At last night’s Persol Magnificent Obsessions event at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, familiar fashion-y faces including actress Zoe Saldana, Jaime King, Abbie Cornish, and an Opening Ceremony-clad Dianna Agron checked out the exhibition, which honored costume designer Arianne Phillips and director Todd Haynes.
Phillips, who recently returned from Madonna’s MDNA world tour kick-off—which she worked on for three-and-a-half months—was all smiles about her accolade: “It’s really amazing. The group of people who are being honored in this exhibit are huge giants for me and totally people I looked to, who inspired me to either pursue this career or keep going. To be in the same context as them is just mind-boggling.” Phillips laughed when asked whether she had borrowed from the Material Girl’s closet for her evening’s head-turning albeit familiar-looking number: “This is similar to what Madonna wore in an ABC interview, but it’s not her dress! I couldn’t fit in it!” she said of her VNA-designed dress. As for her famous friend’s recent front-page tabloid controversy, Phillips confirmed, after asking Madonna herself, that the incident was definitely not a wardrobe malfunction: “I actually thought it was a wardrobe malfunction too, so later on I asked her what the deal was, and she said, ‘Oh no, I was just in the moment.’ I think the media are just desperate for some kind of scandal. It was definitely not pre-meditated. She’s an incredible performer, she was in the moment, she was feeling it… She was singing ‘Human Nature!’”
Fellow honoree Todd Haynes, whose Julianne Moore-starring film Far from Heaven was one of the few being showcased in the exhibition, had another award-winning leading lady on his mind last night: “I’ve yet to work with Meryl Streep. I mean, c’mon! It would be a dream. That would be a peak moment for me. There’s no one like her—she’s so nice, she’s so beautiful, she’s so gifted. It was great to see her win the Oscar this last year. That performance… insane!” As for next generation’s leading ladies, he enthusiastically admitted his admiration for Lena Dunham: “She actually had a tiny, secret cameo in Mildred Pierce, believe it or not. But what a fucking brilliant—excuse me!—amazingly brilliant woman, writer, figure for young women to look to. And what a complicated and witty and multi-layered show.”
Australian actress Abbie Cornish, who starred in the Madonna-directed W.E. (which garnered an Oscar nomination for Phillips’s designs), caused a photographer frenzy in a head-turning black number and slicked back classic bun. Clad in her friend Toni Maticevski’s dress, Cornish spilled the fashion-y beans on her self-professed “very eclectic” (and much blogged-about) style. “I love jackets and hats and jewelry and sunglasses and scarves. Day-in and day-out, I can just wear tight black jeans and a cool belt,” she noted. “I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t wear leather, suede fur, things like that… But I kind of like to mix designer pieces with simple things, like tight black jeans and a vintage belt, and then I’m happy.” As for dream roles, Cornish gushed about Hilary Swank’s killer performance in Million Dollar Baby, another film featured in the exhibition: “Oh my God, are you kidding me? Of course! And I’ve trained as a boxer.”
Inside the museum, blaring tunes by the DJs of the evening, Twin Shadows and Terry Richardson, helped turn the fete into a full-on party. In a form-fitting blue Peter Pilotto dress and her Persol glasses sitting stylishly on the top of her slicked-back hair, actress Jaime King squealed about her DJ song requests: “Oh my God, Terry! I’ve been friends with him since I was 15. I’d love to hear him play Twin Shadows. I love Lana Del Rey. I’m kinda game for anything—a little Jay-Z in there would be good.” But for some post-event karaoke, King’s all about a little Guns N’ Roses, Blondie, and Reba McEntire. “And Dolly Parton! ‘Jolene!’” The fashion world darling and self-professed fan of “color, color, color!” was quick to dish on her favorite color-friendly designers: “I would say Jason Wu is the most exciting new American designer—I’m in love with him, he’s a dear friend and I think what he’s doing is really exciting. I also love Prabal [Gurung]. His designs are insane and he’s such a great guy,” she said, smiling. As for closets she’d like to raid? “Probably the closet at ELLE! Or Diane Kruger—I feel like we have a very similar style.”
Needless to say, the exhibition was a classy affair, displaying rarely-seen artifacts and video projections from influential films ranging from Pollock to Amelie. And the fashionably late Zoe Saldana, clad in gorgeous Louis Vuitton and clutching her Persols, casually weaved through the jam-packed space with pals.