Monday, March 3, 2008

Palm Beach Social Diary

Under the Cartier tent.
Oh, my, my. A FedEx box appears with the fabled red box from Cartier inside. I gasp, oh my my my, now what could it be? A late Valentine? Or maybe early birthday present?

No, it was in fact an invitation from Cartier in Palm Beach for drinks -- to celebrate the re-opening of their store on Worth Avenue and to toast the Preservation Foundation’s dinner dance committee.

We all know Cartier has dazzling jewelry, beautiful watches, fine china, but they also have equally dazzling stationary, beautifully engraved on heavy luxurious stock, so this was a premier example of what they can do. Wow; and that was just the beginning!  
Charles Schmidt and Jean Tailer
Pauline Pitt and Jerry Seay
John and Liz Schuler
At their cocktail party they rolled out the red carpet, put up an ultra chic tent designed by Jassi Lekach, poured the champagne and hired some music. This was no ordinary tent – draped as it was with crème pleated fabric, bordered with crisp chocolate brown; carpeted and lit with crystal chandeliers plus Art Deco mirrored bars placed at the end. You could very easily live in this space with its snappy brown and white banquettes, with Parsons coffee tables in front of them.

Cartier has been in Palm Beach for almost a century and is a well loved fixture on that famous avenue paved with some of the world’s greatest jewelers. The Cartier building had just been restored, so it was a perfect fit for them to support the Preservation group, and donate ten percent of their sales from the event.
Frederic de Narp, Hilary Geary Ross, and Michele and Howard Kessler
The building and store was brought back to life and vamped up by French “Starchitect” Bruno Moinard and is the most glorious backdrop for the beautiful Cartier baubles.

Amongst the Palm Beach Preservation supporters were Cartier’s charming president Frederic de Narp, John Mashek, Wilbur Ross, Pauline Pitt and Jerry Seay, Frank Chopin, Kate Ford, Winston and Luce Churchill, Kit and Bill Pannill, Scott Snyder,Talbot and Jack Maxey, Grace Meigher, Cynthia Boardman, Victoria and Minot Amory, Annabelle and Denis Coleman, Pat Patterson, Dudley and Peggy Moore, Allie and Lee Hanley, George and Frayda Lindemann, Robert Janjigian, Liz and John Schuler, Stanley and Gaysie Gaynes, Hillie Mahoney, Bill Finneran, Anne and Jerome Fisher, Jean Tailer, Michele and Howard Kessler, Randy and Barbara Smith, Frannie Scaife and Tom McCarter, Jim Held, Ken Karakul and many more.

— Hilary Geary
Frederic de Narp and John Mashek
Cartier Bellman
Bob and Mia Matthews
Jerome and Anne Fisher
Audrey and Craig Dickmann
Scott Snyder and Grace Meigher
Carol and Thomas Kirchhoff with Bill and Kit Pannill
Wilbur and Hilary Ross with Frederic de Narp
Lee and Allie Hanley
Gay Gaines and Lee Hanley
Stanley and Gay Gaines
Kate Ford and Frank Chopin
Robert Nederlander and Pat Cook
Dennis and Annabelle Coleman
John Mashek and Cynthia Boardman
Peggy and Dudley Moore
Luce and Winston Churchill
There are Ladies Luncheons and there are Ladies Luncheons: some dull, some divine, and some surrounding a compelling cause. And so it was at Neiman Marcus in Palm Beach where they honored the chairwomen of last December’s successful “A Votre Sante!” – a clone of the popular “Fete de Swifty” in New York to benefit  FoundCare – the organization building Palm Beach County’s much needed community health center for uninsured children and adults – now numbering a staggering quarter million people.

Sheila Johnson and Pamela Fiori speak their minds
Everyone first gathered in the shoe salon (led in to temptation so to speak) to see the latest in Rene Cavaolini designs. Then it was off to the couture salon for a seated luncheon and informal modeling of young designer Norman Ambrose’s luxe creations – mannerist pieces that recall the chic of Mainbocher.

The women being feted: media mogul Sheila Johnson, Town & Country’s editor-in-chief Pamela Fiori; Cynthia Boardman and Sandra Thompson – all of whom had a hand in raising more than $300,000 for one of Palm Beach’s worthiest charities.

While dessert was being served, Ms. Fiori and Dr. Johnson took the stage – chat show style – for a candid discussion that touched on Johnson’s passions: the empowerment of women worldwide; her commitment to C.A.R.E. and the Parsons School of Design;  and her plea for support for FoundCare. “Imagine walking down the street totally naked in the middle of a freezing cold winter,” said Fiori. “Not having health insurance leaves a person equally exposed.”
Neiman Marcus Palm Beach's couture salon as a forum of issues
Among those attending: Kate Ford, Sarah Boardman Pendergast, Grace Meigher, Mila Mulroney, star attorney Krista Barth, M.A. Quinn, Tricia Burt, Melissa Parker, Ruby Rinker, Mary Fairbanks and Mia Matthews – along with a sprinkling of men – Mark Freitas, Beau Breckenridge, Trent Steele, Jack Young and Greg Mermigas.
Renee Low and M.A. Quinn
Kate Ford and Mila Mulroney
Steven Stolman and Grace Meigher
Model in Norman Ambrose ensemble
Beau Breckenridge and Stacy Magruder
Cynthia Boardman and daughter Sarah Pendergast
Melissa Parker and Krista Barth
Norman Ambrose, Beth Pine, and Todd Alrich
Norman Ambrose and Pamela Fiori
Sandra Thompson, Tricia Burt, and Mia Matthews
Mia Morrison, Jack Young, and Vicki Young
Mary Fairbanks and Mark Freitas
Sheila Johnson, Trent Steele, and Yolette Bonnet
Also down in PB: Persian beauty Kokoly Fallah known the world over as Kooki arrived in the USA from her home in London (or maybe Marrakech, or maybe the South of France) to stay with her friends Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas.  Kooki, who is an international traveler par excellence, for some reason hasn't been to Palm Beach in many a year, and couldn’t believe how spiffed up and fun Worth Avenue has become with its terrific shopping and wonderful dining. Plus the beautiful Florida winter weather and lush tropical plantings reminded her of Iran where her father was Oil Minister under the late Shah.

Sharon and Geoff with Kooki Fallah
Kooki had seen Eleanora Kennedy’s piece on the Sondes-Thomas villa in West Palm and now totally understands this little piece of paradise now that she has been wined and dined in the best Florida tradition. She was entertained by Ann Downey, Jackie Weld and Rod Drake, Tom and Tricia Quick, Talbott and Jack Maxey, Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen (Arlene’s son Lorenzo Lamas was performing at The Colony), Ashton and Margo de Peyster, Regine and Bill Diamond, etc.

As is her wont, Sharon wanted to invite hordes of friends to greet Kooki and to christen their new dining room but Kooki begged to keep it on the small side. The Sondes version of small. In the group: Lars Bolander, Jackie Weld and Rod Drake, Earle Mack, Emilia and Pepe Fanjul, Gigi and Harry Benson, Liz and Stephen Sans, Barbara Dixon, editor in chief of all those great Gardens magazines (PB, Connecticut, Hamptons, etc.), Beth DeWoody, Sir Ian Lowson, Donna and Rodney Ward, Tom and Tricia Quick, Talbott and Jack Maxey, Tom Schaffer, Eleanora and Michael Kennedy, Sara and Jim McCann, Ann Fairfax and Richard Sammons – “teensy” for the hostess, but there you are.
The dining room
The secret of Sondes’ dinner successes is her lifelong (really) chef and Jewel in the Crown, Luz Espino, whose cooking is magic and enough reason to accept any  invitation to dine with Sondes and Thomas. They started with caviar, followed by Meatloaf, Mash Potatoes, Baked Salmon With a Mire Poix Veloute Sauce on Puff Pastry, Lamb Chops in an Italian Mint Sauce, a Medley of Grilled vegetables, Roast Chicken with Tarragon and Shitake Vegetables, Tiger Prawns, Wild Rice, Salads, Hot Rolls, and for dessert Mango Ice Cream with Mixed Berries and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Seconds anyone? Tums? How about a marathon run along South Ocean?

This was Sharon’s first real party in Palm Beach where the house has been “in process” and an addition was being built to hold the hordes who come to stay. Mother Nature got her two cents in, however. There was a torrential rain just before the guests arrived, so no bar and cocktails by the swimming pool.
Luz preparing the caviar
Sharon and Jim McCann
Tom Shaffer
Jack Maxey
Rod Drake
Barbara Dixon with Stephen and Liz Sans
Beth DeWoody, Emilia Fanjul, and Geoffrey Leeds
Talbott Maxey, Tom Quick, and Lars Bolander
Sharon Sondes and Pepe Fanjul
Beth DeWoody, Jackie Weld, and Gigi Benson
Richard Sammons and Anne Fairfax
Lorenzo Lamas, the Hollywood heartthrob  was in Palm Beach to visit Mom Arlene Dahl and to break ladies' hearts singing up a storm at the Royal Room of the Colony Hotel. 

Lorenzo Lamas, Arlene Dahl, and Marc Rosen
His proud Mother and Step-dad, and Marc Rosen hosted a cocktail party in his honor in their blue and white, penthouse on Sunday evening February 24th.

Guests included: Frannie Scaife and Tom McCarter, Ambassador Ed and Susie Elson, Ambassador Enrique and Audrey Del Rosario, Ann Downey, Vic and Rena Damone, Lee Bell, Iris and Carl Apfel, Sally Ann Howes and Douglas Rae, Ellen and Ian Graham, John Loring, Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas, Fern Tailer, Isabelle Leeds, Angie Illyinsky and Stephen DeAngelis, Nancy Paul, Hope and Ed Gropper, Bruce Bent, Pat Cook and Robert Nederlander.
Nancy Paul and Douglas Rae
Susie Elson, Ambassador Edward Elson, and Ellen Graham
Vic Damone, Rena Rowan Damone, and Iris and Carl Apfel
Pat Cook and Bob Nederlander
Photographs by Lucien Capehart

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