|Along for the ride. 4:30 PM. Photo: JH.|
|May 8, 2012. A mainly grey day in New York with occasion dappling of sunshine, with temperatures in the high 50s and raindrops falling on our heads around dinnertime.
On the calendar in New York last night. The magnificent Victor Garber was honored last night by the Actors Company Theatre at their Spring Gala at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. Cocktails, dinner, entertainment in the Manhattan countryside.
Also over at Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center (in the Time Warner complex), Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) was holding its annual event for Collegebound Initiative. Ann Tisch is the founder and president of this and it is life-changing for many young women. Go here  to find out.
|Flourishing flower boxes on Park Avenue.|
|Over at the University Club, the Institute for Classical Architecture & Classical America was holding its annual Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition. Yes there were a lot of architects present. Architects, classicists, planners and artists are under the radar but right up there in the socio-cultural mix of influence and prominence in New York.
Meanwhile, I went down to 425 East 61st Street where Iris Cantor was dedicating the first Iris Cantor Men’s Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Iris donated $20 million to establish what they are calling a “comprehensive, one-stop-shopping center for Men’s Health."
Ten years ago, Iris funded the start up of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Today, 40% of patients treated there are men, most often brought in by the women in their lives.
That was the signal to Iris. “Time for men to have a place of their own for comprehensive health care,” she concluded. The Iris Cantor Women’s Health Care Center has served close to 90,000 women and men since it started. Iris initially took on the project because she believes “convenience is an incentive to health.”
I first met Iris a number of years ago through our mutual friend Raul Suarez. I knew of her, of course, the widow of the fabulously rich B. Gerald Cantor, with whom she amassed the most important collection of the works of Auguste Rodin in the world. She had lived in Los Angeles, as did I, and that was, for me, our initial bond.
|Philanthropist Iris Cantor introducing the new Iris Cantor Men's Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.|
|After her introduction, Iris left the tent and went outside with her associates including Dr. Herbert Pardes and Dr. Mehmet Oz, as well as John Mack and John Desiderio, Iris' longtime companion (far left).|
|Ribbon cut, open for business.|
|I later learned that she is the biggest woman philanthropist in America today. When you meet her, she’s a friendly lady who loves a good laugh. She’s got a dry but witty sense of humor. There’s not two ways about her, she’s always Iris. But philanthropy at that level is serious business and Iris is a deeply serious businesswoman about it. She knows why she’s doing it. She knows whom it's for. She’s also a very generous donor to the Metropolitan Museum which houses a significant part of the Cantor collection of Rodin.
Last night’s event was the ribbon cutting, the official opening of the Center, followed by a tour of the facility. I took the pictures of the video screen inside the tent that had been set up for the reception. It was there where Iris gave her speech about the opening. Then she and several others exited outside to the front of the new Center.
|Iris and the staff before going on the tour of the new facility after the ribbon cutting.|
|Last night was also the Annual Met Costume Institute Ball, as the world knows. One NYSD reader whom I had been exchanging emails earlier in the evening with remarked that I obviously wasn’t watching it on television – although I didn’t know it was on television, so that gave me even greater insight.
The Met Costume Ball was launched during the later era of Diana Vreeland who became the director after she was unceremoniously dumped from Vogue, and replaced by Grace Mirabella. It was said that a couple of women here in New York (Babe Paley was one), got together and funded Vreeland’s annual salary at the Costume Institute, to give her some income and a deserved place.
With Vreeland came all the fashionable New York women of the day, two or three generations of them. Jackie, Babe, Pat Buckley, Nan, Chessy and on and on down through the Ninas and Carolynes and Gayfryds et al. Those were Vreeland’s stars. They represented a kind of New York that is mainly memory now, although many of the younger set are still around and about.
The Met Costume Ball now belongs to another Vogue editor – the one who has outlasted them all, or rather almost all (Edna Woolman Chase was editor for 38 years -- 1914 to 1952), Anna Wintour. Wintour has, over the last decade, turned the evening into a major fashion event for the popular culture.
The Oscars with quasi-Eurotrash overtones. It’s not about society anymore. It’s about the celebrities, the fifteen-minute-ers; the bared flesh and the dudes dressing up. There are no fashion victims anymore (except maybe fashion itself). It is the BEST annual advertising for the fashion industry, bar none. It makes the Oscars look like Walmart.
Evidently it grosses a lot of money for the Costume Institute. Moreover, it is fantastic PR for Conde Nast and Vogue, on many levels. It’s a media sales director’s dream. Compared to the house that Vreeland (and the ladies) built, it may be just another McMansion, but then, that is the American culture of this era. Vogue is now. Anna Wintour is now. She is the Wintour of our discontent, and she’s damned good at it, you have to admit. And, that is New York.
The whole thing was hatched last summer when the two were having lunch in the country and talking about their lives and how they’ve changed in the last ten years. Not surprisingly, the topic turned to clothes and both admitted that they no longer had much need for all the extraordinary dresses and evening clothes that they wore on a regular basis to both public and private balls and dinners. Then they admitted their closets were still bulging with beautiful but unworn designer labels ... dying for new owners ...
Voila! and so it was. Excellent condition, Priced to sell (meaning way low). Such as: Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Hermes, Richard Tyler, Scaasi, Blass, Halston, Alaia, Tuleh, Romeo Gigli,Calvin Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Fabrice, Dries von Noten, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Douglas Hannant, Alice Temperly, Ralph Lauren, Krizia, Geoffrey Beene, Alexander McQueen, Fendi,Karl Lagerfeld, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Yves St Laurent, Missoni, Loro Piano, and other labels. Also: shoes, belts, bags, and accessories. Manolo, Louboutin, Prada, and some exotic skin bags.
Then their friend Kirat Young got in on the act, and she is coming over from Paris to join them and selling her latest collection of beautiful jewelry.
The sale will run Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm at the Regency Hotel. They hope by Friday, May 11 that their closets will be empty and wonderful pieces wll have new homes. 10% of sales will go to charity. Nina told me her charity will be the Africa Foundation.
More catching up: Late last month, the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) held their 50th anniversary gala.
Sharon King Hoge was there and reported for NYSD:
Applause is great, but when non-profit theatre needs a literal helping hand, waiting in the wings is the Theatre Communications Group. For the occasion celebrating its 50th anniversary of promoting and supporting regional not-for-profit theatre, the TCG decked out tables in orange tulips and votives and held a gala at L'Espace.
|Curtiss Cook, Heather Randall, and Ben Vereen.|
|Beau Bridges, Ben Vereen, William Ivey Long, Tonya Pinkins were among theatre aficionados who showed up to honor executive committee member and Playwrights Horizons Board Chairman Judy Rubin who was saluted with improvised lyrics to a "Guys and Dolls" tune:
"If she were a glass she'd be Steuben.
If she were a cigar she'd be Cuban.
If she were the best she'd be Rubin!!!”
Also saluted for boosting regional theater were the Shubert Foundation and acclaimed director Kenny Leon who had a first chance to thank his wife of two weeks.
|Ben Cameron and Judith O. Rubin.|
|Lydia Diamond and Kenny Leon.|
|Lively emcees Sally Struthers and Jennifer Cody introduced sneak previews of upcoming shows including rousing songs from "Super Fly" and La Jolla Playhouse's production of "Hands on a Hardbody," and a poignant love song from Dallas theaters' upcoming production of "Giant." Roundly applauding were co-chairs Ralph Bryan and Heather Randall (in shimmering strapless white sequins) plus guests including Cathy Hardwick, Princess Kovolenko, playwright Lydia Diamond, Kate Levin and Anita Waxman.
Filing out at a respectable 10 PM we asked former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin for his own take on the theater. "I've seen 'Clybourne Park' four times," the honoree's supportive spouse declared, naming the Pulitzer Prize winning twist on racial values and real estate -- which just happens to have premiered at Playwrights Horizons -- "and I'm about to go again. Be sure to see it."
|Teresa Eyring, Beau Bridges, and Heather Randall.|
|Christopher Ashley, Teresa Eyring, Heather Randall, Ralph Bryan, and Gail Bryan.|
|Tony Cointreau, Kristina Kovalenko, Jimmy Russo, Cathy Hardwick, and Jon Marder.|
|Ben Cameron, Jenny Allen, Ed Herendeen, and Debbi Waters.|
|Jennifer Leon, Sansara Cannon, and Tonya Pinkins.|
|Michael Robertson and Sharon Hoge.|
|Kate Rockwell and Darren Ritchie.|
|This past Saturday night, the Permanent British Ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, and his wife, Lady Sheila Lyall Grant, welcomed fellow Anglophiles and garden enthusiasts for an intimate dinner benefiting Great Dixter at their official ambassadorial residence in New York, with its sweeping views of the East River.
Great Dixter, in England's East Sussex county, was the family home of Christopher Lloyd, one of the most influential and innovative gardeners of the 20th century. Originally a 15th century farmhouse, Dixter was remodeled in 1909 by the renowned English architect, Edwin Lutyens. Both house and garden are now managed by the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, and continue as a place of pilgrimage and a training ground for gardeners from around the world.
|The original house at Dixter, Northiam, which dates from the mid 15th century, was acquired by a businessman named Nathaniel Lloyd in 1909. He had a 16th century house in a similar style moved from Kent and the two were combined with new work by the architect Edwin Lutyens to create a much larger house, which was rechristened Great Dixter.|
|Great Dixter's famous garden is regarded as the epitome of English plantsmanship.|
|Fellow hosts include Glenn Earle (former COO of Goldman Sachs Europe and Asia) and his wife Phyllida, Lee Hallman, from Fort Worth but with strong ties to Dixter, Aaron Bertelsen who was visiting from Great Dixter, and James Brooks.
The funds raised from the evening will support the ongoing conservation of the house and gardens, and the new Christopher Lloyd scholarship program for the training of the next generation of head gardeners. More information can be found on the web: at www.greatdixter.co.uk .
|Signing in.||Great Dixter!|
|Lady Sheila Lyall Grant, Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant, and John Gwynne.|
|Karen Duffy, Mary Wible Vertin, and Lee Hallman.|
|Jill Oddy and Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant.||Lady Sheila Lyall Grant and James G. Brooks, Jr.|
|Vince Stroop, Max Jones, Mikel Folcarelli, and Lee Hallman.|
|Soraya Darabi.||Yann Coatanlem and Lady Sheila Lyall Grant.|
|John Gwynne, Jim Porcarelli, and Richard Gerst.|
|Monique King.||Emily Andrews and Asher Simcoe.|
|Timo Weiland, Jeff Petriello, and Max Jones.|
|Aaron Bertelsen, House Manager of Great Dixter.||Robert King and Monique King.|
|James G Brooks Jr, Nicole Mellon, and Matthew Mellon.|
|Elliotte Puckette, Hugo Guinness, and Geraldine Ogilvy Maxwell.|
|Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant welcome guests to the Her Majesty's, The Queen of England, Residence.|
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