Photos of Takashi Murakami, Nick Cave, and a set by Blood Orange at the party toasting “Figures of Speech,” which opens Monday.
Published June 9, 2019, at 11:51 a.m.
Text by Heidi Mitchell
Last night, the Museum of Contemporary Chicago held a gala toasting Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” a new mid-career retrospective of the Louis Vuitton creative director. Dozens of celebs, patrons, board members, and fans got decked out in their edgiest getups and moved through the museum’s floors for a first look at Abloh’s forays in streetwear, architecture, interior design, visual art, video installation, and of course, high fashion. Tickets started at $2,500; the event raised more than $2 million for the MCA.
Gala co-chairs Ben and MaryAnn Weprin struck a captivating silhouette as a couple, he in a navy tux and sneakers and she in a black-tiered cocktail gown. Fashion designer Azeeza Khan and singer Julianna Zobrist sported matching neon-green snakeskin handbags. Jewelry designer Jane Berg sparkled in a layered blue gown and plentiful bling. Artist Nick Cave wrapped his body entirely in black leather, right down to a skin kilt.
Other guests took Abloh’s Pantone Orange 021C as inspiration, sporting neon-orange gowns, orange blazers, orange high-tops, and a few iterations of Abloh’s inscrutable “mid-layer” men’s garment (not a harness, and not a bib). Artist Takashi Murakami, the subject of his own show in the same space two years ago (and who hosted Abloh’s first visual art show at his Tokyo gallery), came armed with a topknot, a T-shirt, and a selfie-ready smile (which he was willing to share with any partygoer who wanted a photo).
The 38-year-old guest of honor arrived late, dressed from head to toe in white, and gave brief remarks before sending everyone down to the museum’s garage for endive salad, lobster, and short rib. British singer-songwriter Dev Hynes (more famously known as Blood Orange) performed a mellow set on the piano. After midnight, everyone went home with a keepsake “Tourist” or “Purist” (your choice) felt pin-on badge.
The question of the night: Did Kanye, who was celebrating his 42nd birthday, show up? If so, we certainly didn’t see him.