Monday, December 28, 2009

Palm Beach Social Diary

Rod Stewart Christmas shopping on Worth Avenue.
Christmas season in Palm Beach
by Hilary Geary Ross

The Christmas season in Palm Beach was a little chilly to start, but it heated up and started buzzing about a week ago with the temperatures rising along with the action.

Worth Avenue was hopping, I even spotted Rod Stewart strolling on the avenue with shopping bags and packages in hand! But the real big Palm Beach news was the engagement of the beauteous Nina Monell, daughter of Palm Beachers Rene Morrison and Ambrose Monell to William Morton, son of Robin Pickett and Billy Morton.
Willy Morton and his fiance Nina Monell.
This handsome young couple have known each other from the Southampton, New York, Palm Beach circuit but the romance sparked when “Willy” was an usher at Minnie Mortimer’s wedding a couple years ago (May 2007) and he escorted her to her pew.

They will be married in late June in Southampton at the Dune Church in an old fashioned society wedding right out of a Cole Porter song. Ahh, romance.
Stephanie Foster. Diane de la Begassiere and Howard Cox.
Now back to the Holiday parties. The calendar was on overload but highlights were the cocktail party given by newlyweds Stephanie and John Foster at their sparkling new oceanfront apartment, followed by a kick off cocktail party at Graff jewelers to support and applaud the ABT Nutcracker benefit; then topped off by a small seated dinner dance given by Darcy and George Gould in an all white “winter wonderland” tent.

Darcy and George Gould.
This magic was created by the floral genius Bill Beers. You entered into a pure white perfectly pleated fabric draped tent adorned with hanging crystal snowflake lights and an abundance of poinsettias -- white of course!  Centered in the middle of the dance floor was Mike Carney's white grand piano, with the great man himself playing the “ivories,” plus a singer from California.

Off to one side was a hand carved snowflake ice bar complete with a built in vodka luge for all the frozen vodka fans. Dozens of fresh Douglas Fir trees some as tall as 20 feet were flocked with heavy snow and decorated with thousands of miniature white lights, snow owls, white peacocks with trailing plumes and polar bears. The white taffeta covered dinner tables and chairs were surrounded by gigantic snowflakes and Christmas tree ice carvings that were beautifully lit from all angles.

The centerpieces were composed of mounds of white hydrangea; snow owls, crystal snowflakes and icicles that were encircled by miniature illuminated crystal and silver Christmas trees. The chandeliers and sconces had snow balls and icicles dangling from them. All the ladies were asked to wear white and they all did.

The effect of white and more white was very dramatic and nothing short of spectacular! Darcy looked beautiful in Naeem Kahn, designed especially for that night. Another stand out was Aline Massey in long sleeved white with a touch of silver. I am still dreaming about the heavenly menu starting with caviar, followed by rack of Colorado lamb with baked Alaska for dessert, yum.

Among the guests were Kate Ford, Frank Chopin, John Loring, Alfred and Judy Taubman, Robin and John Pickett, Pat Wood, Wilbur Ross, Kit and Bill Pannill, Marty and Audrey Gruss, Stanley and Gaysie Gaines, Gail and Harry Theodoracopulos, Freddie and Ginny Melhado, Tina Fanjul, Chris and Grace Meigher, Lally Weymouth, Alberto and Peggy Meija, Suzanne and Michael Ainslie, Cliff Klenk and more.
ABT dancers at The Breakers.
Next night brought the ABT benefit hosted by ever generous David and Julia Koch and sponsored by Graff, at the Breakers with excerpts from The Nutcracker performed.

After cocktails we sat down at our table, enjoyed a bit of heavenly ballet then dined royally on smoked salmon, followed by chicken breast topped off by a dessert trio. There was an auction of  a pair of dazzing Graff diamond “Swan” earrings conducted by Henri Barguirdjian, President and CEO of Graff Holdings Inc.
Dinner consisted of smoked salmon, followed by chicken breast topped off by a dessert trio.
Among the guests were Bruce and Maria Bockmann, Susan Lloyd, Michelle and Howard Kessler, Mary and Mandy Ourisman, Don and Muffy Miller, John Mashek, Chris and Grace Meigher, Talbott Maxey, Felicia Taylor, Kimberly du Ross, Pauline Pitt and Jerry Seag, Lydia and Robert Forbes, Anka Palitz, Don and Nancy Carter, Nancy and Bill Rollnick.
Robert Forbes and Jerry Seay Kimberly du Ross
Pauline Pitt, a young dancer from the Nutcracker, and Jerry Seay
Another night, Damon and Liz Mezzacappa opened the doors to their award winning gorgeous waterfront house designed by architect Jeff Smith, for a seated Christmas dinner for about thirty. This Bunny Williams-decorated house is a showstopper, really grand and truly beautiful.

Next night we went to Emilia and Pepe Fanjul’s annual Christmas black tie dinner in their beautiful house decorated with wreaths, mistletoe, all the Christmas trimmings and more. They even had carolers in period costumes which got everyone singing away and into the spirit of the season! Each lucky guest took home with them as party favors, an enchanting ceramic “gingerbread house” cookie jar.
The Fanjul Christmas tree. Pepe Fanjul.
The Fanjul library.
The guest list included former Canadian prime Brian Mulroney and his beautiful wife Mila, Alfy and Raysa Fanjul, Lesly Smith, Pauline Pitt and Jerry Seag, Roberto and Joanne de Guardiola, Jacky and Ken Duberstein, Dixon and Arriana Boardman, Lally Weymouth, Beth De Woody, Howard Cox, Christina de Caraman, Percy Steinhart, Steve and Christine Schwarzman, Earl and Carol Mack, Pari Sima Pahlavi, Tom Quick, Cynthia Boardman, Jerry and Darlene Jordan, Arnaud and Alexandra de Borchgrave and more. Merry Christmas!!
Brian Mulroney, Steve Schwarzman, and Emilia Fanjul Brian Mulroney, Emilia Fanjul, and Ken Duberstein
Roberto de Guardiola, Dixon Boardman, Carol Mack, and Jackie Duberstein. Raysa Fanjul and Joanne de Guardiola.
Hilary Geary Ross and Percy Steinhart Pepe Fanjul and his daughter Emilia Pfeifler
Emilia Fanjul and Ken Duberstein Dixon Boardman and Cythnia Boardman
Emilia Fanjul Arnaud de Borchgrave Alexandra de Borchgrave
Wilbur Ross and Jackie Duberstein Gerry Jordan, Pauline Pitt, and Alfy Fanjul
More photos from The Nutcracker in Palm Beach at The Breakers, hosted by David and Julia Koch and sponsored by GRAFF, to celebrate and support American Ballet Theatre. Guests enjoyed a very special performance of excerpts from ABT’s Artist-in-Resident Alexei Ratmansky’s highly anticipated Nutcracker, which was followed by an elegant sit down dinner. The evening raised $300,000 for American Ballet Theatre.
Bill and Nancy Rollnick
Alice and Talbott Maxey
Julia and David Koch
Donald Miller, Debbie Stapleton, Muffy Miller, and Craig Stapleton
Michele and Larry Herbert
Felicia Taylor and Bruce Bockmann
Janet Pleasants, Michael Reiter, Lesly Smith, and James Walsh
Craig Dix with Vera and Julio Serrano
Britty Cudlip and John Mashek
Henri Barguirdjian, Anka Palitz, and Kavid Koch
Gerry Goldsmith and Sherry Scott
Judy Grubman, Lawrence Kaiser, and Diana Bell
Mal Wilcox, Hayden Hosford, and Robert Littman
Joel Pashcow and Jill Hadad
Dale Coudert and Alfred Fiandaca
Jeffrey Thomas and Sharon Sonder
Diana Bauernfeind and Patty Francy
Hilary Ross, Henri Barguirdjian, and Marianne Lafiteau
Linda Dweck, Diana Salandra, and Nancy Carter
Julia Nye and Pauline Pitt
The Rat King with Celeste Thomas-Verstraaten
Sir Thomas Moore and Sarah Langham
James Nederlander, Eles Gillet, James Kaufman, and Charlene Ne
Renee Steinberg, Anka Palitz, and Diana Salandra
Sall and Dick Phelps
Janet Pleasants and Michael Reiter with the mice
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ainslie and daughter Serena
Toby, Daniela, and Isabella Dadurian
Nancy, Don, and Stephanie Carter
Mary and Mandy Ourisman, Aniko and Nash Schott, and Britty Cudlip
Nutcracker cast
Vera Serrano and Patti Herbst
Tara Tobin, Bobby Leidy, Terry Mersentes, and Bernardo Ortiz
Renee and Richard Steinberg
Patty Francy and Rachel Moore
Vicki and Chris Kellogg
Young architect Michael Perry is quickly joining the Palm Beach establishment as illustrated by the crush of clients and friends who joined him and wife Diana for his firm's annual holiday bash in the Preservation Foundation's Pan's Garden — an otherworldy place gifted by the late Lydia Buhl Mann. Outside the party tent, an unseasonal maelstrom bordering on a mini-hurricane, but within, it was all tidings of comfort and joy.
Michael Perry with David and Nadine Fite
Jeff Koons and Teresa Stoddard
Party Scene
Tony and Kathryn Bohannon with Kenn Karakul
Michael and Nancy Peacock with Ray Bumpus and Chad Hoeft
Mario Nievera
Diane Perry with Nicole and Ryan Munder
Caroline and Tom Forrest, Kathleen Koons, and Burt Minkoff
Chris and Melanie Hill
Sarah Miller
Kim and Joan Sargent
Keith and Penny Williams
Wally and Betsy Turner
Michael Perry, Jason and Nicole Guari, Diane Perry
Diane Perry and Michelle Miller
Dori Cler and Steven Stolman
Jessica McGruder with Jackie and Beau Breckenridge
Denise Caruso, Nicole Guari, and Celeste Cassidy
Michael Perry and Mark Brentlinger
The chairmen and committee for Lighthouse International’s third annual POSH Palm Beach gala and designer clothing sale were recently honored at a tea hosted by committee member Kit Pannill, at her lakefront house in Palm Beach.

Melinda Porter, the assistant development director and POSH sale coordinator, welcomed the guests, thanked Pannill for her hospitality and support, and acknowledged Marc Rosen and his wife, Arlene Dahl, who is serving as the honorary chairman of POSH Palm Beach events. Porter also introduced Mark Ackerman, Lighthouse International’s new CEO, who flew down from New York especially for the occasion. Ackerman said that 2009 was a record year for the foundation raising the most funds in its 105 year history.
Lighthouse International CEO Mark Ackerma and Melinda Porter
Kit Pannill, Marc Rosen, and Beth DeWoody
Catherine Adler, Iris Apfel, Kathy Bleznak, Kim Campbell, Linda Donahue, Michele Kessler, Carla Mann, Talbott Maxey, Grace Meigher, Lucia N. Musso, Kit Pannill, Nancy Paul, and Tricia Quick are this year’s co-chairmen along with Junior co-chairmen, Blair Griffin and Frances Webster.

On February 24, 2010, a black-tie gala dinner dance will be held at Club Collette, and those who attend the gala will be treated to sneak preview and will be able to shop the sale early. The POSH Palm Beach sale -- which features clothing and accessories from socialites, celebrities, designers and fashionable retailers -- will take place on February 26 - 27 at Royal Poinciana Plaza, located at 340 Royal Poinciana Way, in Suite 328, from 9am to 5pm. Valet parking with be provided. Sterling Palm Beach LLC, owner of the Poinciana Plaza, has generously donated the space for the sale.

For information about the gala, ticket sales to the gala and sale or to make
donations, please contact Melinda Porter at 561-828-1522 or
Jane Cummings and Ann Downey
Elisabeth Munder, Lori Berg, and Nancy Kezele
Frances Webster and Blair Griffin
Frances Scaife and Arlene Dahl
Talbott Maxey and Lore Dodge
Nancy Paul and Carla Mann
Photographs by Hilary Geary Ross & Lucien Capehart