LITTLE Edie Bouvier Beale is one of the fashion world's most beloved icons, thanks to documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles and his 1975 cult classic "Grey Gardens." His 100-minute documentary has inspired countless designers, including Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors to name just two. So it wasn't surprising that last weekend's dinner for Maysles, 81, was a love fest, hosted by Barneys New York and Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier as part of Los Angeles Art Weekend.
On the roof at Barney Greengrass, photographer Lisa Eisner -- capturing the flamboyant spirit of Little Edie in a fabulous tie-dye vintage dress, pink sequin Manolo Blahnik pumps and a pink feather boa -- traded camera secrets with Maysles, while filmmaker Liz Goldwyn nuzzled up to him as if he were her grandfather. "He really took me under his wing," she said of Maysles, who did principal photography for Goldwyn's 2005 burlesque documentary, "Pretty Things."
Dustin Hoffman said he turned to Maysles' 1968 film "Salesman" when he was preparing to play Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway in 1984. "It's about the pain a person can go through while living in a free country," Hoffman said. "And it's more relevant now than it's ever been."
Diane Keaton, Mitch Glazer, Kelly Lynch, Bret Easton Ellis, Brett Ratner and China Chow were also there; Barneys fashion director Julie Gilhart showed off her copy of the new book, "A Maysles Scrapbook," to Maier, who was in from Miami for less than 24 hours.
But Maysles, whose Rolling Stones documentary "Gimme Shelter" predated Martin Scorsese's new release "Shine a Light" by nearly 40 years, was the main draw. And when he stood up to speak at dinner, the room fell silent.
"I don't know what all the fuss is about this Jewish boy from Boston," Maysles said, chuckling. "It seems to me we still have more to do to get closer to capturing those endearing moments that are not about conflict or violence but teach us about what it is to be human.
"I remember when I was growing up in the 1930s, my father had a strap that he used. And one day my father struck me, and after he did it I saw him with his head against the wall, crying. He could have told me 1,000 times after that how much he loved me, but it didn't mean as much," he said. "All my work is about renditions of love. And sometimes the most important moment is when everything becomes quiet."