But around 5:30 a change in mood occurred on the show floor as people slipped away to change into fancy clothes, and caterers began setting up huge tables of wineglasses. At 6:30 the young people began to arrive: uber-blond girls in short, tight dresses, with hapless young men in bowties trailing behind them. Everyone headed straight to the bar, and that is where most of them stayed throughout the evening. However, some ventured into the actual booths to look at the art, and I got the feeling that most of the exhibitors were enjoying the evening, despite the notorious lack of sales this event brings. At least they got to have free drinks.
My sister and I grabbed glasses of sparkling water, to fit in, and wended our way through the throng of Missoni dresses and Manolo Blahniks to alternately sample the food and look at the art. I showed E. all of my favorite things in the show, from a chinoiserie jewelry box with mother of pearl inlay to a tramp-art desk made completely of cigar boxes.
I also showed her around the Armory, which is always beautiful, but most dramatic in the evening, full of people dressed to the nines. In the Tiffany Room we looked at the items available in the silent auction, and tried to figure out who Badgley Mischka was, because we heard he/she/they were there. We mixed, we mingled, we browsed, and we schmoozed. We didn't meet any rich young bachelors, but that's okay--they all seemed to enjoy the booze a little too much for our taste. In fact, we knew it was time to go when we saw Mr. Keno himself completely sloshed--but to his credit, still captivating a group of girls.
The wife of one prominent American classical furniture dealer objected when I used the phrase "the young and the checkless" because she said if all we accomplish is to get young people into the same room with fine antiques where they can see that there is nothing stuffy or intimidating about them, then we've accomplished something. After all, the future of antiques lies within the young people who will one day be collectors, caretakers, and connoisseurs.