Spring is almost here and that means is almost time for my biggest event of the year. Art Alive! I project manage this multi day beast for the San Diego Museum of Art and it’s quite the spectacle of floral wonderment and over the top jubilant celebration. While I work on this even year round, plans really kick off in January as does my search for the perfect outfits for the 2 major events.

The floral exhibition and community events around this weekend are wonderful, but nothing occupies my time and thought like the 2 main opening events. The first event that happens is on the Premiere Dinner on the Thursday night before the exhibition opens to the public. It’s the only black tie event we do all year, but this is no ordinary gala. It’s the only time all year we can dine among the art inside a gallery space. I design a dreamland and we install over the top decor and create a magical space for our top donors. Of course the affluent attendees…especially the ladies…spare no expense on their haute couture for this event. I can’t say I’m not jealous of their Zac Posen and Elie Saab gowns with diamonds worthy of the Oscars, but I do my best to keep up.

This year the theme is surrealism. We will dine among masterpieces by Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Diego Rivera and many more. Quite the intellectual and fantastical theme…especially when trying to dress the part. I took to the art history book and then google for more info on this movement and fashion inspiration. I stumbled upon the Rothschild family surrealist ball; a celebrity clad dinner party thrown by socialite Marie-Hélène de Rothschild in 1972 at Ferrières. You can learn more about this event here.  The dress code was described as black tie & long dresses with surrealist heads. Below are a couple photos of how guests interpreted this request.




Its certainly a wild look and starts my creative juices flowing. for the dress itself, i want something simple with some visual interest or something unique in the way its draped or cut. Its one of the only times in the year i get to wear a gown so I want to take advantage of it, but i’m also working so it cant be too fussy or ornate. I scoured my favorites for gowns like Alice & Olivia and BCBG, but ended up settling on my old standby Alexander Wang for this amazing asymmetrical draped gown with cut out back. Almost $1,000 online…I scored big time and found my size on eBay for $125!!!



With enough interest in the uneven neckline draping on the front and the half cape/half cutout back, it is still simple enough to let me safely play with my take on a “surrealist head.” This headpiece will be an important part of the outfit. In my wildest dreams I would acquire an amazing Phillip Treacy headpiece like the one below and rock it all over the Museum, but my budget doesn’t afford the $1200+++ price tags.


I turn to etsy so independent artisans can help me solve this problem. I particularly love these industrial felt pieces by pookaqueen. They are unique and beautiful sculptural, forms but they are not so overwhelming that I won’t be able to hold my head up.

I will leave my final look a surprise! Check out all the details on Art Alive here. It’s bloomtastic!

– SG

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