PaperCity Magazine

February 2017 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 159

28 S he swore she was retiring. "I was done," says Becca Cason Thrash of orchestrating her multi-million-dollar American and International Friends of the Louvre fund-raiser, Liaisons au Louvre — the last of which was held in Paris in 2013. "I was retired! It's so all consuming. But then …" The rest will become glimmering history in June, when Thrash debuts her most brilliant event to date. Indeed, Liaisons au Louvre is back — this time with a new Italian partner named Venetian Heritage. "I told Jean-Luc Martinez [director of the Musée du Louvre], 'If we're going to do it one more time, then there has to be a caveat,'" says Thrash. "'I'm going to raise the ticket price. I'm going to split the proceeds between the Louvre and Venetian Heritage. We're going to give guests an incredible itinerary for both cities.'" Not ones to play the spoiled child of the European museum bunch, the top brass at the Louvre agreed to go halfsies on the benefit with Venetian Heritage. After all, Thrash sits on both boards, and Venice was also in great need of fund-raising help. "The Venetian Heritage was over the moon!" Thrash says. Liaisons au Louvre IV has been more than a decade in the making, beginning in 2005 when Thrash hosted a fund-raiser at her Houston home to benefit American and International Friends of the Louvre. More than $600,000 was raised — and this was 12-years-ago money. That evening, then-director Henri Loyrette asked if she would consider organizing a similar event in Paris at the Louvre — the first fund-raising event ever to be held inside the museum. And she did, all with boundless energy, an innate ability to plan events, and a covetable roster of friends in chic places. There have been plenty of luminaries involved. Harper's Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey helped secure entertainment the first year. "I called her and said I wanted to have a rock band underneath the Louvre's iconic Pyramid. Someone from the '80s," Thrash says. "And Glenda said, 'Well, what about Duran Duran?'" Glenda made the call, and after a few conversations the band agreed to perform. "To this day," Thrash says, "my husband, John, and I spend Christmas in England, with John and Gela Taylor." Thrash has sourced auction items — most of which sell for more than six figures — from fashion's top names, too. She once called friend Christian Louboutin to ask if he would lend his luxurious, four-bedroom barge, docked on the Nile River, for a travel experience. He did. Even Xavier Guerrand-Hermès of the Hermès fashion-house family allowed his Marrakech villa to go on the auction block. For this year's Paris-Venice itinerary, Thrash has tapped two legendary jewelers: French house Van Cleef & Arpels will host cocktails and dinner at the Petit Palais the night before the big gala, and in Venice, Italy's foremost jeweler, Bulgari, will host dinner at the circa-1751 Palazzo Rezzonico. It's not for lack of elbow grease that Liaisons au Louvre has won an international reputation, drawing both a posh and pedigreed, deep- pocketed crowd. A space on the guest list is prime real estate, with attendance capped at 250 and tickets sold at $12,000 each. "These titans — these multibillionaires — come," says Thrash. "And it's infused with art collectors, quiet money, brand- new money, titled Europeans, and celebrities." Past Liaisons have attracted the Grimaldi family, from Prince Albert of Monaco to Caroline Princess of Hannover, and her daughter Charlotte Casiraghi, as well as Bianca Jagger, Dasha Zhukova, Olga Kurylenko, Diane Kruger, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Christine and Stephen Schwarzman, and Hilary and Wilbur Ross. Rumored to be attending this June's Liaisons au Louvre and La Dolce Vita are Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, and Milla Jovovich. Stars and six-figure auction items aside, Thrash's focus has always been the beneficiaries. "If people think I just do this to buy a dress and have my picture taken in Paris, please, au contraire!" she says. "It's so much work. I do everything. Find the venues. Find the sponsors. Create the invitation. Create the itinerary. Work with the vendors. Invite people from all over the world. And then I have to sell it!" There is also the dealing with centuries-old arts institutions. No easy task. Take one Liaisons au Louvre, during which Thrash insisted cocktails be held in Napoleon's apartment — and on his balcony, the doors of which hadn't been LESSONS in LIAISONS BECCA CASON THRASH DEBUTS HER MOST GLITTERING FUND- RAISER TO DATE — FROM A GALA AT THE LOUVRE TO DINNERS AND A MASKED BALL IN VENICE'S MOST STORIED PALAZZOS. B Y C H R I S T I N A G E Y E R Ca' Vendramin ai Carmini, late 16th century, Venice. Photograph from the book Inside Venice: A Private View of the City's Most Beautiful Interiors, by Toto Bergamo Rossi, Rizzoli. PHOTOGRAPH JEAN-FRANCOIS JAUSSAUD

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - February 2017 - Houston