Take Home A Nude: Naomi Watts, Mary-Kate Olsen, and More Attend the Sexiest Auction of the Year

OCTOBER 12, 2017 12:29 PM

On Wednesday in Manhattan, the New York Academy of Art honored John Alexander at the 26th annual Take Home a Nude auction. (Unofficial tagline: The sexiest auction of the year!) As one of the most hotly anticipated events on the fall social calendar, there was no shortage of beauty in the room. A mix of fashion and art world luminaries, like Mary-Kate Olsen and husband Olivier Sarkozy, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Chris Noth, Lorne Michaels, Dustin Yellin, and Nell Diamond, were on hand during the silent auction that preceded dinner, enjoying themed cocktails served up at what the signage playfully dubbed “The Nudie Bar.”

Brooke Shields and Helena Christensen were among those who took turns posing together in front of one of Alexander’s floral masterpieces for a photo op. Shields dressed accordingly in a printed Alberta Ferretti gown (which she pronounced Alberta Ferreeeetti for fun), while Christensen chose a feathered Prada party dress. The outfit was apparently on loan, as Christensen was set to attend Prada’s Lunchbox Fund event the next evening, but it was “just so beautiful,” she couldn’t wait to wear it. “When it came, I was like, ‘Can you send two?’ ” she admitted with a laugh, running her fingers through the ostrich-plume detail. “This just felt more tonight.”

As fate would have it, the feathers would complement the flora-and-fauna themed after-party, as the room was strung with living decor by Lewis Miller Design. Cascading vines hung from the ceiling, and at the center of the room, Academy alumni stood live-sketching models in a vignette of lush greenery. It was as if guests had stepped into a John Alexander painting, which was precisely the idea. In between bites of radicchio trevisano and sous vide chicken, New York Academy of Art president David Kratz dazzled dinner guests with a touching speech about the man of the hour, while Alexander and his family members looked on. “It’s a story of underdogs, friendship, and triumph,” Kratz said. “It’s a story of John Alexander and the New York Academy of Art.” Considering the occasion raised more than $1.1 million in scholarship funds, it was a delightful ending to an utterly refined evening in support of the arts.

©2019 John Alexander