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January 05, 2012

The Art of Happy-Hour Attire

By Rachel Wolff | Art

Summer Cocktail Party with English Butler (1961) by Larry Salk. © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

You know what they say: It’s five o’clock somewhere… and this winter, happy hour is ongoing at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach—at least in theory. “Cocktail Culture,” an exhibition of some 150 examples of highball-friendly art, fashion, jewelry and design dating from the 1920s to the present, lends a bit of historical context to one of our favorite after-work activities. Covet vintage cocktail party attire by McQueen, Dior, Lanvin, YSL, Balenciaga, Valentino and Pierre Cardin and over-the-top jewelry, accessories, cosmetic cases and cocktail shakers by Tiffany & Co., Judith Leiber, Van Cleef & Arpels and Elsa Schiaparelli. Our favorite works on view are the drawings, paintings and photographs depicting the imbibers themselves—impossibly glam ladies snapped by legendary fashion photographer Lillian Bassman—and Larry Sulk’s Summer Cocktail Party with English Butler (1961), a watercolor, gouache and ink on paper in which a handsome white Afghan hound sneaks a sip from his Don Draper-esque owner as he stares off vacantly (drunkenly, perhaps) into the distance. Through March 11, 2012. The Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-832-5196; norton.org.