Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fashion’s Night Out on Worth Avenue

More than twenty participating members of the Worth Avenue Association lit up Worth Avenue during Fashion’s Night Out despite Thursday’s downpours and drizzles,. Above, guests await the Neiman Marcus runway show spotlighting trends from NM’s fall collection.
Fashion’s Night Out on Worth Avenue
By Augustus Mayhew

As early as 1903 Palm Beach had proclaimed itself the winter fashion capital of the world. More than a century later, even though railroad cars have been supplanted with private jets, wheel chairs with Bentleys, Palm Beach is still a fashion vortex where you can never be too thin or your checkbook too thick to appreciate the pricey and the precious. A.R.T. Fine Jewelry, Betteridge Jewelers, Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Pucci, Frédéric Fekkai Salon, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hamilton Jewelers, Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture, Max Mara, Michael Kors, St. John, Stubbs & Wootton, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch and Valentino were among the Worth Avenue Association’s members who participated in FNO’s second annual event.

Here are some of my impressions although persistent rain dampened some of the evening’s festivities.
Sherry Frankel, president of the Worth Avenue Association, at her Melangerie boutique located in the Gucci Coutyard. Sherry mentioned that Sophie Skover won the $1,000 award from the association’s Facebook contest. Reportedly, the winner was headed for Neiman Marcus to buy Louboutin pumps. Vanessa Henry and Rebecca Kirsch Jagle at Betteridge Jewelers, formerly Greenleaf and Crosby. Housed in what some consider Worth Avenue’s architectural crown jewel, Betteridge’s Deco Moderne-styled storefront is reminiscent of an elegance found on the Place Vendome. Its black granite façade is trimmed in Monel, a precursor to stainless steel named for Ambrose Monell, a Palm Beacher who at the time was president of the International Nickel Company.
Sales from Armani’s FNO tote bags benefit the NYC AIDS Fund at the New York Community Trust.
Although Saks Fifth Avenue was not among the first when it opened a shoe department in 1926 at the Hotel Alba along the Noth Lake Trail Fashion Beaux Arts shoppping district, two years later when SFA moved to 300 Worth Avenue in 1928, it was instrumental in transforming Worth Avenue into the place to see and be seen. The Tombola fashion shows at the Everglades Club and Sophie Gimbel’s fashion innovations caused other merchants to relocate directly on the avenue or on one of the European-styled vias. In 1931 Sophie Gimbel added a popular debutante department in the building’s second floor. Today, Maus and Hoffman occupies the onetime Saks location next door to the Everglades Club.
Today at its 150 Worth Avenue location, a Saks associate demonstrates the ease of iPad shopping.
Greeting guests at Saks during FNO.
Ladies enjoying a night on the town. Catching their breath at Saks.
George Lydon and Anthony Colello at Jimmy Choo.
Though not versed in the architecture of shoes, these skyscrapers at Jimmy Choo caught my eye, and many others.
Jayme Santa and Barbaranne Sturgis at Tiffany & Co.
Neil Zirconia, “the ultimate faux diamond,” a Neil Diamond impersonator who entertained during FNO, photographed at St. John along with Lori Lapaglia, Sylvie Abecassis, and Debra Lauar.
Ben Alavi and Joseph Boivia “at Christopher Kaufmann Salon where one can “Transcend the ordinary.”
Giorgio Armani at 243 Worth Avenue.
Neiman Marcus
151 Worth Avenue
NM’s night out featured an in-store scavenger hunt, a fashion shoot, and DJ Hana “spinning what’s in fashion.” Christafaro’s, The Ritz-Carlton, and Donut Diva’s Fun Food were among the event’s food and wine purveyors.
Manolo Blahnik at Neiman Marcus.
By 6:15 the drizzle stopped momentarily as islanders stormed Neiman Marcus, backing traffic to Ocean Boulevard. Could September now be the start of the season? “There can’t be anyone left in the Hamptons,” I overheard.
Up above the clouds formed by the store’s immense butterfly mobile, NM’s store manager Beth Pine welcomed a Palm Beach crowd she described as “…far beyond our expectations.” Actually, NM was packed. Marilyn Connor, NM’s public relations director, wearing Escada.
While PB’s FNO didn’t go for tents, NM provided an over-the-top entertainment as guests entered the store.
Christina Holbrook’s Christina’s Catering was one of several stations offering an array of delectables.
In between flutes, guests found time to shop.
Here are a few among the many who made it to FNO …
Arlette Gordon, right, and guest making their way up the escalator.
Kae Johnson. Town councilman Bill Diamond. Laura Anthony and Diane Cantone.
The irresistible need to be modern.
Chef Clay Conley of Buccan bistro. “My husband is shopping.”
Back on Worth Avenue …
Flor Sanchez at Juicy Couture, “Juicy loves Palm Beach.” Carol Kaufman at Michael Kors. The Michael Kors Fall Collection includes this mauve silk jersey draped halter dress with matching pajama pants.
Sheila Motley at Badgley Mischka.
Chanel’s Palm Beach director Celine Thebault having a touch-up during FNO by make-up artist Micheale Anderson.
Back at Neiman Marcus …
Bobby Dougherty and Enid Bollak.
Anita Itzel, Ellen Lusko, Beth Hughes, and Jim Vrooman at the Neiman Marcus Precious Jewels Salon.
Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach co-director Janice Owens has a consultation on the fine points of self-preservation.
Raquel Lambert, Elizabeth Belkin, and Beth Pine (wearing Lanvin).
Neiman Marcus Fashion Show

Along with professional models sporting Fall 2011 trends, the Runway Show featured Palm Beach’s “Fab 14,” including Erica Bauman, Annie Falk, Julio Iguchi, Tricia Keitel, Wyatt Koch, Sasha Lickle, Margaret Luce, Scott Moses, and Tara Tobin.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.
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