From the Director


Susan Edwards


In the summer of 2013, we launched our annual Art Deco Affair in conjunction with Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles. Proceeds from the party are used to care for our beautiful 1934 building. The event was modeled, with some liberties, on the renowned Black and White Ball hosted by Truman Capote at the Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966. Capote’s inspirations were an anniversary party given by author Dominick Dunne in 1964, the Ascot scene from My Fair Lady, costumed by Cecil Beaton, and the masquerade balls of his childhood. The invitation specified that gentlemen should wear black tie and black masks, and ladies were to wear black or white dresses and white masks. Capote wanted the look of his party to be cohesive in the way that a painting is. The guest list was designed to bring people together who did not customarily interact. The masks would free guests to dance and mingle as they pleased. At midnight the disguises were to be removed. The evening was unforgettable, and the Black and White Ball has long been considered the pinnacle of New York’s social history.

Capote danced with only three women at the ball. One was Princess Lee Radziwill, who attended the event with Prince Stanislas Radziwill, her husband at the time. She wore a silver paillette gown by Italian designer Mila Schön. It shimmered in the ambient light as she moved. That gown and its matching coat are featured in Italian Style: Fashion since 1945, on view in the Ingram Gallery through September 7.

This year our party will take the original inspiration to another level by repeating the black and white theme. We hope you will join us on Saturday, August 8. It’s not too soon to begin thinking about what you will wear. An Art Deco Affair is open to everyone. Come, bring your friends, and make new friends at the Frist. Show your support for one of Nashville’s most stunning landmark buildings. We promise you a memorable evening.

Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D.
Executive Director and CEO

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