I'm happy to report that the Freestyle benefit for the Aspen Art Museum is alive and well!
The year's ultimate après-ski event was a spectacular tribute to fashion, charity, art, music, and ultimately, to the great style Aspen is known for during the holidays.
Loro Piana, being the title sponsor, joined New York-based auction house Philips and 2013 auction online partner Gavel & Grand, JP Morgan and Modern Luxury's Aspen Magazine as co-sponsors of the museum's annual winter celebration. Loro Piana has manufactured the finest in cashmere and wool fabrics for six generations, becoming the world's largest cashmere manufacturer, as well as acquiring the rights to cultivate the sustainable shearing of vicuna throughout the Argentine and Andean territories.
“The Aspen store opened in 1999 and was only the second store in the United States at the time,” shared Loro Piana president and CEO Pier Luigi. “We continue to improve on the excellence of the product, with the luxurious hair of the baby goat. … That is the future.”
In a shared sensibility toward environmentally sustainable business practices, Loro Piana and Aspen present a perfect partnership with common goals.
When I asked Mr. Guerci if he was pleased with the event, he answered that he was, and that “it was a nice thing to do, considering the harmony we share for the world around us."
The St. Regis ballroom was resplendent with everything Loro Piana. Mannequins displayed the casual sophisticated elegance for which the Italian company is famous. Earth tones of richly woven cashmeres from the finest fibers reflected the apex of mountain luxury. From unstructured shearling coats to baby soft quilted parkas, sweaters, scarves and blankets, children's togs to doggy coats, it created a scene of tranquility and synchronicity with nature — everything Aspen.
As usual, the biggest après-ski party of the season started with a silent auction, as guests enjoyed champagne, caviar and checking out what each other was wearing. Local vendors such as Stefan Kaelin and Mark Richards contributed pretty fur-trimmed ski jackets for patrons to bid on. Interestingly, Azzedine Alaia seemed to be the designer of choice for the best-dressed women I spotted. Maybe this always-innovative fashion house should consider opening a shop here.
The “live” auction followed with offerings ranging from a five-course Tuscan Wine Dinner for twenty-five to a trip to the Tony Awards in New York City, honoring the best of Broadway. I wondered about the tour of an upcoming art installation at Alcatraz, being deemed priceless for bidding purposes. I don't think Al Capone would have agreed.
The evening was capped off with a fabulous performance by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, son of Loudon Wainwright III, another great musician. He sat at the piano in the middle of the crowd and entertained us with a beautiful set of music featuring his haunting, melodious voice. His hits include “Dinner at Eight,” “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk,” “Barcelona” and a memorable version of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah.”
The evening was another great success for the museum, Loro Piana and for all the partygoers who enjoyed one of the signature parties of the season. Happy New Year and may 2014 be a wonderful year for us all. I already like the ring of it!
Find all of Giovanna's articles and her travel adventures in Australia on her blog, fashionistainaspen.com