Galas Galore! A Preview Of The San Francisco Fall Art And Antiques Show

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A bird's eye view of last year's gala
A bird’s eye view of last year’s gala

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

For a completely distinct gala experience, unlike any thus far this season, purchase tickets to the 36th annual San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show Preview Gala. The event takes place later in the season on Wednesday, October 25 at Fort Mason. Nearly 2,000 sophisticated patrons come together at the inspiring event that features live music, caviar and vodka stations, and a luxurious buffet spread. Anyone who has shared an Instagram of a bouquet of beautiful blooms, should get excited because the show’s theme this year is Flower Power.

“It is sort of a nod to the Summer of Love. We like to find something that is really powerful across all types of art and antiques and last year, our theme was Animalia, focusing on animal imagery. And this year we felt like, given the anniversary, [it seemed appropriate] but also just given the fact that flowers are such an important aspect of anything that you see that is beautiful,” Ariane Trimuschat, the show’s director told Haute Living over the phone. “Flowers can be used in so many ways in furniture, in textiles, in paintings, so it just seems like the perfect theme for this year.”

Ariane Trimuschat
Ariane Trimuschat

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

International fashion designer Andrew Gn, who is known for his elaborate floral-print evening gowns, is the honorary chair of the gala. “We invited Andrew because his use of floral imagery in his designs is something that I think makes him stand out. He’s such an incredible designer, and we’re so thrilled to have somebody who creates something that works very well with our theme. And he is a designer that we just felt really made sense for the show this year,” Trimuschat explains. Gn is also an avid art and antiques collector—“That’s a huge part of why we wanted him involved with the show as well.”

A new layout was debuted at last year’s gala and it was such a success that it will be repeated for Fall 2017. “We got such great feedback from people. To be able to walk through a booth from one way to the other or walk east to west across the aisles made it really interesting for patrons,” Trimuschat says. “Our exhibitors really loved it as well. It gave them more flexibility in how they put their booths together. It gave them a lot more creativity in how they wanted each booth to be set up, and which way they wanted it to face and how many walls they wanted to have. It allowed for more corner booths. And with a corner booth you can usually do more as an exhibitor.”

Jonathan Rachman and Claud Cecil Gurney in front of Rachman's vignette at the 2016 show
Jonathan Rachman and Claud Cecil Gurney in front of Rachman’s vignette at the 2016 show

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The preview party is the start to a long weekend of events. The show runs from Thursday, October 26 through Sunday, October 29. There is a lecture series where people like Miles Redd and Steven Stolman will share tips on interior design and entertaining. Book signings, cocktail hour talks, and exclusive lunches are also on the agenda. Many of the dealers who have participated in the past will be returning. “Trinity House Paintings from London, they’re coming. We have Jill Fenichell from New York,” Trimuschat says. “Guarisco Gallery, they’re new to the show. Butchoff Antiques out of London. Most of our dealers are returning. They did very well last year, they were really happy with the show so we didn’t have too many new booths open up this year but a lot of the usual wonderful dealers like Peter Finer and Steinitz.”

Another element that is returning? The de Gournay vignettes. Four premiere SF-based designers are invited to design rooms which will serve as the stunning grand entrance to the massive hall. Each designer works with the luxe hand-painted wallpaper brand, de Gournay, to create their own unique wallpaper. “The theme of the vignettes is the four seasons. So each designer has a season and they’ll be creating a vignette which incorporates pieces from the show floor as well as from elsewhere,” Trimuschat says.

Catherine Kwong's vignette at the 2016 show features custom de Gourney wallpaper
Catherine Kwong’s vignette at the 2016 show features custom de Gourney wallpaper

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The chosen designers are Kendall Wilkinson, Edward Lobrano, Pamela Babey, and Jay Jeffers. How do they choose who gets the honor of creating a vignette? “We like to have a balance of designers who have different aesthetics and mindsets. We look for variety in the type of design that each designer does. We like to have a mix of men and women involved. Typically we invite designers who are in our designer circle who have been a part of the show before. Prominent designers who are doing really good work out there.”

Jay Jeffers explains it like this: “We were asked by Suzanne Tucker to design a vignette for the entrance.  As a previous board member of Enterprise for Youth (the benefitting organization of the show) and former steering committee member of the show itself, it’s great to be back as more than just an eager shopper!” He’s thrilled to be making the one-of-a-kind wallpaper mural with de Gournay, which is currently top secret, and is looking forward to doing something out-of-the-ordinary.

Another overhead view of the event
Another overhead view of the event

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

“I like to include some drama so the vignette is eye catching and fabulous. This is also an opportunity to think outside of the box. Since we aren’t designing a room for a client, we don’t have to worry about utilitarian elements such as function! You can go a little crazy with size and scale and have some fun with it!!” Jeffers told Haute Living in an email. Home decor and design aficionados should not miss the preview gala as it promises to truly be one of the best events of the year.

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