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PARIS — “C’mon in, have a glass of Champagne, go shopping,” was how Becca Cason Thrash greeted guests Tuesday night as they arrived at the Louvre for her second fundraising gala in support of the sprawling museum.
A constellation of diamond-studded watches were on silent auction, displayed on a balcony on the Richelieu wing as the Houston philanthropist made her first efforts to drive up bids amidst a crowd of American and European millionaires. “It looks like the museum,” Thrash enthused of her Alexander McQueen gown, spinning around to show a photo print resembling The Winged Victory of Samothrace, angel wings perfectly aligned with her shoulder blades.
Prince Albert of Monaco, without his fiancée Charlene Wittstock, was among VIPs who ogled Napoléon III’s private apartments before dining at tables dressed in hot pink under the pale stone splendor of the Cour Marly.
“It’s kind of crazy. I’m taking it for the summer,” Juicy Couture founder Gela Nash-Taylor joked as she and rocker hubby John Taylor, the bass guitarist in Duran Duran, craned their necks to take in the giant chandelier and gilded ceilings of one grand salon.
Diane Kruger felt right at home at the former palace, as she is currently filming “Farewell, My Queen,” in which she portrays Marie Antoinette on the last days of the French Revolution. “I’m at Versailles every day,” she enthused.
Her boyfriend Joshua Jackson, meanwhile, was feeling “remorse” about having just wrapped a Stephen Frears movie opposite beauties Rebecca Hall and Catherine Zeta-Jones that has a racy-sounding title: “Lay the Favorite.” “It’s a gambling term,” he noted.
Julie Macklowe, poured into a knit Zang Toi dress and accompanied by the designer, boasted that she brought all her gala finery in her carry-on luggage, then turned to watch vintage dealer Cameron Silver demonstrate his nifty Russian ring with a secret compartment for poison. “Most people in L.A. have drug dealers; I have a jewelry dealer,” he laughed.
Delfina Delletrez showed off her latest creation: A golden, bejeweled skeleton hand draped over her own. “It’s really comfortable. You can play piano in it,” she insisted, twiddling her fingers and noting that pop star Rihanna purchased its pair.
Janet Jackson capped off the evening with a blistering performance of Eighties hits including “Nasty” and “Control” under I.M. Pei’s famous pyramid. Fanny Ardant kicked off her shoes and gave a thumbs-up to the performance.
But not before Thrash coaxed another million or so from the crowd, encouraging a bidder unknown to her from Louis Vuitton’s table to top up his bid for a Richard Prince joke painting by a “measly” 25,000 extra euros to reach an even 700,000. “Thank you,” she cooed.