, look, music, an interview with the event planner and lots of pics, read more


Bon Appetit catered the fiesta and the food consisted of two small tables, one upstairs and one downstairs. Although they were dressed in a beautiful royal blue satin tablecloth topped with a black and white damask runner with dimension, levels, and interesting platters, the food tables were extremely sad. The pretzel sticks, grissini, black olive tapenade and roasted garlic spread was picked over and ravaged looking and the poor servers could not restock the tables quickly enough. The candy tables were a wonderful source of decoration as the brightly colored wrappers were both childish and chic.


If you could stand waiting in the mile long lines to get to the bar you could choose from five drinks, one from each of the five major liquors: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey. The specialty cocktail that was advertised on the invite, a Gin Viv (created especially for the party), was either missing or given a different name, because when I asked the bartender for one he gave me a blank stare and said the gin drink was called a Blueberry Crush. I ordered one, which was both too sweet and too bitter due to the pomegranate juice and gin respectively. I'm not much of a gin fan and preferred the vodka cocktail: a refreshing mix of sprite, vodka, and freshly squeezed (at least the bartender swore it was) blood orange juice. The best things about the drinks were the garnishes, which consisted of exotic fruits in vibrant colors: blueberries, blood oranges, prickly pears, apples, and mangos.


The look was staged by Blueprint Studios and was sparse with all of the tables dressed in the aforementioned royal blue and black/white combination creating a regal effect. At each side of the bars topiary floral arrangements of white roses, blue marbles, clear glass, and water were stationed. In the upstairs main room where the DJ was bumping his selection, the decor revolved around five giant paipier maché outfits: three dresses and two suits, all of which I am assuming were modeled after pieces by Westwood. While I enjoyed the arrangement of these sculptures, which was pyramid like with the largest and most beautiful dress being strategically placed above the bar, it felt off. The DJ was to the left side and party going-dancers didn't know whether they should congregate in front of the DJ or the focal point of the room, the bar.

The music, spun by DJ Shissla, was electronic based remixes of urban classics such as Lady Marmalade and the Pussy Cat Doll's Don't Cha. The crowd was a touch on the raunchy side of scandalous: more punk than glam, more deconstructed than structured, with girls in corsets, men in skirts, and swaying bodies in teetering chunky platform shoes everywhere.

The highlights of the evening were the trio of stylish young ladies who instantly adopted me as their friend and allowed me to cut in line with them at both the bar and the exhibit (thank you Katie Coleman!), seeing the oversized blue alligator skin 7 inch platform shoes that caused Naomi Campbell infamously to fall on the runway, and speaking with the lovely, modestly dressed young event planner.

Ashley, the event planner for the museum, informed me that this party was a test of sorts as it was the first time the de Young had ever opened up its doors for the opening of an exposition to the public. Here's what she had to say:

Party: What was your most memorable party?
Ashley: This is it! There are over 2300 people here and I think this is the best party I've done so far.
Party: What is your favorite flower?
Ashley: Tulips.
Party: What is your guilty pleasure food?
Ashley: Kit Kats.
Party: What's your advice to the everyday hostess?
Ashley: You've got to be really organized. Think from the guests perspective and think through everything from beginning to end.
Party: A successful party is...
Ashley: When a lot of people are laughing, dancing, drinking, and smiling. Most importantly laughing.

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