Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Palm Beach Social Diary

A rain-soaked Worth Avenue.
"Singin’ in the rain ..." so happy to see rain down here in PB because of the awful drought! We have had barely a drop of rain all winter. Rained for only for a couple of days, however, then back to the usual delightful sunny climate.

We could still dine outside as we did at Café Boulud the other night where we ran in my sister and brother in law, Robin and John Pickett along with Muffy and Don Miller. Sitting on the terrace at Café Boulud is such a treat, as it is one of the prettiest places in Palm Beach to dine al fresco.
Looking out onto the terrace of Café Boulud at The Brazilian Court.
Muffy Miller at Cafe Boulud.
Robin and John Pickett at Cafe Boulud.
Speaking of “Sunny,” the small dinner that Emilia and Pepe Fanjul gave for the newlyweds, Sunny and Lily, aka the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough was perfection.

Emilia looked beautiful in Oscar de La Renta as she greeted her guests and guided them into her cozy wood paneled library to sip some icy champagne before dinner. After about 45 minutes, dinner was announced, half the group headed into the dining room to a long table with Pepe, while the rest sat at a round table with Emilia on the loggia.

We feasted on creamy tomato soup, followed by chicken, then a scrumptious chocolate meringue confection worth killing for!

What did the rest of the gals wear? The guest of honor, Lily, was a star in bright colored Pucci, Christina de Caraman wore very chic black and white Escada, Carol Mack was beautiful in Louis Vuitton with fabulous platform heels, Audrey Gruss was perfection in Chanel, Michele Kessler was lovely in Armani, and Christine Schwarzman was divine in Alaii, Grace was so pretty in Lela Rose, etc.
The Fanjul seating chart.
Emila Fanjul and Freddie Melhado.
Christina de Caraman, Earle Mack, and Christine Schwarzman.
Terry Allen Kramer, Sunny Marlborough, Steve Schwarzman, and Lily Marlborough.
Harry Theodoracopulos and Martin Gruss.
Hilary Geary Ross and Christina de Caraman.
Grace Meigher, Freddie Melhado, and Gail Theodoracopulos.
Chris Meigher, Howard Kessler, Wilbur Ross, and Michele Kessler.
Next day we lunched with Lily and Sunny Marlborough, Kip Forbes and Tom Quick to work on the Blenheim Foundation Benefit dinner to be held on Monday May 11th at Sotheby’s (save that date, please).

After playing some tennis, we popped over to the newly expanded docks in West Palm Beach to check out the boat show. Never have I seen so many small, medium and large boats all in one place. It was pretty amazing to be in what seemed like a gargantuan boat parking lot.
The scene at the 24th Annual Palm Beach International Boat Show.
That night we headed to Cynthia Boardman’s fabulous house for a dinner in honor of her sister and brother in law, Jane and Michael Horvitz. The breathtakingly beautiful house is right out of a Slim Aarons photograph. No kidding! In fact some off Slim’s best known photos were taken at the fabulous ocean front pool of the spectacular abode.

After cocktails in the lovely traditionally decorated living room with pretty chintz fabric on the furniture and a lovely needlepoint rug, we moved to the sun porch overlooking that famous pool to dine at two round tables. Have to say I cannot think of a more beautiful view, anywhere, any place.

After dinner we popped into the library for coffee, chocolates, and sugared ginger and everyone admired the very talented Jane Horvitz’s beautiful pictures of Africa which were hung on the lacquered bottle green walls of their cozy library.
Cynthia Boardman and Kip Forbes in front of the pool made famous by Slim Aarons.
Cynthia Boardman and Tom Quick.
Cythnia Boardman's living room.
The table centerpiece.
Rosita Marlborough.
Kate Gubelmann, Kip Forbes, Hilary Geary Ross, and Jane Horvitz.
Saturday night we went to the absolutely fabulous dinner dance at the Breakers, given by Michele Herbert for her husband Larry’s 80th birthday. I knew it was going to be a great party when I thought Christmas had come early and a “box” arrived with an invitation inside, beautifully addressed in calligraphy, asking us to wear black tie with a touch of color to celebrate his birthday.

Michele and Larry Herbert (photo: Rob Rich).
Why the “Touch of color?” Because Larry invented the “Pantone“ color system that the world relies on when choosing a color.

After sipping champagne, nibbling on all kinds of hors d’oeuvres, sushi etc., we headed into the ballroom. The Breakers ballroom was transformed into a dazzling kaleidoscope of colors created by the brilliant designer Ed Libby, complimented by the colorful dresses. It was nonstop entertainment and fun that went on way after midnight.

Michele kicked off the evening by singing “Larry Baby” to the tune of “Santa Baby.” Next came dancers from “Dancing with the Stars,” interlaced with Valerie Romanoff’s Starlight Orchestra, followed by their son Loren’s band, “Born Again Baldwin’s,” who serenaded Larry with “My Way.” Then last but not least, came Patti Labelle, in person. Wow!!

— Hilary Geary Ross
My place setting at Larry Herbert's 80th birthday celebration.
Mai Harrison and Joan Schnitzer Levy.
Ballroom at the Herbert's party at the Breakers.
Marjorie Gubelmann and Hilary Geary Ross.
Marianna Kaufman and Anne Fisher.
Party place settings.
Marianna Kaufman and Patrick McMullan.
Carol Mack and Dennis Basso.
Hilary Geary Ross and Wilbur Ross.
Ivana Trump.
Party favors.
For many years, up until the present, Dame Celia Lipton Farris has been perched at the top of the Palm Beach heap for a variety of reasons. Firstly, her generosity to Palm Beach charities is unmatched. Hardly an A-list invitation goes out without her name on it as grand benefactor, honorary chairman or significant donor.

And while she is the definitive grande dame, complete with jewels, gowns, royal buddies and a fortress-like manse that used to belong to the Duchess of Marlborough, she is surprisingly earthy, even self-admittedly campy, shifting personas from a Susan Hayward/Barbara Stanwyck “let’s do one for the boys overseas” chanteuse; from a Norma Desmond-ish recluse in blue tinted glasses to an out-and-about socialite in full stage makeup, signature white pantsuit, jawbreaker pearls and lapels loaded with various honors and orders — her most precious being that of “Dame” bestowed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Dame Celia Lipton Farris signing away.
Dame Celia’s photo-filled, coffee table sized autobiography, “My Three Lives,” is a cinematic romp through pre-war London where she grew up as a bandleader’s daughter, debuted at the Palladium at 15, starred as “Peter Pan” in the West End and pulled an Eve Harrington on Jessie Matthews in “Quaker Girl” with 16 curtain calls.

Then it was more roles onstage, a few films, and then a pivotal trip to New York for a TV gig and a nightclub act that led her into the arms of Victor Farris. Mr. Farris just happened to be the inventor of the paper milk carton and the paper clip. The rest, as they say, is history. And in her lush book, much of that history is embellished. But most of it is quantifiable, and if nothing else, a fun read, about a woman driven to become a somebody, who actually succeeded while helping countless others less fortunate than she along the way.
Giant blowups of Celia at various stages of her life.
To celebrate the book’s release, Diana and Llwyd Ecclestone rolled out the red carpet, literally, with a full-on cocktail bash under a clear tent in the courtyard of their oceanfront mansion, decorated with giant blowups of Celia with and without assorted celebrities, at various stages of her life, from pinup girl to cabaret star to statuesque chairlady in gown and gloves.

For much of the evening, she was seated in the foyer behind a table piled high with books, signing away with abandon. You just had to be there as were Celia’s daughters Cece and Marian, Tommy Quick, Michele and Howard Kessler, Anka Palitz, Michelle and Craig Millard, Shannon Donnelly, Dan Ponton, Cathy and Alan Bleznak, Susan and Dom Telesco, Regine and Bill Traulsen, Lori and Bruce Gendelman, Judy Grubman and hundreds more lined up to get their books personally inscribed by the Dame of the hour -- out of respect for the countless charities she’s supported, the causes she’s championed and the sheer pleasure of her company. There truly is nothing like this dame.
Marianne Castle, Jean and Rita Sherman, and Tim Racine
Lucien and Dina Capehart with Dick Robinson
Anka Palitz, Alicia Blodgett, and Phyllis Krock
Arlette and Bob Gordon
Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas
Llwyd Ecclestone, Dame Celia Lipton Farris, and Diana Ecclestone
Betsy and Wally Turner
Steven Stolman and CeCe Farris
Howard and Michele Kessler
Nancy Gibson, Tom Quick, and Loretta Gallo
Craig and Michele Millard with Dan Ponton
Kathy and Alan Bleznak
Susan and Dom Telesco
Regine Traulsen and Bill Diamond
Ruth and Ray Perelman
Judy Grubman, Mark Sullivan, and Jacqueline Togut
Mark and Mary Freitas
Harry Benson C.B.E. and Gigi Benson
Jack and Talbott Maxey
CeCe Farris, Dame Celia Lipton Farris, and Marian Retterer
Diann Scaravilli and Jesse Araskog
Just as the Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee/Frederick Law Olmsted “Hat Lunch” confirms the arrival of spring in New York, so does the annual Center for Creative Education’s Annual Awards Luncheon do the same in Palm Beach.

This organization, now far beyond its fledgling stage, supplements public school core curriculum with the fine arts by bringing professional artists into the schools who use their various talents to make the lessons stick. It sounds like something straight out of “Auntie Mame,” but test scores don’t lie. All the lucky kids who have been allowed to take advantage of this groundbreaking program have soared to impressive heights -- many from schools desperately lacking what proper schools should have.

Led by superb educator Tom Pilecki and a dedicated staff, this organization has been shepherded by real estate developer Kenn Karakul who also serves as chairman of the CCE board. The guest list: pretty much a Who’s Who of Palm Beach ... as you can see ...
Tom and Carol Kirchhoff
Mary Freitas, Paul Funk, and Rena Blades
Sydelle Meyer and Kenn Karakul
Irene Karp and Tom Pilecki
Jim and Stacy Wright
Suzette Harvey, Tom Pilecki, Rena Blades, and Alyx Kellington
Pat Johnson and Pam Miller
Diana and Michael Perry
Susie Dwinell and Craig Grant
Laura Evans and Brett Price
Margi Vor der Bruegge, Kim Celedinas, and Eddy Taylor
Dr. Daniel and Nicole Knapp
Sonja Abrahamsen and Mark Stevens
Victoria Amory and Dianne LaRoe
Linda Salandra Dweck and Judy Grubman
Mario Nievera and Tussi Kluge
Vicki Halmos, Conrad Hilton, and Ginny Bond
Over 250 theatre lovers braved the Palm Beach dew and filled the Kravis Center Cohen Pavilion on Wednesday, March 18th to join in the festivities of the much anticipated “So You Think You Can Act?” — an evening of dinner and entertainment — to benefit West Palm Beach’s only professional theater company, Palm Beach Dramaworks.

Co-chaired by Palm Beach’s much admired ladies around town Sandy Heine and Judy Messing, the evening revved up right from the start when, over cocktails and passed hors d’ oeuvres, the very talented students from The Dreyfoos School of the Arts dazzled their captive audience performing a medley of favorites from “A Chorus Line.”

Bill Hayes and Shelly Gross
Immediately following their standing ovation, theatre impresario Shelly Gross honored Mayor Lois Frankel with the second annual “Shelly Award” — an award given to a dedicated individual who has made an extraordinary commitment to developing and supporting the theatre community in South Florida.

After cocktails, guests entered a dramatically transformed ballroom with rings of layered tables topped with prize-winning sky high orchids (courtesy of Floral Emporium with additional décor, courtesy Sutka Productions International, Inc.).

Hands down, the most entertaining audition was West Palm Beach Mayor Frankel with Palm Beach Mayor Jack McDonald cast as the famous ill-fated lovers in “Romeo and Juliet!” Guests agreed that the mayors might only be out-done by gorgeous Mia Matthews and WPTV’s lovable meteorologist Glenn Glazer, doing their ‘I love you, you’re perfect now change’ bit from “Barefoot in the Park.” The sumptuous dinner (catered by Special Impressions) included gremolata crusted beef filet paired with crispy portobello and oyster mushroom involtini, followed by a decadent chocolate illusion cage filled with white and dark chocolate mousse.
Dreyfoos School of the Arts students: Alexa Achille, Robert Smith, and Josie Murray
The event’s Grand Benefactors, Susan Bloom and Sydelle Meyer, kept the dance floor hopping with sensational music provided by Music Works Talent. The evening, which raised in excess of $200,000, was the Company’s most successful fundraiser in their eight and a half year history, and it filled the Cohen Pavilion ballroom with both new-found theater lovers and devoted generous patrons including Susan Bloom (Grand Benefactor), Sydelle Meyer (Grand Benefactor), The Honorable Ann Brown and Donald A. Brown (Evening Dinner Sponsors), Elfriede Grevendick (Performance Sponsor), Esther and Sid Dinerstein (Cocktail Reception Sponsors), Cindy and Vince Cerone (of Braman Motor Cars – Benefit Design Sponsors), Judy Messing (Co-chair) and Gil Messing, Sandy Heine (Co-chair), Joan and Shelly Gross, Dr. Sidney A. Lesowitz and Peter Rogers, Diane and Mark Perlberg, Linda and Don Silpe, Jane and Bernie Perry, Selma and Joe Sitrick, Iris and Carl Apfel, Mia Matthews, Carol Cohen, Miriam and Alec Flamm, Mayor Lois Frankel, Mayor Jack McDonald, Tasha and Glenn Glazer, Dorothy Lappin, Nancy and Donald Carter, Calla and Ralph Guild, Joan and Chester Luby, Laurel Baker, Kathi Kretzer, Ann Marie and Peter Rezzonico, Georgiana Duber, Eunice and David Bigelow, Hilda and Lee Bell, Penny and Mitch Beers, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Berman, Iris Capobianco, Bud Tamarkin, Daphne and Bobby Fessler, Danielle de Benedictis, Julia Hansen, Abe Gosman, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Homberger, Jane and Richard Karp, Ruth Krall, J. Barry Lewis, Susan Lehrman and Louis Wechsler, Sherron Long, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Maharem, Selma and Marty Rosen, Rita Stein, Susan Gluck-Pappajohn, Pam and Brian McIver, Ann North, David Stringfield, Margaret Donnelley, Fran B. Luckoff, Barbara and Stephen Miller, Bruce Sutka, David Negre, Bitty and Peter Rapaport, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Reitman, Ann and Rick Sommer, J. David Veselsky and Kenneth B. Elias, Nancy and Chris Eliades, Jan Winkler and Hermine Drezner, Leatrice Wolf and Palm Beach Dramaworks Producing Artistic Director William Hayes, Managing Director Sue Ellen Beryl, Director of Development Steve Caras and Nanique Gheridian, Company Manager.
Mia Matthews, Steve Caras, and Susan Bloom
Cindy and Vince Cerone
Tasha and Glenn Glazer
ancy and Don Carter
Selma and Joe Sitrick
Sydelle Meyer and Mayor Jack McDonald
Bill Hayes, Mayor Lois Frankel, and Sue Ellen Beryl
Vivian and Eugene Rosen with Esther Dinerstein
Diane and Mark Perlberg
David Stringfield and Elaine North
Linda and Don Silpe
Jane and Bernie Perry
Lee Wolf with Miriam and Alec Flamm
Iris and Carl Apfel
Judy Messing and Sandy Heine
Iris Capobianco, Donald A. Brown, and The Honorable Ann Brown

Photographs by Lucien Capehart (Farris and CCE); Fresh Appeal Photography

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