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Friday, April 11, 2008

Last night, Phillips de Pury & Co. and Decades-owner Cameron Silver hosted a “Diamonds and Dior” cocktail party at the beyond-modern Los Feliz home of the art emporium's West Coast representative, Mimi Techentin, and her architect husband. On display, courtesy of Cameron, were four Marc Bohan-designed couture Dior gowns from the 1980s. (He said he originally acquired five from a collector in Paris, but Gwyneth Paltrow was quick to snap up the fifth.) “You don’t see craftsmanship like that any more," sniffed old-school socialite and Nancy Reagan chum Nancy Bretzfield. "Now designers have their beading done in India.”

Living up to the diamonds part, Phillips de Pury also previewed a rock collection, due to go on the block next month in partnership with French auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés. First to make the mad dash to the jewelry case for a look at the baubles, which included a $5.8 million pear diamond necklace, were actresses Natasha Wagner and Mia Kirshner, while socialites Rosetta Getty, Liseanne Frankfurt and Amanda Anka did their cooing a little later, along with art worlders Ari Wiseman (MOCA) and Erin Wright (LACMA).

The Techentins are avid collectors and have obsessively filled up their showpiece of a house in the year they've owned it. Clad in a flowery Rodarte sheath, Mimi gave a tour of their many specially commissioned works: a chandelier by Pae White, a dining table by Roy McMakin, not to mention photos and paintings by Candida Hofer and Kevin Appel. The air was thick with art speak. Yet when the insider conversation threatened to suffocate the party atmosphere, Cameron offered to break out into song. “I used to be a singer,” he said with a laugh, before reconsidering. “Never mind. It's a successful party—nothing was stolen.”

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