Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Palm Beaching and a little taste of Litchfield

Crossing Worth Avenue. Photo: JH.
By Hilary Geary Ross

We got a jump start on the long Martin Luther King weekend
and headed right to Palm Beach for a late Thursday dinner at the Palm Beach Grill. We spotted Woody Johnson and Suzanne Ircha at one table and at another table, Luce and Winston Churchill, along with Martin and Audrey Gruss all dining with Karen and Joe Luter who have just bought a house on the lake in the north end of Palm Beach.

The next night brought Emila Fanjul’s sold out benefit "A Night of Expectations" at the heavenly Café Boulud.This benefit is like a cozy private party but with great shopping as there is always an irresistible silent auction. There was also a live auction conducted by the one and only Jamie Niven of Sotheby’s fame with trips, jewels, Polo shopping sprees and lots more all up for bids. It was a perfect tropical night so we sipped cocktails in the enchanting garden before stepping into dinner.

Pepe and Emilia Fanjul at "A Night of Expectations.“
The scrumptious menu started with warm fennel-celery root vichyssoise, Daniel’s duo of beef (my all time fav beef dish) and not one but two desserts -- warm upside-down chocolate soufflé and apple crème fraiche tart. All of this high livin’ for a wonderful cause, Emilia’s very favorite charity: the Everglades Preparatory Academy and Glades Academy Charter Schools. And she raised over $1.4 million!

In the group were Pepe Fanjul, newlyweds Alfy and Raysa Fanjul, Alfred and Judy Taubman, Chris and Grace Meigher, Arriana and Dixon Boardman, Tom Quick, Michele and Howard Kessler, Diana and Llwyd Ecclestone, David and Jill Gilmour, Britty Cudlip, Bruce and Maria  Bockmann, Lesly Smith, Gail and Harry Theodoracopulos, Virginia Coleman, Jamee and Peter Gregory, John Mashek, Katherine Bryan, Kate Ford, Maria Pia de Savoie and Michel de Bourbon-Parme, Carol Mack, Jimmy Gubelmann, Anna and Bill Mann, Jim Mitchell, Allan and Maggie Scherer and many more.

A lot of charities head south to PB to get support for their cause as it seems the world is down here. Last weekend Wilbur and I opened our doors for a cocktail party honoring Dr. Herb Pardes, the charismatic President and CEO of New York- Presbyterian Hospital. All of his fans showed up including Rand and Jessie Araskog, Helen and Roman Martinez, Carroll Petrie (who just bought a house in Palm Beach), Iris Cantor, Martin and Audrey Gruss, Alfred and Querube Clark and more. Also just this Saturday night there was a benefit for the Woodrow Wilson center at the Kravis center honoring Jack Nicklaus and Steve Schwarzman and a big crowd came to toast them at the award dinner.

From "A Night of Expectations" ...
Hilary and Wilbur Ross
Christopher and Binkie Orthwein
Jorge and Virginia Dominicis
Mr. William Flaherty and Mrs. Katherine Bryan
William and Anna Mann
Howard and Michele Kessler
Samantha and Christopher Storkerson
Gita and Mark Costa
Mary and Ian Snow
Cynthia Boardman, Grace Meigher, and Countess Christina de Caraman
Thomas Quick, Trisha Quick, and Leslie Quick
Frances Devilla-Sacasa, Sergio deArajuo, and Margaret Eidson
James Mitchell and Countess Christina de Caraman
Helena and Roman Martinez
Diana and Llwyd Ecclestone
Suzanne Ircha and Robert Wood Johnson
Pepe Fanjul and Carol Mack
Alfonso and Rayza Fanjul
Robin and Norberto Azqueta, Jr.
Winston and Luce Churchill
Lesly Smith and Stockard Channing
David and Jill Gilmour
More from Palm Beach: Last December 28, Co-chairs Catherine Adler and Arlene Dahl hosted a kick off meeting for the first Lighthouse International POSH Palm Beach Fashion Sale at the Adler oceanfront villa.

It was a "high tea" with other co-chairs -- Grace Meigher, Talbott Maxey, Kathy Bleznak, Nancy Paul, Diana Ecclestone and Linda Donahue. Unable to attend were co-chairs Ellen Jaffe, Tricia Quick de Visscher, and Annette Tapert Allen.
Standing: Nancy Paul, Grace Meigher, Arlene Dahl, Linda Donahue, Kathy Bleznak. Seated: Talbott Maxey, Catherine Adler and Diana Ecclestone at high tea
The famous POSH fashion sale has been a very successful fund raiser in New York City for the past 35 years and in 2008 POSH is coming south for the winter. The Inaugural dinner dance at the Colony Hotel Pavilion will benefit Lighthouse International. Lighthouse is the leading charitable organization for those among us who are visually impaired.
 
The ball will be held March 6 with the POSH Palm Beach public fashion sale to follow on March 7 and 8. The sale will consist of new and slightly used designer items donated by socialites, celebrities, retailers and designers 
 
Sacha Newley, son of actress Joan Collins and actor Anthony Newley, will exhibit his pastel portraits of all the POSH Chairladies especially painted for the silent auction.
  
For information about the sale contact Melinda Porter at the Lighthouse 561-828-1522.
Arlene Dahl, Marc Rosen, and Barbara Saltzman
Arlene Dahl with Stuart and Audrey Peckner ( NP trent owners)
Kathy Bleznak and Alfred Fiandaca
Gladys Cole and Albert Levine
Robert Nederlander and Pat Cook
Talbott Maxey with Tim and Susan Malloy
Pat Cook, Robert Nederlander, and Kit Pannill
William and Norma Tiefel
Tara A. Cortes and Kim Campbell
Carl and Iris Apfel
Alex and Robbin Gaudieri
George and Carla Mann
Michael and Margaret Picotte
Kathy Bleznak, Maura and Bill Benjamin, and Tara A. Cortes
Rena and Vic Damone
Linda Donahue and Lore Dodge
Barbara and William Harbach with Mai Harrison
Tricia and Tom Quick
Bill and Jane Told
Michele and Howard Kessler
Elizabeth and Stephen Sans with Mona de Sayve
Parker Ladd, Grace Meigher, and Arnold Scassi
And even more Palm Beach: Last Wednesday, more than 300 guests were treated to a sneak peek preview of the 2008 American Red Cross Designers’ Show House at the oceanfront luxury condominium 2700 North Ocean on Singer Island.

Guests were treated to a magnificent oceanfront setting with a lobby featuring five Red Cross Show House Boutiques selling exquisite merchandise with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Greater Palm Beach Area Chapter. Guests were then escorted to the eighth floor Tower Suite which housed the Show House to view the incredible work of the 16 nationally- and locally-recognized designers.

“The theme of this year’s Show House is Palm Beach Style, and our designers have captured it perfectly,” says Desmond Keogh, General Chairman. “Guests marveled at the fabulous display of furniture, fabrics, flowers, artwork and artfully-designed borders that reflected the natural beauty of the ocean-view residence.”

Those in attendance experienced a treat for their palates, as well. World-renowned chef, Daniel Boulud of Café Boulud, crafted a sumptuous classic hors d’oeuvres menu that included Curried Chicken with Vietnamese herbs; Scottish Smoked Salmon; Crab Cakes; Tomato Tartlets; Shrimp Samosa; and Lemon Arancini, among other delights.
Stephen Mooney
Desmond and Cristina Keogh with Keith and Penny Williams
The 2008 Designers’ Show House brings together an exclusive showcase of home collections and luxury brands featured in rooms designed by acclaimed interior designers from across the U.S. and the South Florida area, who have transformed the Tower Suite at 2700 North Ocean on Singer Island room-by-room, showcasing their individual talents and styles.

Taking inspiration from both the theme, Palm Beach Style, and Show House Honorary Chairwoman, Lilly Pulitzer, the designers succeeded at creating the ultimate in oceanfront Palm Beach living.

 An extremely generous donation of $100,000 was presented at the Preview Party to the American Red Cross Greater Palm Beach Area Chapter on behalf of Daniel S. Catalfumo, founder and president of Catalfumo Construction and Development from the Daniel S. Catalfumo Family Foundation.
Minot and Victoria Amory
JB Hunt, Vaughn Maurice, and Diane and Paul Xylander
Dan and Gio Catalfumo with Tommy and Desmond Keogh
Michael Roefaro and Mario Nievera
Allison Rogers Haft and Angela Reynolds
Gordon and Jane Brown with Linda and Guy Ashley
Dan Catalfumo and Minot Amory
Denise Mariani, Chef Zach Bell, and Aime Dunstan
Melissa Ziober and Scotty Rawley
Cocktails to celebrate a house’s debut in Litchfield County, Connecticut

In Litchfield County, the sport of kings these days isn’t polo — or golf or tennis or croquet for that matter; it’s real estate. And even in this bearish market, that “little place in Litchfield” has maintained the same allure that’s been driving the fancier-fixed folk to the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut for nearly a century — when the first towns to go tony were Lakeville and Washington.

Now, the entire county fetches hefty prices — and with that has emerged its share of gifted designers, developers and builders who have gone from retro-fitting barns, taverns and old school houses to building spectacular country homes on some of the prettiest land imaginable.
Maureen Burmann and Bud Toohey
Over the years, the local telephone book has read like a Who’s Who: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Bill Blass, Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Anne Bass, John Richardson, Robert Couturier, Polly Bergen, Francine DuPlessix Gray, Rose and Bill Styron, Brooke Hayward and Peter Duchin, Larry Kramer, Sam Waterston, Mia Farrow, Joan Rivers. You name them, they’ve had (or have) a place there. Even Hollywood has had its way with this neck of the woods ... from “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” to “All About Eve” (remember the drained gas tank that caused Bette Davis to miss a performance — requiring her understudy Anne Baxter to go on?) That snowy stretch of road could have been any of the hundreds that meander through towns with names like Roxbury, Bridgewater, Woodbury, Southbury, and New Milford.

Roderick Thorne, with his sister Maureen Burmann, and partner Rick Sabag, are the kind of folk who do the house thing extremely well, as evidenced by the 20 plus homes that they have either built from scratch or renovated, along with the much loved Mayflower Inn.
Matt Hall, Frank Rico, and Kevin Apman
So when they were ready to unveil their latest project, a rambling house perched on a hilltop with sweeping vistas of the valley below, the good people of Litchfield County came out in droves for a glass and a gander — and a bite of stylish caterer Tess Geiss’s hors d’oeuvres.

Among the crowd: luxe leather goods designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex, retired Red Sox great Joe Lahoud and his wife Patty, realtor Gayle Hammer, floral designer Britt Pendergast, Bruce Glickman and Wilson Henley of “Duane” fame, Lifetime TV’s Frank Rico, Craig and Beverly Thorne, Bob Burmann, Rod Pleasants and Steve Godwin, Diane Stevens, Matt Hall, Kevin Apman, Cathy Dillon, and Maurice Scaglione.
Bob Winston and Diane Stevens
Maureen Burmann and Rick Sabag
Rod Thorne, Stewart Skolnick, and Charles Haver
Brit Pendergast and Wilson Henley
Joe and Patty Lahoud
Beverly and Craig Thorne
Rod Pleasants and Steve Godwin
Patty Lahoud and Steven Stolman
Richard Lambertson and John Truex
Photographs by Lucien Capehart (Expectations, Posh, Red Cross); Maurice Scaglione (Litchfield).

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