“This dress weighs forty pounds, I’m just going to stand here like the statues,” quipped Becca Cason Thrash of her Jean Paul Gaultier couture gown as she welcomed early arrivals to Liaisons au Louvre III last night. Among them was Milla Jovovich, who reckoned that her own Saint Laurent number checked in at “at least thirty pounds.”
The guest list for the American and International Friends of the Louvre benefit was nothing if not eclectic—a mash-up of European, red-carpet, and rock-star nobility, plus society figures from all over, particularly Houston, where Thrash hails from. Gela Nash-Taylor piled the diamonds high: “Only some of them are real,” she joked, striking a pose with husband John in the Caryatids statue gallery. After dinner, the likes of Charlotte Casiraghi, Bianca Brandolini d’Adda, Bruno Frisoni, Hervé Van der Straeten, Andrew Gn, Olga Kurylenko, and Nick Rhodes gathered underneath I. M. Pei’s glass pyramid for the evening’s live auction.
Thrash drove bidding to new heights, spurred by travel experiences such as a stay at South Wraxall Manor, the Taylors’ fifteenth-century estate near Bath, England (with touring rights to Gela’s closets and a Juicy Couture tracksuit thrown in for good measure), or a five-day cruise down the Nile on Christian Louboutin’s custom-built dahabeah. Thrash, with Louboutin’s blessing, sold that trip three times over. The auction’s centerpiece—20 Jahre Einsamkeit, by Anselm Kiefer—pulled in a cool half million. In all, the soiree raised nearly $3 million for restorations of the ancient Greek sculpture galleries in the Louvre, home to the Venus de Milo.
But the biggest coup of the evening was not about the cash—it was about an icon. With the opening chords of “I’m Coming Out,” the whole room was on its feet for Diana Ross, who reeled through some of her biggest hits. “Are you too young to remember this one?” she teased before launching into “Stop in the Name of Love.” “When I saw this project, I just had to do it, so I pulled out my vintage Bob Mackie,” the singer said after the show. “I just loved this energy here tonight.”