Last Thursday night. A lot going on around town.
Looking north on Fifth Avenue and 56th Street. 2:15 PM. Photo: JH.
Fashion Week rushes on and so did the rain, remnants of Hurricane Francis.

Tory Burch, the New York and Philadelphia socialite who has her own very successful clothing line (Tory for TRB) and her own shop in NoLita (north of Little Italy), had a cocktail reception for the premiere of her own boutique at Bergdorf’s. “A comprehensive lifestyle collection that evokes a classic feeling of the past combined with a discerning, modern sensibility that includes a focus on sportswear and accessories,” according to the press release – so you get the picture if you don’t already know.

Tory Burch
Between a business lunch, Michael Vollbracht’s Bill Blass show, getting the Friday Diary out so that I could hit a few parties before dinner ... I missed it. But Tory has lots of friends among the social set and the boldfaced names and many, I am told, were on hand to lend support and pick up a few new items too, such as Kelly Bensimon, Muffie Potter Aston, Susan Burch, CeCe Cord, Annie Churchill, Gillian Hearst, Mary McFadden, Richard and Marcia Mishaan, Pamela Gross, Alexandra Lind Rose and Ann Caruso.

Right across the street (57th and Fifth) Tiffany was holding a “Make A Noise For the New York Public Library” Party inaugurating a fund-raising campaign while, among other things, showing us the newly completed store renovations – including a sweeping staircase between the 3rd and 4th floors – and a host of table setting by authors Candace Bushnell, Pamela Clarke Keogh, Penny Proddow, Marion Fasel and the fabulous Gloria Vanderbilt, who was there with her now famous son, CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

That afternoon Roger Webster, a public relations man who works with Couri Hay had called to ask if I’d go down to the Leica Gallery on Broadway and Bond where Brendan Fraser was having an exhibition (his first) of photographs. First of all, Roger never steers you wrong, and second of all Brendan Fraser is a movie star. So I said I’d stop by.
Roger called me back a few minutes later to tell me that Brendan Fraser was expecting me. Well, that’s impressive, no? So about 7:15, the next day’s Diary filed, I hopped in a cab and eighteen minutes and twenty bucks later I was at the Leica Gallery at 670 Broadway. I didn’t have a lot of time because I wanted to get uptown to Christie’s where they were having a party for Amy Fine Collins and her new book, The God of Driving.

So, the pictures tell the rest of the Brendan Fraser at the Leica Gallery Story:
1. I walked into the Leica Gallery, no sign of the star except ...
2. The self-portrait.
3. Turning the corner I see him surrounded by an admiring crowd. He’s kind of scruffy looking (I’m thinking of that Firesign Theatre line: “lives of poor people as told rich Hollywood stars…”), hair askew, couple of days’ beard, looks like he just rolled out of bed or off the plane (or maybe both).
4. I figured I’d get a shot of him talking to the people – that way we’ve got some material (it’s all about the publicity). So there he is articulating something, searching for the right word. Interestingly, the camera covers for a lot of the aforementioned; it likes him ... a lot. You can see just observing the man and his body language that he’s a very nice guy, apparently attitude-less a rarity among that breed of cat.
5. & 6. I decide rather than wait in line to have a word that I’d first take a look at some of his work.
7. Ahh, he likes dogs, another good sign. I wondered if one (or maybe all) were his. 8. Wrapping up a conversation with someone, he’s checking out the guy’s business card. As soon as the guy left, I introduced myself. He thanked me effusively for coming by. He’s about my height (6’4”), and a big guy. He looks you right in the eye. I told him I wanted to get a picture of him taking a picture. “Oh, let me take a picture of you,” he said. “Nah,” I said – “I really don’t like having my picture taken” (believe or not; I always feel self-conscious and always can see it in the result). “But you’re so handsome,” he said (I’m thinking “imagine, a movie star telling me I’m handsome ... that’s real honest to god humility, no? Or at least lack of vanity.)
9. He agrees to let me take his picture taking my picture. And there you have it. I thanked him and just as I was leaving, he reminded me that it was MOST IMPORTANT to let it be known that all proceeds from the sales of his photographs will go to the Fireman’s Funds of NYFD. Most important. Don’t forget; it’s important to all of us.

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And that was my Brendan Fraser moment. Worth the trip. For more information about his photographic exhibition, call the Leica Gallery 212-777-3051.

Amy Fine Collins and Ron Rosenthal
Rain stopped when I got back out onto Broadway. Muggy though, heavy traffic. I decided to hop a subway back uptown – much faster – to make it to Amy Fine Collins' party before it was over.

There were Bentleys everywhere – they were hosting the party along with Simon & Schuster, Amy’s publisher and Vanity Fair magazine whom Amy writes for. You just wanted to get in and drive one away. $350,000 later, or whatever they cost. Fat chance DPC. Meanwhile, there were bars set up inside and out (for the smokers). There was a silent auction which, if you got it at the right price (fat chance DPC) had some terrific items such as:

Deluxe Balcony Stateroom for two aboard a six-day transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary II; Kwiat Diamond Right Hand Ring; Molina Diamond Right Hand Ring; Daniel K Diamond Right Hand Ring; Weekend in a Bentley Continental GT; Weekend at Claridge’s in London; Package to the Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School; LambertsonTruex Purse; Manolo Blahnik gift certificate; 30 hours of driving lessons with Attila – the "God of Driving."
Caroline Campion and Georgia Lawther
Darlene Lutz and Mish Tworkowski
Christopher Mason
Charlie Scheips and Jim Brosseau
Joe Lupo and Peggy Siegal
Patrick McDonald
Click on image to order
According to my spies who’d not done the downtown before the uptown and therefore had some time to have a look around, among the boldfaces in the crowd were many who’d been over to Tory Burch’s party at Bergdorfs and then the Library party at Tiffany’s, and then some: Attila (the “God of Driving”), Jonathan Adler, Simon Doonan, Earl and Countess Rufus Albemarle, Dr. Sherrell and Muffie Potter Aston, Richard Avedon, Graydon Carter, Anna Scott, Cece Cord, Robert Couturier, Jennifer and Larry Creel, Joanne and Roberto de Guardiola, Jeffrey Podolsky and Milly de Cabrol, Beth Rudin De Woody, Dominick Dunne, Ahn Duong; Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Reynaldo and Carolina Herrera, Gale Hayman Haseltine, Susan Fales-Hill and Aaron Hill, Ann Jones, Nan Kempner, Henry and Leila Hadley Luce, Mary McFadden, Georgette Mosbacher, Patti Raynes, Lyn Revson, Marina Rust, Ivana Trump, Conchita Sarnoff, Anne Slater, R.L. Stine, Simon Winchester, Bettina Zilkha.

And of course, our authoress, chic as ever,
in her always Geoffrey Beene best. Amy Fine Collins is one of those (now rare) New Yorkers who is always turned out impeccably, always, as I said, in Geoffrey Beene. There’s a thoroughness, an attention to detail, as well as a refinement which you get in all of her Vanity Fair stories too. I haven’t read the book yet but I know from knowing Amy that I’m in for a surprise as well as some enlightenment about something I thought I already knew everything about.
Vanessa von Bismarck
A Bentley on view ...
... and yet another
L. to r.: Len Morgan, Angus Willkie, Nancy Novogrod, Robert Couturier, and Alex Hitz; Mark Gilbertson and Di Petrov; Roy and Mallory Kean.
The evening was capped off by a dinner at ChinChin at 216 East 49th Street, the “restaurant chinois” where saw among the discerningly serene diners, Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi (who’s just published his memoir – Scaasi: Women I Have Dressed and Undressed) and Ahmet and Mica Ertegun, back in town after their annual summer sojourn to Turkey.

Tribute of Lights. September 11th, 2004. Photo: Charles Miller.

September 13, 2004, Volume IV, Number 143
Photographs by DPC/


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