Anniversary Celebrations, Mexican Fiestas, and Endless Kisses

The scene at Asia Society's 50th anniversary celebration.

Last Thursday night at the Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom, the Asia Society celebrated its 50th anniversary. They honored David Rockefeller and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. Senator Rockefeller’s father John D. III founded the Society in 1956 with the objective of creating an international organization dedicated to strengthening relationships and deepening understanding among the peoples of Asia and the United States.

At the time the late Mr. Rockefeller’s vision was desperately needed and regarded as humanitarian but not prescient for much of Asia was under the domination of Mao Tse-Tung of Red China. And because of Mao’s influence, along with the Soviet's sphere of interest, Viet Nam was then a festering political wound on the international agenda. Furthermore poverty wracked much of that part of the world.

The American people were then only a little more than decade removed from the war with Japan . And so Asia was very much a mystery, and albeit, an unpleasant one to the American public, and not a particularly interesting one. Mr. Rockefeller’s interest and subsequent activity in founding the Society was crucial in overcoming the public ignorance and even hostility toward that part of the world.

Today all of Asia is the focus of economic interests to the West. The Asia Society’s 50th was therefore truly a gala celebration. Dinner chairmen were Richard Holbrooke, Chairman of the Board of the Asia Society, Vishakha N. Desai, President and the Trustees of the Society. Honorary chairmen were The Honorable Hushang Ansary, The Honorable Henry Kissinger, the Honorable Roy M. Huffington and the Honorable John C. Whitehead. Gala Chairs were Debra and Leon Black, Janet and Arthur Ross, Citigroup-Stephen H. Long, Lisina and Frank Hoch, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, Edwin Soeryadjaya, Susy and Jack Wadsworth, Warburg Pincus – Charles R. Kaye, and David A Coulter.

The evening produced a huge turnout with many Rockefellers on hand as well as many economically influential New Yorkers. The following day, Friday, saw the opening of a major Asia Society exhibition – “A Passion for Asia: the Rockefeller Family Collects.” This exhibition at the Asia Society and Museum at 725 Park Avenue will be open to the public through September 3rd.

Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Donald Newhouse
Vishakha Desai, Henry Kissinger, Jay Rockefeller, and Nancy Kissinger
Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Vishakha Desai, Charles Rockefeller, and Roy Huffington
Happy Rockefeller
Henry Kissinger, Justin Rockefeller, and Vishakha Desai
Nane and Kofi Annan with Vishakha Desai
Kofi Annan, Happy Rockefeller, and Sheila Platt
Patsy Davis and Joel Klein
Ruth Newman and Bob Kerrey
Peggy Dulany and David Rockefeller

Charles Rockefeller and Payal Chaudhri

Devorah Rose

Jardine Wall
Nancy and John Whitehead
Ronnie Chan
Neville Isdell
Senator Jay Rockefeller and John C. Whitehead
Susan Lynch

Ginny Bond Donohue, Phoebe Gubelmann, Celerie Kemble, Talbott Maxey, Nicole Munder, Binkie Orthwein and Holly Dunlap were the hosts. The Hollywould Boutique at 36 Via Mizner in Palm Beach was the location. And a Mexican Fiesta celebrating the Hollywould spring collection (inspired by the jungles of Meh-hi-co, of course) was the occasion. And just to keep things on the up-and-up (and up-and-up-and-up) Bacardi stirred in a few delicious details, offering fabulous drinks such as the Bacardi “Limon Mojito Stiletto” for a little-a-that sting and a zing. There was another sponsor too: Gaulthier – who had their jewelry on display in the boutique (as well as on the hostesses). Leonard Negril on the steel drums provided the audio inspirations, along with his dancing parrots (not everyone doesn’t work in Palm Beach).

The atmosphere outside the Hollywould Boutique

Among the stellar and sun-washed guests: Holly Dunlap of course, Lori and Michael Bernstein, Ginny Bond, Merrill and Robert Debbs, Cornelia Ercklentz, Piper Quinn, Troy and Debbie Maschmeyer, Talbott Maxey, Nicole and Ryan Munder, Jessica and Shawn McGruder, Fernanda Niven, Binkie and Christopher Orthwein, Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler, Missy and Todd Savage, and Peggy Siegal making one of her rare Palm Beach guest appearances on her way out west to the Oscars and the “other” Hollywood.

Charlie Kappler, Alex Snyder, and Jane and Gordon Brown
Chris Bitting, Carolyn Broadhead, Lesli Brown, and Chris Orthwein
Christine Strawbridge, Binkie Orthwein, and Talbott Maxey
Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler in Gauthier Jewelry, Holly Dunlap, and Liz Walker
Brad, Tucker, and Toby Peters
Carol and Scott Williams
Ginny Bond Donahue in Hollywould and Gauthier with Tracy Smith
Leta and India Foster
Locke and Lily Maddock
Nicole Robinson, Stuart McLean, and Missy Savage
Ryan and Nicole Munder in Hollywould
Sara Marrcco
Sarah and Tim Schwarz
Ginny Bond Donahue, Peggy Siegal, and Talbott Maxey
Jessica and Dana Koch
Kate Parker and Karin Ross
Ginny Bond Donahue, Binkie Orthwein, Talbott Maxey, and Holly Dunlop
Jill Weitzman, David Drucker, and Lori Bernstein
Kate and Tom Gilbane with Lily Holt Dillon
Theo Kypreos, Matt Rundels, and Dave Herbrig
Peter Weiss, Natasha Austin, and Steven Marcus
Gauthier Jewelry display

Endless Kisses — On Valentine's Day, now another major excuse to go out on the town at night, it was not a lonely affair at the new hotspot Pre-Post on West 27th Street where the prolific, peripatetic, ubiquitous photographer Patrick McMullan hosted a party to celebrate the release of his new book of party photographs, "KISS KISS."

The holiday and book were inspirational and so many of the “kissing” guests were blowing kisses every which way – by air, cheek-to-cheek and of course the inevitable lip-locking. Patrick probably got another book out of it. Or would have if he weren’t so busy autographing this new one.

Among the happy kissers were couples Anne Hearst and her funny Valentine, novelist Jay McInerney, Ara and Rachel Hovnanian, Nikki Haskell and Leroy Neiman -- kissin’ cousins from way back; Judy Licht and Jerry Della Femina, Debra and DeJuan Stroud, Jamee and Peter Gregory and Eva and Brendan Dillon.

The club’s owners Gary Malhotra, Carlo Seneca, John Englebert, and Ed Sanger, with the assistance of public relations guru R. Couri Hay and Inna DeSilva welcomed more than 300 guests all set to exchange kisses and enjoy dinner and fabulous Valentine's Day cocktails (could they be anything but with that list of hosts?) including the signature PRE:POST Love Potion (you had to be there). 

Meanwhile baisez-moi, baisez-moi, the place was wall to wall uptown socialites like Barbie Bancroft, Bettina Zilkha, the aforementioned Eva Dillon, the frequently mentioned Somers Farkas, Elaine Sargent, Felicia Taylor, Debbie Bancroft, Michele Gerber Klein, Alice Judelson, Melissa Berkelhammer and Alison Minton – all enjoying the fabulous American Bistro fare (hey, is this some kind of press release?). Then there was the fashion set (never discriminated against by the social set, believe me), including Nicole Miller, Heatherette's Richie Rich, Anna Kiladze of Helen Yarmak Furs, Douglas Hannant and Frederick Anderson, Anand Jon with Piana Tang and Kathy Lee Jones, Joanna Mastroianni and husband Gideon Lewin, Estee, Sharon Elkayam of Secrets of Charm and Anait Bian, sipped on cocktails and took in the décor which included a nude Adam and Eve on the main buffet table (presumably certified by the Board of Health or at least pre-washed like the salad greens).

Barbara Bancroft, Anne Hearst, and Jamee Gregory

The VIP section hosted dark shearling-garbed lighting guru Bentley Meeker who took note of the rose hued ambiance (because he cudda done it better?), Sam Winch and Rebecca Silver, Alan Slatas, Margie Beck, Kevin Downs, Anton Perich, Collette, Jamie Drake, Sam Winch (him again?), Rebecca Silver (and her again?), Mona Wyatt, Mark Gilbertson, Zoe Bullock, Andrew Fitzsimons, Luigi Tadini, Matt Semino, Michel Witmer and Dino Rivero dished about everything from the décor to the hors d'oevres, to those passing them Butler Style by the handsome wait staff.   

The Bachelor's Alex Michel, was enjoying one of the restaurant's rustic birch-covered (no, not bitch-covered!) booths with an unidentified date (don’t worry, he could identify her) not seen on the TV show; while Tina Louise mingled near George Whipple who was in between taping his interview with Patrick in front of the suede covered banquettes.

Michael Lucas, John Paulus and Victoria's Secret model Larissa Bond picked up issues of "KISS KISS" and scanned the pages of celebrities and socialites (looking for themselves first), while others signed up to take a copy of Patrick's book home.

One person not on the PRE:POST list but who was more than welcome was Bruce Willis, who happened into the party while searching the street for another event (you’ve heard that one before?). Stars you see, can never “crash” a party. Patrick welcomed the only-briefly-lost actor with his usual flair and warm hospitality, even signing a copy of "KISS KISS" which has a photo featuring the star and from that moment on Brucie-baby was right at home.

Others not about to miss out on the good time being had by all by all being had by all (oh never mind): the inimitable Michael Musto who could have given this press release some real juice (and maybe a few blind items about the clientele thrown in), Dennis Basso and Michael Cominotto, Fiona Byrne, Jorge Perez, Jessica Seneca, Danielle and Danny Del Rosso, Jason Witcher, Kat Cohen, Elena Stephanopoulos, Dr. Mark Warfel, Stephen Coyle, Simone Klabin, Beverly Feldman, Chantal McLaughlin, Dejan Mirkovic, Jeremiah Silva and Zander Blek.

Alison Minton and Maria Boyazny
LeRoy Neiman and Nikki Haskell
Luigi Tadini, Dustin Higgins, and Melissa Berkelhammer
Michael Musto, R. Couri Hay, and Elena Stephanopoulos
L. to r.: Bruce Willis and Patrick McMullan; Joanna Mastroianni and Gideon Lewin.
Michel Witmer and Dino Rivera
Patrick McMullan and Tina Louise
Richie Rich and Fiona Byrne
Simone Klabin, Marcia Grostein, and Michele Gerber Klein
Zoe Bullock and Andrejka Bernatova
Kat Cohen and Herve Larretche
Eva Dillon and Jamie Drake
Frederick Anderson, Michael Cominotto, Dennis Basso, and Douglas Hannant
Anait Bian and Luigi Tadini
Fiona Byrne and Bentley Meeker
Ewelina Biszczak, Diana Peng, Anand Jon, and Lauren Elise
Nicole Miller and Jay McInerney

Photographs by Joe Schildhorn/©Patrick McMullan (Asia Society); Lucien Capehart (Hollywould); Christian Grattan/©Patrick McMullan (Kiss Kiss).


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com