The Louis Vuitton bag was a predictable accoutrement hanging on the arm of Nicky Hilton Rothschild at the opening of the Winter Show Thursday night.

For decades, this Champagne-and-gravlax preview of art, antiques and jewelry at the Park Avenue Armory has been New York’s first big upper-crust charity event of the year.

The provenance of her pencil skirt was another matter, signaling the generational shifts in style for doyennes. “It was $75 from Instagram -- the brand Choosy,” which tracks trends online to decide to what to make, she said.

At that moment, Rothschild -- who’s designing a spring shoe collection with French Sole -- was standing before a stone sculpture of a cat by Beniamino Bufano at the booth of James Infante. It had a $24,000 price tag.

“I’m obsessed with cats,” she said. “I am the proud owner of two cats, and that is a very cool cat. Can you take my picture with it?”

She admired the cat’s painted eyelashes and the smooth roundness of the carving, making for a corpulent physique.

“One of my cats is quite plump,” Rothschild said.

Despite the similarity, she didn’t pounce on buying the sculpture. “I already have a Lalique cat,” she told Infante and her “date” for the evening, Linda Kaufman, a friend from Norfolk, Virginia, who for years has walked around with her at the fair, helping her acquire a porcelain lamp and some china.

Another real estate heir, Larry Milstein, didn’t arrive with a seasoned collector to guide him, but the suit he was wearing drew him into conversation with one.

It was a bespoke pinstripe by InStitchu, and the collector was Jerry Lauren, for years the head of men’s design at Ralph Lauren.

First « 1 2 » Next