A Gala dinner, dining fashionistas, and hungry Floridians

The Merchant’s House Museum hosted a Gala 19th Century Dinner “A Different Affair …” at the historic India House in lower Manhattan. The multi-course dinner featured haute cuisine that evoked the era of the Astors and the Vanderbilts when people sat down to dine on several courses over a period of a two or three hours.

Table setting by Rusty Thomas Entertainment Design

The evening was inspired by a passage from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence in which she wrote:

… But a big dinner, with a hired chef and two borrowed footmen, with Roman punch, roses from Henderson's, and menus on gilt-edged cards, was a different affair, and not to be lightly undertaken.  As Mrs. Archer remarked, the Roman punch made all the difference, not in itself but by its manifold implications--since it signified either canvas-backs or terrapin, two soups, a hot and a cold sweet, full décolletage with short sleeves, and guests of a proportionate importance.

The setting for the dinner was the magnificent 1924
ballroom at historic India House on Hanover Square, with its oval skylight designed by Delano & Aldrich. Eberhard Müller, renowned chef at Bayard’s, and former top toque at Lutèce, created the historically correct and elegant multi-course menu for the occasion … complete with Roman punch. Guests were encouraged to attend the event in 19th-century dress.

Built in 1832, the Merchant’s House is New York City’s only family home preserved intact, inside and out, from the 19th century, and is the City's prime example of a Greek Revival townhouse. Home to a prosperous merchant family for almost 100 years -- and complete with its original furniture, decorative arts, and personal memorabilia -- the Merchant’s House, located on 29 East Fourth Street, offers an intimate and authentic glimpse of domestic life of a wealthy family during the period when New York was transforming from a colonial seaport to a thriving metropolis.

It is one of only 2,000 sites designated as a National Historic Landmark and has been given landmark status in New York City for its late-Federal brick exterior as well as for its Greek Revival interiors. The House is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, Mr. and Mrs. Schuyler Chapin, and Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hardy were Honorary Co-Chairs of the evening. Proceeds from “A Different Affair …” will benefit the Merchant House Museum’s Restoration, Collections Conservation, and Public Education Programs.

Nick Nicholson, Pi Gardiner, and John Oden

John and Veronica McNiff, Shari Elf, and Randy Polumbo

Suzanne Santry and Jeanette Wagner

Hugh and Tiziana Hardy with David Morton

Eva Ulz, Adrian Benepe, and Pi Gardiner

Charles Clarke, Patricia Roberts, and Clarence Michalis

Helen Bonebrake, Pi Gardiner, John Oden, and Mrs. James Teague

Helen Bonebrake, Harriet Clark, and James Teague

Richard Sammons, Suzanne Santry, Joseph Dixon, and Anne Fairfax

David Morton, Shair Elf, David Santry, and Randy Polumbo

John McNiff, Catia Chapin, and Jacqueline de Sibour

John Ryan III, Clarence Michalis, and Veronica McNiff

Paul Wagner, Tiziana and Hugh Hardy, and Wendy Chaix

Laurent Chaix, Duane Hampton, John Dobkin, and Patricia Pope

Entertainment for the evening

Mr. James Teague, Duncan McNiff, Christina Yorkston, and Henry Clark

L. to r.: Flowers by Rusty Thomas; Emma O'Neil and William Sofield.

Lisa Lachowetz and Michael Devonshire

Wendy and Laurent Chaix

Eva Ulz in an 1875 evening dress

Nancy Paduano, Pi Gardiner, and Dan Paduano

Mayda Cisneros, Miami’s chicest boutique, hosted a luncheon featuring an unusual trunk show of the Elsie Katz Vintage collection where guests were invited to come play dress up for the day.

The invitation set the tone by featuring a paper doll surrounded by accessories. A buffet lunch was prepared by a private chef and the ladies drank champagne and browsed through the racks and picked from designers Matthew Williamson, The Wrights,  Normandy Monroe, Y & Kei and the boutique’s signature Mayda Cisneros Collection.  

Guests included Kristen Munroe, Dana Shear, Lydia Prio Touzet, Coco Torre - Palenque, Vivian Kurzweil, Colleen Schiff, and Charlotte Hicks.

Cohen Schiff and Inez Gomez

Vivianna Kurzweil and Faye Bochner
Carol Bell and Marysol Patton

Charlotte Hicks and Kristen Munroe

Mayda Cisneros and Dana Shear
Colleen Schiff and Lydia Toussete

Mercy Masvidal and Pilar Larraz

Mayita Emery and Pupi Perez-Abrey
A perfect fit
The same night as the Merchant’s House Gala benefit downtown, uptown on Madison Avenue, Dolce and Gabbana staged a dinner and fashion presentation hosted by Camilla Al Fayed, Nina Davidson, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Guests included: Dolce & Gabbana President Glenn McMahon, Jackie Astier, Martina and Fabian Basabe, Kelly Bensimon, Fabiola Beracasa, Jennifer Creel, Adelina Ettelson, Lorinda Ash Ezersky, Jamee Gregory, Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, Jessica Joffe, Sale Johnson, Ahmad Rashad, Deborah Peltz, Daniella Rich, Rachel Roy, Damon Dash, Fiona Rudin, Jacqueline Sackler, Marielle Safra, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Eleanor Ylvasaker, and Muffie Potter Aston.

A percentage of the evening’s sales benefited the Food Allergy Initiative.

Hostesses Nina Davidson, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, and Camilla Al Fayed with Glenn McMahon

Jennifer Raines, Jason Pomeranc, Ali Wise, and Eleanor Ylvisaker.

Cristiano Raimondi, Martina Basabe, and Fabian Basabe

Simone Levinson
Denise and Larry Wohl

Jennifer Creel

Sale Johnson
Valerie Boster and Sofia Totti

Amanda Smith

Donna D'Cruz
Genevieve Jones
Gillian Miniter
Lisa Falcone

Adelina Ettelson and Stacey Pashcow

Caroline Berthet and Daniella Rich
Fabiola Beracasa and Marielle Safra

Photographs by Billy Farrell/©Patrick McMullan (D&G).


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