Designer Nicole Miller, Fashion Icon, Celebrated at RISD

Event co-chairs Mindy Wachtenheim & Elizabeth Granoff

with Nicole Miller (middle)

Newport Seen couldn’t possibly pass up the chance to meet iconic fashion designer (and Rhode Island School of Design graduate) Nicole Miller at the RISD Museum’s “An Evening with Nicole Miller: a Fashionable Gala,” which benefitted the museum. So we ventured off the island (*gasp*) and made our way over some bridges, upstate to the little capital city that Ms. Miller later in the night referred to as “transformed” in its time since her university years, and “a beautiful, beautiful place.”

Stepping into such a stylish, modern affair, we felt inclined to agree. The Providence set welcomed us graciously to the Chace Center Lobby, asking why we didn’t spend more time in their neck of the woods; we replied that Newport has more than enough happenings to keep us journalistically overwhelmed (especially as the season descends upon us), but will admit that after our time in Providencia, we are certainly tempted!

Nicole Miller looked fabulous, and much too young to possess the title of

Mindy Wachtenheim, Nicole Miller, Elizabeth Granoff

designer who “brought back the cocktail dress” in the 80’s; also looking lovely were Event Co-Chairs Elizabeth Granoff and Mindy Wachtenheim. Ewa Metcalf, Museum Chair, gave us a warm greeting and posed for a quick photo with daughter Krystyna. Also in attendance were RISD Board of Trustees Chair Merrill Sherman, Museum Interim Director Ann Woolsey (who later spoke), Frank and Liz Mauran, Zech Chafee (brother to Governor Lincoln Chafee) and wife Lee, Dr. Joseph Chazen, and Victoria Veh.

We were thrilled to catch up with some of the up-and-coming younger set of the Providence fashion world: notably Jonathan Joseph Peters, who made it to the top six before Heidi Klum kissed him “Auf Wiedersehen” during the seventh season of Bravo’s hit reality series Project Runway. We also met Rosanna Ortiz Sinel, the vivacious President and Founder of Style Week Providence, which will return in August 2011 to showcase talented designers and new styles with runway shows and other events.


Emily Salander, Ewa Metcalf & daughter Krystyna

Guests were invited to try Nicole Miller’s signature margarita and various hors d’oeuvres, while clips from Nicole Miller runway shows and old Hollywood glamour flicks were projected on the expansive white walls. After the party moved upstairs to the second floor, many attendees took the opportunity to visit the wonderful Cocktail Culture exhibit currently on display at the museum and which Newport Seen recently covered. Dinner buffet stations were located on the Moore Terrace, featuring a risotto station – apparently they’re all the rage at catered events this season!

A major event highlight arrived at 8:30, when everyone congregated in the Michael P. Metcalf Auditorium to watch a brief performance by the exemplary Festival Ballet Providence dance company, who were also garbed in Ms. Miller’s designs. The guest of honor watched the dance seated next to fellow classmate and artist Toots Zynksy. Next came introductions thanking guests, sponsors, and sharing some background and goals for the museum. After remarks describing her as a “sculptor, creating three-dimensionally,” Nicole Miller took the stage, expressing her gratitude with gentle poise and reserved friendliness, and receiving a large bouquet of flowers.


Brian & Heather Bell

The Cocktail Culture will be on display through July 31st, and we encourage our local readership to view it before it closes! To learn more, visit:   


Stephen Metcalf

Ann Woolsey & Caroline Goddard

Stunning colors on Cheryl Nathanson & Heejun Arms

Runway projection

Ballet fashion

Janet & Warren Jagger, Susie Reeves


Lynn Hunter, Carol Prunk & Carol Howland


Nicole Miller's signature margarita!


Raquel Storti shows off a kimono by designer

(& RISD grad) Arlene Wilson


Phyllis Fragola & Vivien Jones


Ronnie Golden-Engle & mother Gloria Golden


Andrew Kook & Seongah Park enjoy the Cocktail Culture exhibit


Lee Chafee & Liz Maran


Frank & Liz Mauran, Zechariah & Lee Chafee


Louise Aranow, Mindy Matouk, Polly Danyla & Rene Ludwig


Fashion designer Jonathan Joseph Peters


Victoria Veh & Dr. Joseph Chazan


Stylish bar


Janet Alling, Carole Berube, Terri Romanovitch, Saundra Verri


Mindy Wachtenheim & Jacqueline Cooper


Risotto station


Kimball Meyer & Meghan Hughes


Wendy Marcus


Merrill Sherman, Alison Eichler, Mindy Wachtenheim


Waiting for the dance to start: Jacqueline Cooper, artist

(& RISD grad) Toots Zynsky, Nicole Miller


Rosanna Ortiz Sinel & Jonathan Joseph Peters

ham it up for the camera


Ann Woolsey welcomes guests



Festival Ballet performs


Festival Ballet performs


Festival Ballet performs


Festival Ballet performs


Festival Ballet performs


Festival Ballet performs


Lining up to take a bow


Nicole Miller thanks everyone


The live auction begins


Auctioning off a stay at Newport's own Forty 1 North

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