What to Wear to the Modern Ball [2016]?

Proenza Schouler, Rosie Assoulin, Isa Arfen


The Modern Ball is coming up on May 12, 2016, at the brand new and expanded SFMOMA. Guests will eat, drink and dance the night away in the new building before it officially opens to the public on May 14. The event is at capacity, which means thousands of ticket holders have at least two things to do: one, decide what to wear and, two, plan how to get there. Getting there is easy, I suggest taking Lyft, a modern way to get from one place to another, and a Modern Ball corporate sponsor.

What to wear is more complicated. While contemplating modern fashions, I searched my favorite of-the-moment shopping site, Moda Operandi, and found a few new designers and some looks that, to me, are very San Francisco, very artistic and very appropriate for a Modern Ball in this town:

  1. Crochet: Anything from Aussie Alice McCall, a favorite of Beyoncé, Deborah Harry and Marianne Faithful, especially her Room is on Fire red crochet dress, or Floral Printed Wildfire Dress; pair with ultra-glam shoes and accessories.
  2. Tie dye: Rosie Assoulin is one of my favorite new designers, her first collection under her namesake label debuted in 2014. Within a year she was dressing Solange Knowles and Beyoncé, and won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Swarovski Award for Womenswear. Though her label is new, her resume includes stints at Oscar de la Renta in New York, and with Alber Elbaz at Lanvin in Paris. Anything from Rosie Assoulin is right for the Modern Ball, but I especially like her tie-dye pieces.
  3. White: Isa Arfen by Serafina Sama debuted in 2011 after the designer worked for Louis Vuitton, Chloe and Lanvin. In ecru, her one sleeve knot dress is perfectly modern, in my opinion. Alice McCall’s White Lovelight Crochet Dress and Proenza Schouler’s tiered ruffle knit dress are among many modern options in white.
  4. Pants: Rosie Assoulin’s cotton poplin tie-dye pants and one shoulder top with extended ruffles, or cut-out jumpsuit; Alice McCall’s It’s What I Want jumpsuit. The right pants worn with the right top and the right accessories at a ball? Modern.
  5. Gowns: If you wear a gown make it unique, such as Greek designer Costarellos silk yarn feather gown in faded pink, Maticevski‘s silk and lurex fantasy gown, or Rosie Assoulin’s tie-dyed cotton poplin gown.

Red Carpet favorites from past SFMOMA Modern Balls:

— Related — more Red Carpet Bay Area coverage for SFMOMA’s Modern Ball: