As a guest of Jean and Frederic Sharf, I spent this past weekend celebrating the Arnold Scaasi exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Museum’s recent acquisition of his archive and more than 100 of his designs. Festivities commenced at the Sharfs’ home in Brookline, with a delectable dinner for nearly 70 guests in their tented garden—not that a tent was needed with the glorious Indian summer temperatures. Dress-shaped decor crafted from red roses greeted guests as they entered, as did Jean Sharf, absolutely resplendent in her bright blue silk Scaasi dress. Fred escorted curious guests to the basement, where his extensive decorative arts and design library is, as well as his wonderful collection of model cars and airplanes, and some 3,000 illustrations and design-studio drawings from the 1930s-1960s.
Guests Stuart and Audrey Peckner at the Sharf home
The white/gray of the Museum of Fine Arts’ granite exterior was peppered with color Saturday evening as guests ascended the stairs wearing marvelous examples of Scaasi’s creativity from skirts to dresses to full-blown capes. Arnold Scaasi, who began his business in NYC in the 1950s, was one of few NYC designers to concentrate on custom-made clothing rather than ready-to-wear, and boy was that ever evident in the fashion examples in the exhibition. He designed for the 20th century’s most celebrated artists and fashionable socialites, including Mitzi Gaynor, Barbra Streisand, Diahann Carroll, Mary Tyler Moore, and First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Laura Bush.
It’s an exhibition not to be missed—with mannequins interspersed in the museum’s Far East galleries as you move toward the main ‘mise en scene’. I love one of his most famous pieces—the black sequined pantsuit made for Streisand (see below), that under the lights of the Oscar stage appeared see-through!
Eric Green, Treasurer, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Board of Trustees with son Bennett
Parker, Eric, and Lisa Green
Priscilla Baumann, Lisa and Parker Green
Caroline and Priscilla Baumann
Parker Green wearing 1970s Parisian Bakelite necklace