Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cool Weather; Hot Nights

Filler' up on 10th Avenue and 15th Street. 8:35 PM. Photo: JH.
Rains coming in very early morning, bringing the cooler weather we can begin to associate with autumn. I’m one of those people who loves the rain, bathing in all the moods it evokes.

People often ask me: “how do you do it?” Meaning, covering so many activities in a 24-hour period and then going home and writing about it.  It requires a lot of time and energy but there’s a sleight-of-hand involved also. I get help. Photos and press releases are often provided for Party Pictures so that it does not require my presence. Many times I’ve covered events for the particular organization and/or know the principals and can tell you something with some authority. Other times I don’t know but the news is interesting and, amazingly, good news. Always an addition. And finally there’s JH, the man who mans the Digital as well as daily designs and puts the site up online.

Other times I do get around the town with frequency. Which amazes some old friends because I have had long periods in my life when you couldn’t drag me out of the house for a movie, let alone a dinner or a reception or even a ballet or an opera. As much as I am fascinated by and like people, I am also one of those who likes the solitude of my desk. But with the New York Social Diary, that is rarely possible and so the deal is I deal.

I went down to Le Cirque in Beacon Court for a luncheon that Barbara de Portago was hosting for sixty-five of her friends. (see sidebar). I’m not crazy about big luncheons only because it’s the only time during the week that I get to meet up with friends or people of interest that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a bit. Big luncheons are, in a way, banquets by their nature.

Mme. de Portago is a friend of mine. She has an interesting past including part of her childhood growing up at Versailles where her stepfather and mother were the forces that curated and fund-raised for the chateau.

They lived in Colbert’s apartments for those Francophiles among you. I could get into that. She’s the one who told me that there are generations of rats…and cats….living in the bowels of the palace. And that they are very large, thanks to their diet (each other – cats vs. rats, etc.). Now this could be a made up story and Mrs. de P has a quality to her personality that you could imagine her spinning a tale or two, especially if it charms the imagination. However, I tend to believe it’s true.

She now lives in New York where she’s lived for a number of years – having had three marriages and one son who is now grown and serving in the Armed Forces. She still runs the Versailles-Giverny Foundation which raises money for support and restoration of – at this point – Monet’s property at Giverny.

She also keeps her connections by a variety of large luncheons or buffets or seated dinners during the year. You’ve read about the dinner that she has every year for a visiting royal who will be the dinner’s guest of honor and guest speaker. That way you hear about their history, their viewpoint/knowledge of their history and their relationship to the world.

So it is fascinating to hear one of the last of the Romanovs share his knowledge and experience of his heritage which came crashing down with the Bolsheviks in 1917, or Prince Michael of Greece whose family connections reach into all the royal European houses of the past six centuries talk about their histories that he’s written; of the King of Bulgaria, Simeon, discussing the reunification with his country after the fall of the Soviet Union. The King of Bulgaria was an especially interesting subject for a variety of reasons: his humility, his sense of history, his sense of duty and responsibility to his “subjects” and his humility. I know, that was a repeat.
Guest List for Barbara de Portago's Luncheon

• Rufus, Earl of Albemarle
• Tinuoloa Arowolo
• Maria Eugenia Arria
• Dr. Ernst Bartsich
• Marquette de Bary
• Marife Bell-Hernandez
• Joel Bell
• Ruth Berman
• Marc de Gonthault Biron
• Brad Boles
• Ana Maria de Boulton
• Dominique Buaron
• Guy Clark
• Sibilla Clark
• Robert Couturier
• Norma Dana
• Michael Dianda
• Jackie Weld Drake
• Gigi Fisdell
• Olivia Flatto
• Carl S. Forsythe III
• Gillian Fuller Spreckels
• Meera Gandhi
• Tom Gates
• Martha Glass
• Majorie Gubelmann
• Nizza Heyman
• Carole Holmes
• Christian Keesee
• Margo Langenberg
• Jeanne Lawrence
• Marie Belle Lieberman
• Margi Lim
• Robert Lyddan
• Ketty Maisonrouge
• Annabel Mariaca
• Hermine Mariaux
• Mary McFadden
• James Mellon II
• Vivien Mellon
• Dorrit Morley
• Elizabeth Muhr
• Susan Murphy
• Cathy Nicolson
• Bunny Price
• John Punnett
• Ellen Rose
• Marjorie Rosen
• Dame Jillian Sackler
• Emilia Saint-Amand
• Selima Soloun
• Charlotte Schoenfeld
• Jean Shafiroff
• Beatrice Stern
• Liora Sternberg
• Kari Tiedmann
• Maria Wirth
• Denise Wohl
• Peter Wolfram
• HRH Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia
• Jill Zarin
• Laura Zeckendorf
Clockwise from top left: Nizza Heyman and Prince Dimitri; Barbara de Portago, Marife Hernandez, and Joel Bell; DPC and Carole Holmes; John Punnett and Carole Holmes.
There were sixty-five guests at yesterday’s luncheon upstairs at Le Cirque. I have included the menu because it was so good. The menu at Le Cirque is so good anyway, but face it, when anyone gets into the numbers game – sixty-five of the same dish can get a little ... fatigue. Not yesterday. The risotto was perfect, the chicken fricassee so tender and so flavorful and the pear tart which was the perfect size for twice or four times as much would have been consumed because it was so good.

On my right was Sibilla Clark. Sibilla lives here in New York, in Europe and in the Bahamas. She grew up in Naples. We talked about the Mediterranean and its current condition which is not good. “So dirty,” Sibilla frowned, annoyed at what has happened to the beautiful sea in less than her lifetime. She recalled how from her second floor bedroom window as a child they could dive into the clear, clean and beautiful Mediterranean. No more. She mentioned seeing the brown foamy bubbles on the sea’s surface around Capri. “Filthy.” We don’t like hearing that, do we?

On my right was Nizza Heyman, a woman I’d never met but who has lived in New York for many years with her husband, film producer John Heyman. We talked about Los Angeles where she has never lived (and where Sibilla Clark has never visited), and the Caribbean where the Heymans visit frequently (Paradise Island) as does Mrs. Clark (Lyford Cay).

Last night in New York. There was the annual Rita Hayworth Gala for the Alzheimer’s Association. This is always a glamorous affair with a corp of women who have worked together for years to make this fundraiser the great success it is.

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, the daughter of Hayworth and Prince Aly Khan, founded this organization in honor of her mother who had a long battle to the death with the disease. This year’s gala was without the presence of a longtime supporter Claudia Cohen, who passed away a few months ago. Claudia was a major force in this charity as well as  a very close friend  of a number of women who form the core group. Her depature from us and the reality of her passing was there last night.

Also, the Boys Club had their annual autumn gala, black tie. Meanwhile at the D&D Building they were holding their Stars of Design Black Tie Dinner.
Chantal Nedjib, Matthew Pillsbury, Christophe Clark, Virginie Pougnaud, Joy Hendricks, and Marina Gadonneix at Phillips de Pury.
I started out the night down in the Meatpacking District at the galleries of Phillips de Pury where they were holding a reception for their upcoming Photographs Auction which will be held next Wednesday, October 17 at 10 am and at 2 pm.

The downtown art scene is unlike anything you are likely to see on the Upper East Side no matter the gallery. Phillips de Pury at 450 West 15th Street (at 10th Avenue) has an enormous gallery space of interconnected lofts.
Edward Weston, Nude on Sand, Oceano, 1936. Estimate: $70,000 - $90,000.
F. Holland Day, Pilate, 1906. Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled (Comme de Garcons), 1994. Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.
Cui Xiuwem, Angel no. 5, 2006. Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000.
Tina Barney, Jill and Polly in the Bathroom, 1987. Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000.
It was very crowded last night at Phillips with a well-heeled, very hip and artsy looking crowd, very New York as well as very atmospheric. I always think of Woody Allen’s New York scenes. Of course we ran into many uptowners including newlyweds Leo Piraino and Nina Griscom.
Charlie Scheips and Melissa Feldman (right)
David Gamble and Jonathan Becker
Tobias Sirtl (center) with fellow Phillipsonians Meaghan Roddy and Derrick Mead
Sarah Krueger and Caroline Shea
JH and Joy Hendricks
The scene at Phillips de Pury & Company
Douglas Hannant, Annie Churchill, and Frederick Anderson
Charlie Scheips, Sally Brady, and Merv Keizer
Charlie Scheips and Joseph Kraeutler
Nina Griscom and Leonel Piraino
Matthew Pillsbury and Bonni Benrubi
Vanessa Kramer and Charlie Scheips
Maureen Mahoney and Ray Dowd
And down at Sotheby’s Bunny Williams was having a booksigning for her new book “Point of View.” Williams is one of the most popular interior designers in the business. She is also one of the most popular interior designers in New York in social circles. She and her husband John Rosselli, possessors of several fine residences here there and everywhere are a team of taste, décor, collecting, refined living, good times and good friends.

Bunny Williams
Their mutual business Treillage on 418 East 75th Street is a mecca for designers, clients and individuals in search of curiosity, interest and taste. I know the place from the occasional receptions they throw for one thing or another and where the buffet is thorough and the drinks abound whatever your choice.

There were several hundred who turned out for this booksigning including lots of fans buying.  Afterwards there was a dinner for about fifty or sixty of Bunny and John’s friends on the 8th floor of Sotheby’s hosted by Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby’s CEO and is wife Betsy.  I sat between Betsy, who has been a friend of Williams and Rosselli before they even got together, and Suzanne Rheinstein who owned Hollyhock, a famous interior design resource on Hilldale Avenue in West Hollywood. Mrs. Rheinstein is a prominent Los Angeles interior designer as well. A native of New Orleans, she has lived in Los Angeles most of her adult life where she and her husband brought up their daughter who is now an editor at Elle Décor

A delicious dinner – Beet and Radicchio Salad, Roast Beef and Vegetables and Chocolate Mousse; some brief toasts by Mr. Ruprecht, Ms. Williams and Mr. Rosselli, as well as a brief interruption congratulating the author by this writer, and a perfect end to a beautiful day in New York.
Bunny signing away
Betsy Ruprecht and John Rosselli
Jay Johnson and Tom Cashin
Barbara Bancroft with Chris and Grace Meigher
Ms. Blair and Jay Cantor
Sotheby's CEO Bill Ruprecht and wife Betsy
Jennifer Goodkind and Marjorie Kuhn
Judy Cormier and Claire Potter
Judy Auchincloss, Tim Lovejoy, Ann Lane, Lee Mindel, and John Kelly
John Yunis, Gary Lawrance, and Barbara Liberman
And later on last night, held its Launch Party at the Chelsea Art Museum.

Notable attendees included: Alexandra Osipow, Luigi Tadini, Antonia Thompson, Anya Assante, Caroline Rowley, CeCe Barfield, Dalia Oberlander, Kristian Laliberte, Marissa Bregman, Melissa Berkelhammer, Devorah Rose, Martin Dawson, Bridget Helene, Sara Zambrelli, and Thomas Brodsky.

Guests enjoyed cocktails courtesy of Christiania Vodka and drank mini bottles of Pommery POP champagne from straws. Everybody started to really let loose for the last hour, dancing until past Midnight.
Justin Belmont and Kloe Korby (hosts)
Dalia Oberlander and Luigi Tadini
Jamie Diamond and Kloe Korby
Philip Gaucher, Ben Butler, Alexandra Krockow, and Ludwig Salm
Clare Evans and Grace Evans
Jeremy Schwaltz and Emma Gaines-Ross
Gemma Gucci's sticks
Andrew Vissicchio and Alexandra Osipow
Clare Evans, Elizabeth Limb, Justin Belmont, and Whitney Smith
Moses de la Renta, Austin Bryan, and David Mehoman
Claude Morais, Antonia Thompson, and Brian Wolk
Julia Laumont, George Spencer, Gemma Gucci, and Chris Mairs
Annunziata Sahid, Louisa Roederz, Anne Volk, Louise McCready, and Sonja Imer
Bridget Helene, Kristian Laliberte, and Stephanie Wei
Rochelle Goldberg and Courtney Davis
Francesca Bodini and Fabiana Marenghi-Vaselli
Nick Mete
Jamie Diamond, Gara Marinoff, and Betsy Fischman
Siri Scanlen, Stephanie Dekertanguy, Meghan Horstmann

Photographs by DPC/JH & Lauren Peltzman (Free Arts)
Comments? Contact DPC here.