Review: Elizabeth Winder at Phoenix Art Museum

Last week, I was approached by Scottsdale Living Editor in Chief Michael Gossie to attend a 1950s fashion-themed party at the Phoenix Art Museum. That was all I heard, and I didn’t need more convincing. I committed to going to this event and there was nothing else I needed or wanted to know.

Sara Healy, left, and friend, Chastity. Photo by Emily Piraino/

Sara Healy, left, and friend, Chastity. Photo by Emily Piraino/

It was a remarkable night, hosted by the Arizona Costume Institute (ACI) Nouveau, of mingling with fashion-minded people, enjoying Dior makeovers and listening to one of the most inspiring authors and her passion to tell of Sylva Plath’s month-long adventure as a guest editor in New York for Mademoiselle in 1953.

I brought my dear friend to the fourth annual fundraising event, knowing she loves fashion just as much as I do. We were greeted at the entrance of the Phoenix Art Museum with gift bags of Dior samples and the most beautiful earrings designed by Kendra Scott. The lobby of the museum was the perfect setting for the event and was full of ladies and gentlemen dressed to the nines in their ’50s-esque attire. I’ve always felt that I was born in the wrong decade based on the clothes I normally gravitate to and could easily see myself in some of the most beautiful dresses that emerged from that time. Dior makeup artists were on hand to give makeovers and recommend products. I owe Carlos many thanks for livening up my make-up regimen. The drinks we ordered were marvelous and pink! I’m not entirely sure what was in my cocktail, but I do know it was called a “Pink Chihuahua” and it tasted heavenly.

The main event of the evening was an interview with author Elizabeth Winder about her book Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953. I was in absolute awe of how beautifully Winder described Plath’s short-lived life and what an incredible experience Plath had while being a guest editor at Mademoiselle. Listening to Winder speak about the events that transpired in Plath’s life made me think of my own personal experiences of attending college, working an editorial internship at a lifestyle magazine and the desire to move to New York City and completely submerge myself in that city’s living culture. Even though Plath is way ahead of my time, I feel a connection with her. We share the same love for clothes and the same views that “all things fabulous must come from New York or Europe.” She dived head first into the cutthroat world of fashion, and I’m completely inspired to pursue a career and lifestyle like that; let’s just hope my life doesn’t take a dark turn like Plath’s did at the age of 30. As soon as the interview and questions from the audience ended, I jumped up and headed to the bookstore to purchase Winder’s book and must say I’ve had a hard time putting it down since starting to read it. While signing my book, Winder expressed her hopes to write her next book on Marilyn Monroe; I simply cannot wait.