Friday, July 13, 2007

San Francisco Social Diary

The Fine Arts Museum pays tribute to Vivienne Westwood at Gala.
The Junior Committee Parties at the Mid-Winter Gala

Taking advantage of the excitement surrounding the exhibit of British designer Vivienne Westwood, 36 Years in Fashion, the Junior Committee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (which includes both the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor) held its fourth annual Mid-Winter Gala at the stunning de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. 

This year’s gala was chaired by Allison Speer and Kathryn Lasater with Honorary Chairs Vanessa Getty and Trevor Traina.

In fact, it was Traina, a fifth-generation San Franciscan and museum trustee, who conceived the idea for the gala. “I was inspired by New York’s social leader Mark Gilbertson,” he said. “Mark founded the Winter Ball at the Museum of the City of New York 21 years ago.”   

Like its New York counterpart, the Gala attracts the young and well-connected, and has turned out to be one of the  chicest parties in the city.

A highly glamorous affair, the Gala attracted over 400 Bay Area movers and shakers from the business, political, and art worlds.  This sophisticated, under-forty bunch was decked out in the hottest and most fab designer and vintage gowns – Oscar, vintage Balmain, Lanvin, Donna Karan, Balenciaga, Vera Wang, and Christian Lacroix couture.
Roger Barnett and Allison Speer
Bo Lasater and co-chair Kathryn Lasater in Marchesa
Everyone’s always asking, who are young players in town now? Well, I’ll gladly name a few. But if you want even more detailed scuttlebutt, check out the article published in the January issue of W magazine, entitled “San Francisco: The Last Bastion of High Society” that features photographs of the young, new social set. Some say the tone was brutal and that the writer, Kevin West, “won’t be invited back in this town again,” while others found it amusing. I say it’s the hullabaloo that sells.

The honorary gala chairs Vanessa and Trevor were on W’s short list. Vanessa is married to businessman Billy Getty, son of society leaders and philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty and the daughter of Maryann Jarman Opperman and former child actor Claude Jarman Jr.

Terribly British - Union Jacks galore cannot upstage Richter artwork
For the gala, blonde and beautiful Vanessa wore a pewter Lanvin gown, accented by a jewel encrusted serpentine cuff from Boucheron. “Ravishing” does not begin to describe Vanessa.  She seems to have found her evening style in the ethereal Grecian goddess look – often a flowing, one-shouldered number. She looked regal, understated, and elegant.

Vanessa has awakened the fashion consciousness in the city and is credited for returning glamour to the urban scene – a breath of fresh air amidst the perpetually jean-clad youth (remember, Levi Strauss was founded here).

Supporting the fashion world, she’s hosted dinner for designers such as Stefano Pilati, creative directorfor Yves Saint Laurent, and is the face of the omnipresent Judith Lieber ad campaign, which supports her commitment to animal welfare.

W also mentioned technology businessman Trevor Dow Traina, son of the “divorced but friendly” Dede Wilsey and John Traina. Trevor’s great-great grandfather was Herbert Dow, founder of Dow Chemical, and his grandfather was the late Wiley Buchanan, Jr. who served as the US Chief of Protocol under President Dwight Eisenhower and was himself a descendant of President James Buchanan. Trevor’s grandmother is the beloved Ruth Buchanan Wheeler, who resides in Washington DC and summers in Newport, Rhode Island.

Energetic Trevor has taken on the role of unofficial ambassador by showcasing San Francisco. He’s invited international cultural groups like Venetian Heritage to come and sample the best of the city and surrounding wine country.  

It was in Napa Valley last August that hemarried frozen-food heiress Alexis Swanson, daughter of Elizabeth and W. Clarke Swanson, Jr. In 1985, Clarke built Swanson Vineyards in Oakville, a small town in the heart of Napa Valley. Alexis herself worked in the family business as the vineyard’s Marketing Director, and expanded its product line to include Alexis Estate Bonbons and American caviar. She even has a cabernet sauvignon named after her.

But now she’s more concerned about her new role as mother. In May, she gave birth to a baby boy, John Swanson Traina. I thought her photograph in W was divine – the most beautiful profile.             

Other high power players in town mentioned were recent New York transplants, Sloan and Roger Barnett.  The couple moved to SF when Roger became CEO of Shaklee, the 50-year old natural nutrition company that also produces non-toxic household cleaners.

Sloan, a stunning brunette, is a former assistant district attorney. You might have recently read in the New York Times about her interest in green issues like using eco-friendly products in the home. She is the daughter of Palm Beach residents, the civic-minded Frayda and George Lindemann.
Todd and Katie Traina in Balenciaga
Juliet de Baubigny and Andre de Baubigny
It didn’t take long for the Barnetts to get into the swing of the SF charitable scene. They’ve supported the SF Ballet Opening Nights, and Sloan recently chaired a benefit for the California Pacific Medical Center.

But back to the ball. Creative types came out in droves to show their support, including Fine Arts Museums’ Director John Buchanan and his wife Lucy; Geoff and Hilary Newsom Callan; David and Kate Chung; Jaime DuPont; Simon Thieriot; Victoire Reynal; and Peter Bacanovic, who spearheaded Vanessa Getty’s Judith Lieber campaign.

Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins  was also spotted in the crowd, along with Nicola Miner and her husband, author RobertMailer Anderson; Leslie Thieriot; Shelby Bonnie; Juliet and Andre de Baubigny, Jr.; JR Moehringer, author of The Tender Bar; Kendall and Gardner Robinson; and in from LA, Kimberly and Nic Bini. Last year, I even bumped into New York author Bettina Zilkha.

Also spotted in the crowd were the three Traina sisters, Vanessa, Samantha, and Victoria, all daughters of John Traina and author Danielle Steel. Alexis Swanson Traina’s sister Claiborne Swanson was also there, as well as Trevor Traina’s brother Todd Traina and his wife Katie, who live in Los Angeles.

After-party goers get cozy at Fizz Club
As the guests arrived at the museum, they were greeted with cocktails courtesy of Grey Goose Vodka, served amidst Union Jack flags honoring Westwood’s British heritage. Swanson Vineyards, Vintrust, Corzo Tequila, and Perrier Jouët Champagne were other sponsors of the evening. The party was the ultimate!

This very chic set is the epitome of what used to be called, “The Beautiful People”: tall, healthy and gorgeous. Sadly, at least for singles, most of them are married.

The revelers were still talking about last year’s gala when ubiquitous New York celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan popped onto the scene, snapping away with his illustrious 35mm. Patrick was in town for a book party promoting his latest collection, Kisses

Last year, the more vivacious guests headed downtown after the gala to Otis, an exclusive private club located on Maiden Lane, a tiny alley once part of the red light district.  As this glam group is not at all shy about posing for pictures, I’ve included some of Patrick’s photos from that night just for fun.  Enjoy!
Vanessa Getty
Claiborne Swanson
Kimberly Bini and Vanesa Getty
Asim and Isha Abdullah
Vanessa Traina, Victoria Traina, and Samantha Traina
Roger and Sloan Barnett with Trevor Traina
Todd Traina with Lucy and John Buchanan
David and Kate Chung
Cameron Phleger
Victoria Traina
Kimberly Bini in Dior and Nicolo Bini
Reed Woodson and Tarajia Morrell
Geoff Callan, Hillary Callan, Regina Callan, and Brandt Hooker
Sara Whitefordf, Bo Lasater, and Mary Barber
Brian and Jenna Hunt
Dressed the part: Alex Fay, Danielle Perez, and Jackie and Elena Herrera
John Golob and Helene de Baubigny
Kate Harbin
Jaime du Pont
Samantha Traina and Dana Collins
Amber Marie Bently
Shannon Bavaro and Alyson Jackson
Lori Levine with Craig and Shell Cardon
Juliet de Baubigny and Allison Speer
Victoire Reynal and Simon Thieriot
Stanlee Gatti and Vanessa Getty
Peter Bacanovic and Bettina Zilkha
Stephan Jenkins and Lori Levine
Victoria and Samantha Traina
Kimberly Bini and Craig Cardon chat at Fizz
Maria Manetti Farrow with NY's ubiquitous photographer Patrick McMullan
Echoes of Vivienne Westwood in the lighting
Last year's after party at the the private club Fizz
Snuggly Bear Benefit at the Home of Ann and Gordon Getty for UCSF Children’s Hospital

Once again, Ann and Gordon Getty opened their opulent Willis Polk-designed house for the Snuggly Soiree charity event. The couple is renown throughout the Bay Area for hosting lavish fundraisers, and this was no exception.

Hosts Ann and Gordon Getty
500 guests entered the Getty's home
The evening was co-hosted with friends Pam and Dr. Richard Glogau, who established the benefit in appreciation for the excellent care their son received at the hospital. The Snuggly Soiree event benefits the Glogau Teddy Bear Rescue Fund at the University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Children’s Hospital.

Imagine! Over 500 children, parents and grandparents attended the party in the Getty’s home. It may seem amazing to have the ability to accommodate so many guests, but the Gettys lend their house so often to so many causes, that years ago they devised a creative solution – enclosing their open-air courtyard, creating a huge, welcoming space for entertaining.   

For the evening, the courtyard was transformed into a veritable carnival of face painting, cookie decorating, story telling, and teddy bear making. The room was festooned with balloons, and stands were set up with the best kiddie food. Cotton candy, ice cream cones, and pizza were just some of the yummy treats to be tasted.

Ticket price categories names were as whimsical as the decorations:  Winnie the Pooh, Smokey the Bear, Paddington Bear, and Yogi Bear, just to name a few.  Adding to this playful evening, celebrated team members of the SF Giants were on hand to lend their support. Bill Laskey, Mike Felder, Greg Minton and Rich Murray signed autographs, accompanied by Giants mascot, Lou Seal.

San Francisco officials Mayor Gavin Newsom and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White came out to support the causeSeveral UCSF honchos were also there: Dr. Sam Hawgood, Chief of Pediatrics; Kimberly Scurr, Director of thePediatric Heart Center; and Mark Laret, Medical Center CEO.

Other Teddy Bear lovers in attendance included the Glogau’s son Gordon, in from the Groton School in Massachusetts; Hillary Newsom with husband Geoff Callan and their two daughters; Adrianna Pope Sullivan with Bobby Sullivan, andtheir daughter Georgianna, whose godfather is Jared DuPont Goss, curator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Tuckered out tots
More names: Diane Lloyd-Butler with son John; Melissa and Patrick Barber; Beth Townsend (Ann Getty’s niece); PamDeikel with daughter Nicole Faidi and granddaughter Katarina; Austin Hills; Jo Schuman Silver; Cheryl Baxter with daughter Ashley; Lori Puccinelli Stern and Bailey Stern; Karen Lott; and a house full of little tots dressed to the hilt. 

What made the evening extraordinary was that the Gettys opened up their mansion, filled with priceless fine and decorative arts and antiques, to all. Guests got a kick out of sitting in the original, museum-quality, George II armchairs from the great English country estate owned by the Duke of Beaufort, the Badminton House. The Badminton chairs are worth countless millions, and have probably seated just as many derrières.  The rest of the suite sits in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Everyone left with goody bags filled with Bliss spa essentials, Teddy Bear embroidered fleece blankets, and totes. They also left knowing they contributed to a deserving program, raising over $150,000.

It was truly a fun family evening helping families in need!
San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal welcomes with open paws
Mayor Gavin Newsom's latest squeeze
Edible booty
Pam Glagau, Dede Wilsey, Dr. Richard Glogau, and Mark Laret
Three generations - Adrianna Pope Sullivan, with daughter Georgianna, and mother Patsy Pope
Another three generations - Nicole Faidi, mother Pam Deikel with granddaughter Katarina Faidi
Maria Manetti Farrow and niece Beatrice Ruini with her daughter Camilla
Face painting is fun!
Girls need more hands!
Joy Bianchi gets a mouthful
Even Lou gets a piece of the action
Jill and Connor Burns
Camilla gets glam with face paint
Snuggly Bear to the rescue
A fancy cat for the evening
Olivia Matthes, Lee Matthes, and Cole Matthes
Niqui and Geoff Hunt
Look out Famous Ray's!
Brandt Hooker
More supporters
An event fit for a princess
Jeanne Lawrence tests the priceless  Badminton Chair
A snuggly blanket
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Ken Rainin

On a sad note, entrepreneur and philanthropist Kenneth Rainin passed away in May and his memorial service was held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.  Many New Yorkers knew him as he was involved in myriad charitable organizations across the country. A supporter of the San Francisco Ballet, Rainin also gave millions to medical research at UCSF and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. He was a pilot and yachtsman who loved entertaining and sailing the world. He will be missed.
The late philanthropist and pilot Ken Rainin

Photographs by Drew  Altizer  & Jeanne Lawrence
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