Friday, January 19, 2018

Palm Beach Social Diary: Island Nights

Whitehall, West Room. Palm Beach Island Hospice Foundation guests await Saks Fifth Avenue’s presentation of Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2018 Collection extravaganza.
Island Nights: 35th Annual Hospice Evening + SFA’s Oscar Spring 2018 Collection
By Augustus Mayhew

It is inconceivable to think how we could have ever lived without Hospice and the essential services it provides. My mother passed away this summer after an extended illness and I will always be thankful for her Hospice crisis care teams. Last year the Hospice Foundation of Palm Beach County formed the Palm Beach Island Hospice Foundation that is continuing its traditional annual fundraiser featuring a bespoke designer. This season’s co-chairs Heather Henry and Piper Quinn, along with the Palm Beach Island Hospice Foundation’s executive board headed by Helen Ross, George Summers, Mark Cook, and Jack Flagg III, welcomed 250 staunch supporters who braved sporadic downpours to celebrate the organization’s 35th anniversary fete. 
“Island Nights,” invitation.
Guests gathered in the Grand Hall before proceeding to the West Room for SFA’s runway presentation. The House of Oscar is still under the watchful eye of the seasoned Boaz Mazor and new co-creative directors Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia. The collection offered a spectrum of everyday and special occasion styles, apropos on Palm Beach where the commonplace is exceptional, if not extraordinary. Color splashed pieces were mixed with logo script prints that gave the impression of a certain artfully-styled street style, albeit Rodeo Drive or Via Montenapleone. Evening wear selections ranged from the sublime to the sensational. When the runway lights went down, patrons retired to the Kenan Pavilion for dinner and dancing with DJ Mad Marj’s high-energy spin.
Helen and Walter Ross. Helen Ross is the Honorary Life Chairman of the Palm Beach Island Hospice Foundation. During the early 1980s Helen Ross, then Helen Messic, was instrumental in forming an on-island support group of volunteers, donors and philanthropists for the then struggling organization. In 1983 she became the first president of the Hospice Guild of Palm Beach where she was soon joined by a brigade of Palm Beachers who 35 years later continue to make Hospice support a priority.
The benefit’s Legacy Benefactor was the Philip and Mary Hulitar Foundation. The Charles W. Gerstenberg Hospice Center in West Palm Beach was named for Mary Hulitar’s father. The Grand Benefactor was Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach that staged the Oscar de la Renta Spring 2018 runway show after the cocktail hour. The Platinum Benefactors were Harold & Carol Baxter and Martin & Audrey Gruss; Gold Benefactors were Bacardi USA, Mike & Julie Connors, and Charles & Amanda Schumacher; and Silver Benefactors were The Marvin H. Davidson Foundation Inc., Sam & Vicky Hunt, and Howard & Michelle Kessler.

The evening’s sponsors and underwriters were the Gunster Law Firm, Northern Trust, National Printing & Design, The Marvin H. Davidson Foundation, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Principal benefactors also included: Virginia Burke, Mark W. Cook, Lore Dodge, David Ebenstein, James & Gaye Engel, Jack & Cathy FlaggRobert & Carol Garvy, Joel Griffin, Gunster Law Firm, Cameron & Dee Dee  Harris, Tom & Melinda HassenDesmond & Ann HeathwoodHeather Henry, Patrick & Heather Henry, Charles & Anne Johnson, Gerald & Darlene Jordan, Susan Lloyd, Hillie Mahoney, Talbott Maxey, Lucia Musso, Grace and Samuel Navarra Foundation, Robert E. Nederlander, Northern Trust,  Kit Pannill, Ellis & Nancy Parker, John & Joan Phelan, John & Lynn Pohanka, Thomas Quick, Piper Quinn, Evelyn Richter, Donald & Renee Scott, the  Vecellio Family Foundation, Thomas & Constance Cigarran, Cristina Condon, Christopher & Peggy Condron, Mrs. John Cunningham, Peter & Diana Gonzalez, Murray & Joanie Goodman, Jane R. Grace, John M. Kindred, Lerner Family Foundation, Dale & Marietta McNulty, Fernanda W. Niven, Margery McCloskey O’Neil, Pauline Pitt, and Stephanie Ribakoff.
Helen and Walter Ross. Helen Ross is the Honorary Life Chairman of the Palm Beach Island Hospice Foundation. During the early 1980s Helen Ross, then Helen Messic, was instrumental in forming an on-island support group of volunteers, donors and philanthropists for the then struggling organization. In 1983 she became the first president of the Hospice Guild of Palm Beach where she was soon joined by a brigade of Palm Beachers who 35 years later continue to make Hospice support a priority.
Among the evening’s guests were Mark W. Cook, Lore Dodge, Heather Henry, Piper and Sara Quinn, Renee Wood, Boaz Mazor, Susan Lloyd, Talbott Maxey, Amy Phelan, Nannette Cassidy, Tim and Susan Malloy, Harold and Carol Baxter, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Mike and Julie Connors, Ann and Charles Johnson, James and Gaye Engel, Vicky and Sam Hunt, Melinda and Tom Hassen, Amanda and Chuck Schumacher, Cathy and John Flagg, Desmond and Ann Heathwood, Lucy Musso, Tom Quick, Cam, Dee Dee, and Gary Harris, Carol and Bob Garvy, Wally and Betsy Turner, David and Nicole Atkinson, and Joel Griffin and Leslie Fox.
“Island Night.” Palm Beach – January 11, 2018. Kenan Pavilion, terrace. View west across Intracoastal Waterway from Palm Beach to West Palm Beach’s skyline.
Mark Cook, 2015-2016 co-chairman and foundation treasurer, with 2017 co-chairmen Heather Henry and Piper Quinn.
Talbottt Maxey, the evening’s honorary chairmen and 2016 chairman.
An umbrella valet safely ushers Joe and Leslie Griffin up the steps to Whitehall’s portico.
7 PM – Grand Hall
Reception
Vicky and Sam Hunt.
Homage Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014)
Tom and Melinda Hassen. The event’s chair in 2006-2007, Melinda wore Oscar de la Renta. Cathy and Jack Flagg.
Jean Amoroso. Susan Cowie. Bridget Baratta.
Christy Pope. Mary Freitas.
Backstage
Model makeovers and finishing touches.
As guests were arriving, the caterers began plating the first course of a Rubik’s Cube salad plated for 250. The eclectic menu included the kaleidoscopic Rubik’s Cube dressed with jicama, orange tequila vinaigrette and cilantro oil, followed by a sirloin centerpiece atop a sweet potato mash and finished with a triple-threat dessert.
Sound check.
In the Grand Hall
Jorie Butler Kent and Reute Butler.
Michael Lorber, Michael Lizanich, and Don Burns. Don Schefmeyer. Mr. Schefmeyer knows his way around a catwalk. He and his wife Coco were co-chairs of the Cat’s Meow Ball that benefits the Palm Beach Island Cats organization.
Susan Lloyd and Jason Laskey.
Douglas Read with Andrea and Matt Mercer.
Percy Steinhart with Audrey and Martin Gruss.
John and Lisa Cregan.
Robert Nederlander.
Piper Quinn, the event’s co-chair. The cocktail hour was sponsored by Bacardi USA Inc.
Melinda Hassen with Charles and Ann Johnson.
Scott Snyder and Candy Hamm.
Chris Ruddy and Patrick Killian.
8PM – West Room
Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach presents Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2018 Collection
Mark Cook introduced Jeff Gehrlich, the new general manager of SFA Worth Avenue, moments before the runway show.
“49 Looks.” Run of the show, Oscar de la Renta Spring 2018 Collection.
Ringside.
Runway Highlights
An appreciative audience.
Heads turn.
8:30– Kenan Pavilion
Dinner & Dancing
Kenan Pavilion.
Kenan Pavilion.
DJ Mad Marj (Marjorie Gubelmann) kept the vibe moving.
Kenan Pavilion.
Kenan Pavilion, west elevation.
10:30 pm.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur