|Words from a visitor to haircare mogul Sydell Miller’s “La Reverie” in Palm Beach.
Monet’s water lilies in her foyer and Picassos in her dining room; is that a Magritte in the corner? Mrs. Miller shares the 75,000 square foot Jeff Smith-designed and Peter Marino-decorated palazzo with Philip Zeiky and her family. Her works by Dubuffet, Chagall and pretty much every other 20th century master brings evokes awe even for the most jaded. Suede linked with crystal beads to form floor-to-ceiling curtains in a billiard room? It’s at once excessive beyond belief, yet so incredibly tasteful and understated that an educated connoisseur would find it impossible to find fault with the entire composition ... from the marble floors to the most invisible of hinges to the exploding arrangements of flowers that subtly mimic the painting in the same sightline.
Is this for real? Yes. And why did she open her rarified doors to the supporters of the Cleveland Clinic’s upcoming fundraiser? Because they saved her life. And she knows how to say “thank you.” Shampoo may have brought her to this mountaintop, but medical science has allowed her the time and good health to enjoy it all.
|Chanel set up shop in the grand gallery with stunning models on platforms frequently changing outfits to showcase the latest collection. Vitrines held dazzling diamond jewelry and waiters passed mini-burgers, spring rolls, foie gras and crab tartlets. Outside, the Dow dropped 250 points, but within the other worldy confines of La Reverie, the air was heady with hospitality, fashion and a champagne-fueled joie de vivre that has been unseen in Palm Beach since Bernie Madoff basically cut the heart and soul out of this town.
There: Susan Ross, Lori Gendelman, Sandy Krakoff, Dennis Miller, Patrick Park, Diann Scaravilli, Cindy Halle, Joanne Cutner, Judy Grubman, Dr. Lawrence and Joan Beck, Gay Gaines, Steven Stolman, K.K. Sullivan, Mickey Beyer and a hundred more with ties to Cleveland, the Clinic or both.
|Palm Beach ... Philanthropists Mary and Mark Freitas hosted an invitation-only cocktail reception at their Palm Beach residence in honor of Honorary Chairman Tom Quick, and the generous supporters of the Best Buddies Palm Beach Gala, which will take place March 13th at the Breakers Hotel. Gala Chairman Mark Freitas was joined by Honorary Chair Tom Quick, Vice Chairman Anthony K. Shriver, Michele and Howard Kessler, Jim Pappas, Linda Salandra Dweck, Pauline Pitt, Patricia Quick, Talbott Maxey, Robbi and Bruce Toll, Susan and Dom Telesco, Martha and Dwight Schar and Richard Ziegelasch.
Special thanks to the Harry Winston who modeled exquisite pieces from the Incredibles Collection and Bacardi USA.
|Palm Beach ... The American Ireland Fund’s Annual Emerald Isle Dinner Dance took place at The Breakers and marked the organization’s 19th season in Palm Beach. Hillie Mahoney served as Dinner chairman. The week began with a kickoff cocktail reception at Mahoney’s Palm Beach house, and concluded with a WineGeese dinner for top donors at the home of AIF board member, Tom Quick.
The gala evening, which drew more than 200 guests and raised $400,000. Kieran McLoughlin, president and CEO of The American Ireland Fund, welcomed everyone, acknowledged the special guests who had traveled from Ireland, and thanked Mrs. Mahoney. Mrs. Mahoney presented the evening’s honorees, philanthropists, Michele and Howard Kessler of Palm Beach and Boston, with The American Ireland Fund’s Humanitarian Award. Award-winning Irish actor, Gabriel Byrne received the Performing Arts Award. The program included a special musical performance by violinist, John Kelly of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, who has become known as one of Ireland’s leading cultural ambassadors in Ireland and abroad.
|The evening bore the chairman’s distinctive stamp with the selection for the entertainment -- the music of Mahoney’s son, Bob Merrill and the Sultans of Swing Orchestra. A student and aficionado of dance, Mahoney arranged a special ballroom dance performance by her teacher, Angelo Caruso and his wife, Sandra of Caruso DanceSport Palm Beach, which inspired the guests to follow in their footsteps. Mahoney also provided her own home-made mustard sauce for the corned beef entrée.
Proceeds from the Emerald Isle Dinner Dance will support Northern Ireland’s youth with programs developed to eradicate the prejudices of the past, such as Integrated Education, Sesame Street Northern Ireland and PeacePlayers International. In addition, a portion of the dinner’s proceeds were donated to a local charity selected by Mahoney, Hospice of Palm Beach County, which has received a portion of the proceeds from each of the dinners in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
The mission of The American Ireland Fund is to be the largest worldwide network of people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland dedicated to raising funds to support programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland. Founded in 1976, The Worldwide Ireland Funds are now active in 11 countries and have raised over $300 million to assist more than 1,000 projects in Ireland, North and South. Uniting the aspirations of the Irish Diaspora, a community of over 70 million people, the organization represents “the global Irish making a difference together.” www.irlfunds.org.
|The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet returned last week to the Joyce Theater for a week-long engagement dedicated to the late dance and theatre critic Clive Barnes, with three New York City premieres, works by Jorma Elo, Itzik Galili, Helen Pickett and William Forsythe.
|Under the direction of Jean-Philippe Malaty and Tom Mossbrucker, formerly of the Joffrey, the 13-year-old Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has achieved a distinguished level of maturity and maintains a sophsitcated repertory.|
|Palm Beach ... The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show hosted over 6,000 guests, breaking previous Opening Night attendance records, at the 6th annual Opening Night Private Preview Party, Friday, February 13, which benefited the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. Funds raised from the evening, which included a $25,000 donation from the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show, will benefit educational programming at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum located within the historic 1916 Courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach.
The Historical Society of Palm Beach County is a 69-year-old non-profit organization whose mission is to collect, preserve and share the history of Palm Beach County. In March 2008, the Society opened the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum. Through a partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County, the Society creates and implements history programming for approximately 25,000 local students annually.
|Guests at the opening night event enjoyed a champagne reception, light hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, live entertainment and the exclusive opportunity to view and purchase from the remarkable collections of more than 200 of the world’s finest exhibitors before the show opened to the public the following day. Showcased collections included fine art, sculpture, furniture, silver, textiles, bronze, antique and fine jewelry, objets d’art, porcelain, ceramics and pottery, watches, clocks, Asian art and antiques, oriental carpets, art glass and 20th century design.
Exhibitors at the event reported strong opening night sales including a Tiffany silver flatware service set from Spencer Marks Ltd. a large natural stone fossil mural from EO Stone, 15 pieces of Asian art and artifacts from T.K. Asian Antiquities, a tapestry from Arita-Eduardo Cohen, a painting titled “Landscape” by Paisaje from Cernuda Arte, as well as important pieces of jewelry from exhibitors Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd., Primavera Gallery, Steven Neckman Inc. Vendome Inc. and more.
Among the guests who attended Opening Night were: Honorary Chairman Pat and Richard Johnson; Chairmen Tracy and Matthew Smith; Co-Chairmen Nicole and David Atkinson and Melanie and Christopher Hill; Ewa and Scott Diament, Kris Charamonde and Jennifer Frederick, Wendy and Robb Samuels of the Palm Beach Show Group; Sonja Abrahamson and Mark Stevens; Jane and Gordon Brown; Paula and Mark Cook; Reggie Dominique; Maureen Donnell; Lisa Erdmann; Cathy and John Flagg; Connie Frankino; LuLu and Jamie Gordon; Bill Kopp; Melissa and Brian Lee; Ross Meltzer; Elizabeth and Adam Munder; Nicole and Ryan Munder; Patty Myura; Crissy Poorman and Doug Luce; Kristy and Grier Pressley; Patt and Bill Sned; Paul Snitkin; Sandy and Buddy Thompson; Jane Volk; Laura and Shakir Wissa; Penny and Keith Williams; Harvey Oyer and Monique Merrill; and Alex Taylor.
|Miami ... A few day before Valentine’s Day, ESPA at Acqualina Resort and Spa on the Beach threw open its doors to host a girls night out. Dana Shear, Alison Zhuk and Jillian Jacobson-Altit hosted the decadent evening; the latter who happened to be celebrating her birthday. So many guests came to toast the birthday girl and to indulge in mini spa treatments. Making the night so much sweeter were chocolate martinis in four heart-warming flavors; Chocolate Kiss, Carameltini, Truffeltini and Iced Mocha stirred with Godiva liqueur.
Chocolates from Godiva were also on hand for guests to enjoy. ESPA took on the feel of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, if Willy Wonka had offered facials and eyebrow shaping. The response to this event was so strong that ESPA will unroll a series of Girls Night Out events this spring.
|Austin, Texas ... the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin held its first gala celebration in its recently completed two-building complex. Essence of Cool: 2009 Blanton Museum Gala honored Jack S. Blanton, for whom the institution is named. The event raised $1,625,000 in table and ticket sales as well as donations to launch the Blanton’s new $40 million campaign for the support of exhibitions, collection, and endowment. Additionally, two new art works purchased in honor of Mr. Blanton and support of the gala, were unveiled.
In celebration of the gala, and to emphasize the importance of donations of works of art to the Blanton’s outstanding collection, Jeanne and Michael Klein generously underwrote two significant new works of contemporary art that were unveiled at the Gala: Stacked Waters, a site- specific work commissioned for the Rapoport atrium by artist Teresita Fernández; and a shimmering large-scale sculptural work by Ghanaian-born artist El Anatsui. In his remarks, Powers said, “We are so proud to have on this campus a world-class art museum that provides students the opportunity to experience art at this level during a time of their lives when they are forming their own opinions and views of the world for the first time.”
Event chairs Kelli Blanton, Leslie Blanton, and Elizabeth Wareing organized the event, which was attended by over 400 guests from across the country, including Mayors Will Wynn (Austin) and Bill White (Houston), Austin co-chair Julie Thornton and husband John, and Houston chair Ellen Susman and husband Steve. Among the guests attending from Austin were Carla and Jack McDonald, Deborah Green, Chris Mattsson, Nicole and Brent Covert, retired Blanton director Jessie Otto Hite and husband Gerron, Bob and Nancy Inman, former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, Suzanne and David Booth, Jack and Joanne Crosby, Dorothy and Sam Winters, Becky Beaver and John Duncan, Janet and Wilson Allen, Texas Monthly editor Jack Silverstein and wife Mary Lamotte Silverstein, and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and wife Anne.
A large number of guests attending the event came from Houston including Judy and Charles Tate, Cherie and Jim Flores, Jess and Beth Sanders Moore, John and Becca Cason Thrash, Diane Lokey Farb, Eliza and Stuart Stedman, Windi and David Grimes, Janet Gurwitch, and former governor Mark White and wife Linda Gale. Other guests included Lara and Jason Luce and Rick and Suzanne Cavender of San Antonio and former Blanton curator of Latin American Art, director of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in New York City.
|With the legislature in session, several state senators and representatives were in attendance including Sen. Kirk Watson and wife Liz, Sen. Eddie Lucio and wife Minnie, Sen. Rodney Ellis and wife Licia Green-Ellis, Rep. Mark Strama and wife Crystal Cotti, Rep. Ellen Cohen, and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst and husband Jim.
The evening began with a VIP party in the museum’s Capitol Room furnished with modern Herman Miller pieces, followed by a cocktail reception throughout the new Edgar A. Smith Building. Guests then crossed the dramatically lit Faulkner Plaza to the Michener Gallery Building for a dinner catered by the Four Seasons and program emceed by Texas Monthly editor-in-chief and Austin gala co-chair Evan Smith.
The museum’s downstairs galleries, normally filled with temporary exhibitions, were decorated with glowing tables and chairs from Lounge 22. Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed music from the UT Jazz Orchestra and floral decor by David Kurio Designs. Following a short film tribute to Mr. Blanton by award-winning documentary filmmaker and University of Texas at Austin faculty member Paul Stekler, the honoree received a standing ovation as he remarked, “My buttons pop every time I walk through these doors.”
|In Chicago, Bunky Cushing held his 15th Anniversary Valentine's Tea ...|
|Palm Beach ... Earlier this month there was a cocktail reception in honor of Andrea Buccellati in Palm Beach at stunning Magnolia House, the award-winning home of interior designers Lee Bierly and Christopher Drake who served as hosts with John Francisco Andreu who is also a great admirer of the legendary Italian house of Buccellati renowned for its art in precious metals and gems.
Mr. Buccellati is the artistic heir of an extraordinary family tradition which dates back to the 1750s and he has a natural talent for designing high jewelry. Following his afternoon program at the Society of the Four Arts, Mr. Buccellati was delighted so many turned out for the evening celebration of the timeless style of his family's namesake house of extraordinary baubles.
Among the 100 or so quests were Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Mario Buatta, Dr. Rev. Barbara Neilson, Hope Annan, Anka Paliz, Jim Kaufman, Eles Gillet, Sally Marks, Tom Shaffer, Daniel Drennen, Michel Witmer, Susan and James Collins, Janet and Bill Matthews, Diane de la Begassiere, Christian Duvernois, Alberto Milani, Barbara Ciongoli, Kenn Karakul, Peggy Butler, Linda Prickett, Arthur Furia, Patricia Griffith, Nancy and Michael Peacock, Connie and Peter Geisler, Missy Geisler, Pamela O'Connor, Vicki and Chris Kellogg, Jimmy Tigani, Linda Salandra Dweck and Edward Dweck, Barbara and Michael Crimi, Ingelae Carlsson, Patricia Kennard, Betsy and Wally Turner, Silvia McGingley, Gregory Kriser, Dora Frost, Merrill Lochmaier, Jeannie Downe, Ellen and John Cunningham.
|Palm Beach ... New York girl about town Tinsley Mortimer brought her exclusive Spring/Summer 2009 handbag collection for Samantha Thavasa to Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach for three days only during President’s day weekend. In honor of the show, Tinsley hosted a private luncheon for the chairwomen and committee members of Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Bootlegger’s Ball. Guests snapped up bags named for Palm Beach residents such as Mortimer’s mother Dale Mercer.
“Palm Beach is a huge influence on my designs, I love all the color” says Mortimer. During the trunk show, Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach was the only store outside of the brand’s own boutique on Madison Avenue to carry the Samantha Thavasa by Tinsley Mortimer handbag collection.
|West Hollywood ... From Sly Stallone and wife Jennifer Flavin Stallone (with their three daughters in tow) to Kathy Hilton to a fabulously low-brow, no photos please Nicole Ritchie and socials Maria Bell, Head Chair of P.S Arts, Julia Sorkin, Lady Victoria Hervey and Hilary Tisch, bold-faced names came out to support the unveiling of Neil Lane for ARCADE at ARCADE by Rochelle Gores on Melrose in West Hollywood. Designer Julia Clancey (sold at ARCADE by Rochelle Gores) and stylist Fati Persia also came to enjoy the evening.|
|The jeweler to the stars Neil Lane created this capsule collection in collaboration with Rochelle Gores. Diamonds were on display, handing from red flora throughout the store perfectly time for upcoming Valentine’s Day. Guests sipped Kiss Martinis infused with Godiva Liquor and noshed on Godiva Truffles while shop, shop, shopping all to benefit P.S. Arts a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring arts education in public schools by providing comprehensive, skills based, sequential classes in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Close to $5k was raised for the charity and a fabulously sweet time – all due to diamonds and a good cause – was had by all!|
|Photographs by Lucien Caperhart (Palm Beach); Dan Rest and Mariah Smith (Chicago).|