With the Met’s Costume Institute gala nearing, its theme—the role of fashion models as muses—has become party talk even on the West Coast. Last night, at a memorial celebration for legendary lensman William Claxton, who died a day shy of his 81st birthday last October, it was abundantly clear that no subject offered more grist for the photographer than wife Peggy Moffitt.
While working with Peggy on planning this event for the past few weeks, I discovered that Peggy’s own muse had become a life of 48 years with her husband, lived to the max.
William Claxton and Peggy Moffitt
Before hundreds of friends that ran from James Galanos and Vidal Sassoon (above, with Moffitt) to Liz Goldwyn and Sandy Schreier to Greg Gorman and Matthew Rolston, the Claxtons’ collaborations were on vibrant display last night inside the Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Following a comedic series of tales from Bernie Taupin, a self-avowed fanatic of Bill’s work, Burt Bacharach’s tender “Alfie” turned up the waterworks. Peggy art-directed every ebb and high of the evening, from pal Benedikt Taschen’s opening words to the rousing New Orleans band that capped the night and had us all dancing up a storm in the museum courtyard. No one better than Bill knew the seamless synergy between muse and artist, and how one breathes life into the other until it’s impossible to tell them apart.
tags: Cameron Silver, Greg Gorman, James Galanos, Liz Goldwyn, Matthew Rolston, Peggy Moffitt, Sandy Schreier, William Claxton