Venetian Heritage visits the Bay Area
The Group gathers at the Getty home
by Jeanne Lawrence

Venetian Heritage, under the auspices of President Muffy Miller and Vice Chairman Pierre Durand, was tantalized by the invitation of new San Francisco Vice President Trevor Traina (one of four VP’s) to come west to see all that San Francisco and Napa Valley have to offer.

Traditionally, the cultural jet-setters head to some historic and glamorous locale in Europe. The last trips were to Venice and Genoa.

Trevor is the son of Dede Buchanan Traina Wilsey, whose father was Chief of Protocol under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John Traina, once married to novelist Danielle Steele.

Venetian Heritage is dedicated to preserving the art and architecture of Venice around the world. It also raises funds for preservation projects through lectures, concerts, parties, and cultural visits to palaces, churches, private homes, and museums. It recently completed the restoration of the central portal of the Narthex of the Basilica of San Marco.

One of the many tour highlights was the invitation to the Broadway mansion of grand-dame Dodie Rosekrans, a big supporter of V.H.

Dodie was in Europe, probably shuttling between her pied-a-terre in Paris and Palazzo Brandolini in Venice, but she was ever so generous to open her home to fellow supporters.

Most don’t know that Dodie, with her individualistic and flamboyant sense of style, was one of the original backers of French designer John Galliano.

In attendance were Tom Quick, Saundra Whitney and Paul Wallace, the Wathne sisters — Thorunn, Berge and Sofia, Audrey Gruss, Agamemnon Koliatsos, Brett Price, Daisy and Danna Swarovski, Ian Graham, Kipton Cronkite, Jose Carlino, François Borne, Frances de Bretteville Blair and Edward Blair.

VH director, Jamee Gregory, flew in from New York and shares her first-hand account of their whirlwind trip. 

The photos are courtesy of SF photographer Thomas Gibbons, whose family hails from NY and seems to cover every event in the Bay area.  Whenever does he sleep?

Jackie Weld Drake and Mario Buatta
Monica Noel

Daisy Soros

Betsey Lovett

Wathne sisters a trois

Muffy Miller

Clockwise from top left: A warm welcome at the Rosekrans mansion; Jamee Gregory, Muffy Miller, and Isabella Rayburn; Alyne Massey; Paul Wallace and Sandra Whitney.

By Jamee Gregory

Who but dashing Trevor Traina could unlock the doors of San Francisco's most illustrious homes for Venetian Heritage's loyal supporters?

The week kicked off with a cocktail party hosted by Trevor and Jane Gammill for my book, New York Apartments, in Neiman Marcus' legendary Rotunda.

Nieman Marcus 'landmark' rotunda restaurant
Author Jamee Gregory book signing at Neiman Marcus

The following evening, Gammill and her handsome husband Lee invited the tour members to meet some of the city's most glamorous types at the celebrated architectural gem, the Pacific Union Club. Diane Chapman Kelly organized lunch at Balboa Cafe, the Western equivalent of Swifty's.

By Wednesday evening, the entire group arrived, with its fearless leaders, Muffy Miller and Pierre Durand in tow, for a delicious dinner at Dede Wilsey's magnificent home in Pacific Heights.

Her diamonds dazzled. One, as big as a small canoe, stretched the length of her delicate finger, keeping one's eyes off the paintings and on her, especially those stunning heart-shaped rocks on each of her ears.

At the crack of dawn, the tour began with visits to the video collection of Pam and Richard Kramlich. Everyone, including Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Julien de Rothschild, Linda de Picciotto, Alyne Massey, Pat Patterson, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Jackie Weld, Betsy Lovett, John Mashek, was enlightened and surprised by some of the material, embracing the new medium and appreciating Mathew Barney's works.

At Dede Wilsey's home with John Mashek
de Young Museum Director Harry Parker and Pat Patterson
Monica Noel and John Traina
Paul Soros and Mai Harrison
Hilary Geary Ross
Alexis Swanson, Ghislain D'Humieres, and Isabella del Frate
Pierrre Durand, Alexis Swanson, and Ghislain D'Humieres
Bedazzled with bejeweled

Lunch was hosted by the delightful Maria Manetti Farrow at the chic, flower-filled Quince restaurant.

Gordon Getty sings for his supper

Visits followed to Norah and Norman Stone's home, where the views rivaled the magnificent art; Frances and the late John Bowes’ museum quality collection; and a private guided tour of the de Young with its charming director, Harry Parker. Privileged to visit before the gala reopening, the tour members admired Herzog and de Meuron's visionary architecture that does not dwarf the collections but brilliantly displays the museum's treasures.

Dinner at Ann and Gordon Getty's was a major highlight. Lavish garlands of hydrangeas and grapes encircled the ceiling's glorious arches and covered the candlelit banquettes, in a home filled with so many treasures that it puts ‘le style Rothschild’ to shame. Or, at least, gives it some good all-American competition! No wonder Gordon Getty broke into song! Who wouldn't crow?

President Muffy Miller and Vice President Trevor Traina
Ann Getty, hostess with the mostess

The Wathne sisters

Bob Gotcher, Alyne Massey, and Vice Chairman Pierre Durand
Jose Carlino, Audrey Gruss, and Trevor Traina
Clockwise from top left: Lucky Seven; Rest for the weary; And to your left ...
Mai Hallingby Harrison
Jackie Weld Drake amidst the splendor

Linda di Picciotto and Audrey Gruss

Architect Peter Marino
Skyy Vodka founder Maurice Kanbar and Beth Townsend

Pat Patterson, Tom Quick, and Muffy Miller

Service de Table
Trevor Traina toasts the hosts
Taking a break
Wilbur and Hilary Ross, Jose Carlino, and Audrey Gruss
Maria Quiros, Adorean Boleancu, Beth Townsend, and Brandt Hooker
Gordon regales his pals

The next day, delightful Doris Fisher led our group through a private tour of the GAP's extraordinary collection of art, as well as through her husband Donald's private floor, pointing out the depth and breath of their treasures. Everyone loved her as much as they adored the Modern Masters!

Trevor Traina pulled out all the stops in his sexy townhouse, with dark floors and white walls and important art and photographs. Hundreds of orchid sprays made a canopy over the groups’ heads as they savored wines from his girlfriend Alexis Swanson's vineyard and relaxed on his lush green velvet banquettes. A Lucite wall filled with more white orchids was quite a backdrop for the revelers.

L. to r.: Chez 'Trevor'; Verdant place settings.
Donald and Muffy Miller
Kipton Cronkite

Former NYer Sloan Lindemann Barnett and Colin Cowie

Linda de Picciotto and Ghislain D'Humieres
Alexis Swanson and Jamee Gregory

Betsy Lovett with Trevor and Tippy, Trevor's Jack Russell

Alison Speer and Alexis Swanson
Trevor, Audrey Gruss, and Jose Carolino

Mario Buatta

Dinner is served

Top left: Trevor Traina's welcome. Bottom left: Pierre Durand, Ghislain D'Humieres, Alexis Swanson, and Julien de Rothschild. Above: Tippy says its time to go.
Board Member Peter Marino received full praise as the tour headed to the home of Sloan and Roger Barnett that, just two minutes before, Peter had completed. An Indian lunch was served on sari-covered tablecloths by waiters wrapped in bejeweled belts. Tables filled with fresh mint, currants, spices, and marigolds delighted the hungry art lovers who admired those Marino touches of lacquer and paisley, not to mention the Murakami mushroom sculptures and that view!

Mario Buatta led the group to Ann and Charles Johnson's famous chateau, Carolands, and its 98 rooms. Those magnificent Buatta beds beckoned as everyone hiked through the elegant rooms, stopping for a gracious tea.

Next day, it was off to the Napa Valley where Baroness Philippine de Rothschild hosted a tour through her magnificent Opus One, a joint venture with Robert Mondavi.

Sipping the fruit of this Franco-American triumph put the group in a glorious mood as they continued on to lunch at Napa Reserve, the new private club, and to taste more wine at the Harlan Winery.

After resting at Trevor Traina's home, surrounded by acres of vines just ripe for the harvest, everyone was off to a private dinner at the French Laundry, welcomed by Thomas Keller himself. Nine courses later, the contented group headed for their bus, dreaming blissfully of a week in heaven!

April 7, 2006, Volume VI, Number 59
Photographs by Thomas Gibbons


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/