While San Francisco public school students have been instructed to wear masks between bites at lunch, Ivy Love Getty, heiress to the Getty Oil fortune, celebrated her nuptials last weekend in a flurry of sparsely masked gatherings with the San Francisco political machine, fading celebrities, and some stray European royalty. The ceremony, officiated by House speaker Nancy Pelosi, was held at City Hall. Vogue writes that “San Francisco’s City Hall is designed to inspire awe—a symbol of the city’s power and resilience . . . with its white marble detailing and soaring dome that looms more than 300 feet overhead,” but adds that the ceremony felt intimate and personal.
Do tell. City Hall is located in the Tenderloin neighborhood, ground zero of the city’s drug and homelessness crises. Ordinarily, the awe-inspiring symbol of rebirth is surrounded by syringes, excrement, and half-alive bodies. November 6, however, was no ordinary day. Police diverted traffic while red carpets covered the stairs. Vogue attests that the party proceeded as planned. No amount of human misery can ruin the matrimony of the local petroleum princess, certainly not the kind of misery that the political machine allows to persist right under its nose.
I’ve been waiting for two months to receive a new shower door for the bathroom I’ve been renovating, but the Gettys don’t have supply-chain problems. Ivy wore at least a half-dozen gowns during the various gatherings—Alexander McQueen, Emanuel Ungaro, John Galliano—and two pairs of Louboutins on her wedding day: one for the ceremony and another for the reception. The reception was held at the Getty mansion, which was adorned with, Vogue informs, “a museum-quality collection of European antiques, Venetian paintings, French textiles, and Russian chandeliers, . . . gold-framed Impressionist paintings,” and a rose garden. Honored by such guests as Gavin Newsom (his last public appearance before a mysterious sabbatical), Kamala Harris, Justin Bieber, and the princess of Greece, a girl has to do her best.
The festivities began Thursday at the Palace of Fine Arts, with a Barbarella-themed costume ball. Attendees rocked out to Earth, Wind and Fire and wore Mod dresses. In their shiny garb, the wedding party posed for a picture against the San Francisco skyline. Yet most of the downtown office space that formed the backdrop is empty—and deteriorating. Shortly after opening, the Salesforce Transit Center developed cracks in its steel beams, while the recently constructed luxury Millennial Tower keeps sinking and tilting despite retrofitting attempts.
At the Friday morning picnic, Getty borrowed from Marie Antoinette’s penchant to dress up as a peasant. The bride entertained her friends at a rustic outdoor event wearing a Death Rock–inspired couture gown: counterculture fashion made expensive.
Finally, over the weekend, the city’s elite celebrated the Getty nuptials. The lavish ceremony was held not at a church but at City Hall, the ritual performed by Nancy Pelosi. Donning a skin-color pantsuit with a golden wing-like coat, Madam Speaker projected the appearance of pagan priestly androgyny. Vogue reports that guests were asked to show her due respect by pulling cloths over their faces before she entered the room. Aside from that moment, cameras captured no masks at any other gatherings.
It’s typical behavior for the California machine, which knows what it can get away with. Last November, Gavin Newsom was photographed attending a mask-less gathering of lobbyists at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant, in violation of his own health orders. A recall election followed, but political sentiment was unchanged, as flat as a junkie on the sidewalk. At the end of the multiweek process, 61.9 percent of the state’s voters came out against the recall—the exact share that voted for Newsom in 2018. During the recall campaign, San Francisco mayor London Breed was caught dancing mask-less at a local bar; outsiders were furious, but locals didn’t raise an eyebrow. While the connected do as they wish, ordinary people attack one another for not layering enough masks on a child’s face.
The Getty festivities received rave reviews. “It was exciting to see the collision of rather grand San Francisco society and all the couple’s contemporaries—beautiful, free spirited rebels being their authentic selves in that amazingly operatic setting,” a guest tells Vogue. “They were all astoundingly charming and engaged and engaging. It gave one hope for the future!” You can imagine how it must.
Photos by Archive Photos/Getty Images (left)/JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images (right)