[All photos by NEIL RASMUS for PMc]
Luxury lives, at least for a lucky subset of New York's population, and they celebrated the unveiling of a new collection from Vacheron Constantin last night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The oldest of the Swiss luxury watch brands, Vacheron unveiled a collection of watches called "Les Masques," done in collaboration with the Barbier-Muller Museum, the Geneva museum renowned worldwide for their collection of African and Oceanic art.
The Met opened up their doors and took guests on a circuit from the main hall into their own African art collection, where Vacheron is sponsoring a special collection of pieces brought over from Geneva to supplement the permanent collection, into the Temple of Dendur, where monumental vitrines housed some of Vacheron's one-of-a-kind watches, both from the regular collection and the special line, Les Masques. Intricately hand-carved reproductions of the Barbier-Muller masks mounted on elegantly crafted Vacheron watches joined together the expertise of two Swiss icons--and just to make the point of how expert they truly are, two Vacheron craftsmen flanked the room, carving and assembling watches live for the crowd.
And what a crowd it was--the usual suspects, young and old, packed one of the favorite venues. Vacheron's top brass came in from Geneva, including their CEO Juan Carlos Torres, Worldwide Sales director Julien Tornare, welcomed by their recently installed North American president Hugues des Pins, and New York socials galore, including Olivia Chantecaille, Celerie Kemble, Ann Caruso, Pepe Fanjul, Rachel Roy, Bronson Van Wyck, Fabiola Beracasa, Tatiana Boncompagni and Max Hoover, and Muffie Potter Aston.
Cocktail hour gave way into a seated dinner, marked by a moving speech by Monique Barbier-Muller, daughter of the great collection Josef Muller, and founder with her husband Jean Paul Barbier of the museum that houses his collection. Directing their own party in the back of the seated dinner were Euan Rellie and Lucy Sykes Rellie, David Neville and Gucci Westman, Laura Brown, Phoebe Eaton, Bonnie Morrison, Malani Murjani, Shawna Christensen, Susan Shin (all wearing fab designer CHOCHENG), Rachel Roy, and Laura Brown, and all were surrounded by a dynamic performance of silk-wrapped, dramatically lit African dancers from Julliard, whose finale unveiled the newest and final additions to the Les Masques collection--just in time for dessert!