In the regal Fifth Avenue duplex of Susan and John Gutfreund, friends of the Museum of Arts and Design gathered in anticipation of the Museum’s September 28th LOOT 2015: MAD About Jewelry benefit, honoring Barbara Tober and watch maker Vacheron Constantin. It was hosted by MAD LOOT’s Honorary Chairs Iris Apfel, Corice Arman, Susan Gutfreund, Patricia Pastor, Deborah Roberts, Malini Shah, Liz Smith, and Isabel Toledo, as well as LOOT’s Chair Michele Cohen and Curator Bryna Pomp.
After more than 30 years of strong support, Barbara Tober is arguably the face of the Museum of Arts and Design. And if there were a disproportionate number of women wearing statement jewelry in the room, it was in homage to her iconic style. The September 28th benefit will begin with a preview of the LOOT one-of-a-kind jewelry by 55 artists from 29 different countries. “They are made from materials you would never expect,” said Cohen. “There will be a lot of surprises.” Touching the tactile coral twists punctuated with gold dipped whimsy around her neck, Tober told the room, “This is Versace Vintage but I can’t wait to get into the contemporary stuff.”
If past is the prelude to present, that night Tober will certainly be adding to her own voluminous jewelry collection. Much of it will eventually find its way to the museum. Some of it is glass. But it all shares a well-honed sensibility. “I love things that don’t look like other things,” she told Hamptons.com. “On the other hand I like a lot of serviceable work, which I buy from a woman in Santa Fe. They’re beads! Beads in lots of different colors! And they look nice with what I wear.”
Tober’s love affair with MAD began in 1981, when Julie Schafler, who owned Julie: Artisans Gallery at the time (and is now married to actor Jim Dale), sent her an invitation, in the shape of a coat. “My whole life I’ve been interested in art and creative things,” Tober told us. “I drew; I sewed; I collected. I did this and that. I wanted very, very much to see what was going on.” They went, they bought the coat at auction, and they joined. “I was Editor-in-Chief of ‘Brides’ magazine at the time, so I got my editors to constantly use my objects among the advertised objects that we had to show. We mixed it up and made the photography more interesting. We were honored by the museum in 1993 as collectors. In 1994, they asked me to be Chairman. I went to Si (Newhouse at Conde Nast) and told him I loved him, but I had to go. I was Chairman of the Museum of Arts and Design for 15 years. Now I’m International Chairman and I work very hard for this organization.”
Guests included Iris Apfel, Susan Gutfreund, Eileen Judell, Dr. Susan Krysiewicz, Maria McBride, Bryna Pomp, Gail Shields-Miller, Tom Bell, CeCe and Lee Black, Noreen Buckfire, Sharon Bush, Kathy Chazen, Young Yang Chung, Michele Cohen, Bonnie Comley, Suzi Cordish, Harrison Morgan, Jackie Weld Drake, Fe Saracino Fendi, Michele Gerber Klein, Sima Ghadamian, Amy Gold, Lucia Hwong Gordon, John Gutfreund, Maria Eugenia Maury and William Haseltine, Laura Kruger, Pat and Andy Langer, Luisa LaViola, Lauren Lawrence, Marcia Levine, Richard H. M. and Gail Lowe Maidman, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Mike Peissis, Kay Unger Kitman, Linda Plattus, Jane Pontarelli, Faanya Rose, Roberta Sandeman, Nicole Sexton, Jean Shafiroff, Jill Spalding, and Ann Van Ness.
The benefit will begin with a preview of the LOOT one-of-a-kind artist-made jewelry from 4:30 until 8 p.m., with dinner following at the Robert Restaurant, all at the MAD Museum (2 Columbus Circle, New York City).