San Francisco Social Diary: Winter Events

Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s Your Dog guards the Asian Art Museum entrance.

The cold weather hasn’t stopped San Franciscans from coming out for their favorite local causes. The opening of Adam Lindemann’s “Venus Over Manhattan” at St. Joseph’s Arts Society, the launch of “Kimono Refashioned” at the Asian Art Museum, and an award ceremony honoring philanthropist Maria Manetti Shrem were among many artistic and charitable events that drew supporters.

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Shanghai Social Diary in New York: China Institute Celebrates 90th Year Gala

China Institute 90th Anniversary Gala Co-Chair Yue-Sai Kan with Peking Opera actors, who performed in New York City.


China Institute celebrated its 90th anniversary in New York City with a glittering gala that included a surprise performance by a troupe of Peking Opera performers. Three people were honored for their contribution to increasing understanding and cooperation between the U.S and China: Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman; Richard Gelfond, IMAX Corporation CEO; and fashion designer Guo Pei.

I was elated at the inclusion of Guo Pei, whom I predicted would become one of the biggest international names in haute couture when I first saw her work.

China Institute President James Heimowitz, Gala Co-Chair Sophia Sheng, Haute Couture Designer Beatrice Pei, and China Institute Board Chair Chien Chung “Didi” Pei.

Guan Wang, the evening’s emcee and chief political correspondent for CCTV America’s Mandarin service, with TV presenter and writer Chiu-Ti Jansen.

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San Francisco Social Diary: The Oscar de la Renta Gala

San Francisco fashionistas turned out for the fabulous opening of the de Young retrospective honoring designer Oscar de la Renta.


At the black tie, invitation-only opening of the first Oscar de la Renta retrospective, held at San Francisco’s de Young Museum, friends and fans turned out in their best Oscars to honor the designer, who passed away in 2014.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Opera Guild Fashion Night and a Hilton Birthday

During San Francisco’s spring social season, I enjoyed an Erdem fashion show held at the new San Francisco Cruise Terminal, and attended a glamorous dinner party with friends that showed off the city’s Old World charm.

My New York friends are always asking what goes on in San Francisco. Plenty! There are meet-ups with friends, lots of parties, and so much live entertainment it’s hard to make a choice. Here’s a report on some of the events I enjoyed on my last trip.


This spring, droves of San Francisco fashionistas gussied up to view the latest collection from celebrated British designer Erdem Moralioglu at his first-ever runway presentation here.

Saks Fifth Avenue sponsored the event, co-chaired by Claire Fluhr and Anne Marie Massocca under the leadership of new Guild President Charlot Malin. It benefited the San Francisco Opera Guild’s music education programs, which reach more than 50,000 students in nearly 200 schools throughout Northern California.

Fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu with Opera Guild President Charlot Malin.

Opera Guild co-chairs Anne Marie Massocca and Claire Fluhr, with Opera Director David Gockley.

Huifen Chan with Saks GM Robert Arnold-Kraft, who sponsored the evening.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Electric Fashion

This spring, I attended the launch of fashion maven Christine Suppes’ book Electric Fashion, featuring images of her personal couture collection amassed over three decades.


This spring, Christine Suppes, the art patron, couture collector, and trailblazing fashion editor, launched the international tour of her latest book, Electric Fashion, at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, followed by a national launch at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus.

Suppes in a shocking pink 1950 Balenciaga Eisa ball gown, originally owned by Mrs. Biddle of Philadelphia, part of her incredible collection.

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San Francisco Social Diary: A Season of Parties & Concerts

Among the activities I enjoy in San Francisco are concerts in the city’s many music venues, such as the spectacular, over-the-top Beyoncé and Jay-Z show at AT&T Park.


My New York friends are always asking what goes on in San Francisco. Plenty! There are meet-ups with friends, lots of parties, and so much live entertainment it’s hard to make a choice. Here’s a report on some of the events I enjoyed this year.

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San Francisco Social Diary: Spring in the City ~ Charitable Events in San Francisco

Among the Bay City’s many recent charitable events was the fashion show/lunch benefit for the San Francisco Ballet, sponsored by Neiman-Marcus at the Fairmont Hotel.

Civic-minded, cosmopolitan San Francisco offers cultural activities for every age and interest. Here are highlights from some philanthropic events I attended recently.


The San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary held its annual spring fashion show fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel, this year in partnership with Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-based luxury department store.


In a nice coincidence, displayed in the Fairmont lobby on the day of the Ballet benefit was one of the outrageous costumes from San Francisco’s Beach Blanket Babylon, the world’s longest-running musical revue.

Perched atop Nob Hill, the luxurious Fairmont Hotel was the perfect venue for the San Francisco Ballet fundraiser.

In celebration of its 40th year, the pop culture-spoofing show Beach Blanket Babylon is displaying costumes around the city.

One of the over-the-top hats that are hallmarks of the show, this one features such iconic San Francisco sights as the Transamerica Pyramid, City Hall, and the “Painted Ladies” houses across from Alamo Square Park.

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Shanghai Social Diary: Guo Pei, China’s Empress of Haute Couture

On a Beijing runway, legendary American model Carmen Dell’Orefice strutted in an extraordinary gown by Guo Pei, China’s “Empress of Haute Couture,” which was so heavily embroidered that four men had to assist her.

BEIJING – Every day in China is an adventure for me, and one of the most fascinating was my visit to the Beijing studio of couturier Guo Pei, a singular talent yet to be introduced to many Westerners.

The gifted Beijing beauty produces some of the most sumptuous and exquisite fashions I have ever seen. Take a look at some works from her recent Beijing show: boldly colored, intricate designs and intriguing silhouettes, masterfully executed by needlework artisans.

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Shanghai Social Diary in New York: Museum of Chinese in America

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is currently presenting two fashion exhibitions highlighting Chinese designs, like this red Vera Wang wedding dress.

New York – The recently relocated Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in Chinatown here has two wonderful fashioned-themed exhibits on view until September 29. I was among the guests Board Chair Patty Tang and Executive Director Helen Koh invited to a preview.

The sleek new MOCA, located at 211-215 Centre Street, turned out to be a hidden jewel—a former machine shop transformed into museum space by Chinese-American architect Maya Lin, the acclaimed designer of Washington’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial (she was just a 21-year-old Yale senior when she won the memorial’s design competition in 1982).

Ms. Lin, Ms. Koh, and guest curator Mei Mei Rado accompanied us through a tour of the two exhibits, Shanghai Glamour: New Women 1910s-40s and Front Row: Chinese American Designers.

MOCA’s Front Row exhibit features modern garments by Chinese-American designers, such as these reinterpreted qipaos by (l. to r.) Zang Toi, Peter Som, and Vivienne Tam.

MOCA has relocated to a former factory redesigned by architect and Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin in New York’s Chinatown.

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San Francisco Social Diary: More Spring Events

A fairytale gala kicked off choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella ballet, which opened to rave reviews in San Francisco and next heads to New York’s Lincoln Center.


The San Francisco Ballet closed its 2013 season with a gala event for the U.S. premiere of British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella.

A collaboration between the San Francisco Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet, the performance was based on the classic folktale with a score by Sergei Prokofiev. It included huge puppets, sets that incorporated video, and costumes by Julian Crouch, whose credits include operas and the Broadway musical The Addams Family.

Wheeldon, who joined the prestigious New York City Ballet corps at 19, began choreographing for the company at 23. He’s won several awards for his work for them and other eminent companies. In 2007, he and dancer Lourdes Lopez co-founded the NYC and London-based ballet company Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company.

Amy Burnett, Stephanie Ejabat, dinner chair Shelby Gans, Suzy Kellems Dominik, Kelli Burrill, Sandy Katzman, Karen Sonneborn, and Elizabeth Fullerton.

Gala co-chair Stephanie Ejabat, designer Riccardo Benavides, and co-chair Suzy Kellems Dominik.

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