|It was the weekend of the American Ballet Theatre in Palm Beach. On a Friday night, Henri Barguirdjian, the President and CEO of Graff USA, hosted a cocktail reception saluting the ABT at the Graff Worth Avenue store. Guests previewed Graff’s signature Bulls Eye earrings featuring more than 3 carats of white diamonds set in platinum. Many of the ABTs dancers were present as well as a big group of the company’s supporters including Craig Miller, Jill and David Gilmour, Julia and David Koch, Dame Celia Lipton Farris, Tom McCarter and Frannie Scaife, Grace and Chris Meigher, Linda Gary and Mike Belisle, Theresa and Roosey Khawley, Peter Lyden, Tara and John Milne, Anka Palitz.|
|The following evening, Saturday, David and Julia Koch and the Palm Beach Committee for American Ballet Theatre hosted the ABT and its dancers, and invited guests at a dinner and private performance at the Kochs’ Villa el Sarmiento. It was there that the Graff Bulls-eye earrings were auctioned off (for $66,000), with proceeds benefiting ABT. Graff Jewelers is a sponsor of the ABT’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Among the guests at the Kochs’: Blaine Trump, Emilia and Pepe Fanjul, Dame Celia Lipton Farris, the Meighers, Debbie Bancroft down from New York for a weekend with David and Julia; Craig Miller, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Jamie Niven, Anka Palitz, Bridget and Bill Koch, Felicia Taylor, Tara and John Milne, Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, Her father Sunny Marlborough, the duke of; Carlos Souza, Jolene Wilson, Roberta Leff, Lori and Stephen Garofalo, Rachel Moore, Peter Lyden and ABT’s artistic director Kevin McKenzie.
|New York designer Ralph Rucci went to Palm Beach to make an appearance at Neiman Marcus and the store closed off an entire floor to host a ladies’ lunch for him, benefiting the Historical Society of Palm Beach. And they all came running to get a glimpse of the not-so-secret chic of Ralph Rucci.
Pamela Fiori, editor-in-chief of Town & Country conducted a “conversation” with the man who has succeeded (Jimmy Galanos, Norman Norell, Mainbocher) as America’s couturier.
Guests learned all kinds of details about both the designer and the editor. For example: both had Italian grandfather’s who were butchers. “One thing- we never went hungry!” she said. There was also a discussion of today’s values of celebrity and media- “Women too young to have any developed sense of style are in borrowed clothes and borrowed jewels!” bemoaned Rucci as he specifically pointed out “certain publications that keep this madness going…” Fiori’s response drew cheers- “I can tell you now that Town & Country has never run a picture of Paris Hilton, nor would we.”
Ralph Rucci is known for his exquisite fabrics handled in unexpected, cerebral ways at prices more closely associated with automobiles and real estate, as is that price tradition (back in the 80s, a James Galanos suit was easiy $15,000 or $20,000.) Rucci’s biggest fans down there including honorary luncheon chairman Dame Celia Lipton Farris, luncheon chairman Kathy Bleznack and Sydell Miller, had the salesladies carrying armloads of clothes into the fitting rooms. Also there: Pauline Pitt, Catherine Adler, Elise Lefkowitz, Iris Apfel, Julie Cummings (Rucci fans all) along with Mia Morrison, Frannie Scaife, Joyce Sterling, Neiman-Marcus’s Beth Pine, Kit Pannill with her daughter Talbott Maxey, Rena Damone, Gillian Miniter and mom Anita Meltzer, Susan Wanamaker-Leas, Beth DeWoody, Anka Palitz, Jean Tailer, Lady Sylvia Leigh, Katherine Vecellio, Pat Johnson and Cece Farris. US Trusts’s Mark Stevens, Beau Breckenridge, Robert Janjigian, Steven Stolman (who acted as emcee) and Jack Young added a dash of the natty to the fete. The lecture luncheon was sponsored by the law firm of Gunster Yoakley, Neiman Marcus, US Trust and Town & Country. Patrick Park was the luncheon benefactor.
|Photographs by Lucien Capehart|