Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Dressed to the Kilt

At Capitale for Dressed To Kilt.
Last night in New York. This is Passover week and also Spring break for the private and the public schools, so many New Yorkers are away. The city is somewhat quieter, although there are always places to go where “quieter” is not operative.

I started out the evening at Georgette Mosbacher’s baronial apartment overlooking the Met. She was having a cocktail reception in honor of the publication of Christopher Buckley’s new novel “Boomsday.”

Chris Buckley signing away
The Mosbacher parties are always very glamorous in that they are exactly what you’d expect to see in a movie of a glamorous cocktail party in New York. Publishing people, film and media people, business people, social people. Waiters in black tie at the ready bearing silver trays with flutes of champagne or sparkling water; and lots and lots of talking. Many of these people know each other, or know of each other, or have worked together, dined together, whatever together. New York becomes a hipped-up small town for a moment. Except high above the metropolis in the realm of the worldly and the wealthy.

Mr. Buckley is a very popular fellow (as are his parents Pat and Bill). His lady friend is Jolie Hunt, a very pretty, as you can see, and dynamic young woman who is a director of public relations at IBM. Before that she was at the FT. Public relations executives at that level are facilitators. They are often shrewdly bright, often charming, and have a talent, a facility, for connecting – themselves and others. Ms. Hunt is all of that and more. They very often move New York along.

The party was through its first of two hours when I arrived. I tend to move around quickly at these receptions, looking to get photos to record The Presence, and having the chance to say hello. This is probably true for most people. But Georgette Mosbacher’s parties have a kind of effervescence about them (maybe it’s partly the champagne) and I felt like staying and chatting with people.

The author was pretty much besieged, signing copies for friends. The hostess moved about the crowd, looking as if she’d just left the serenity of yoga, wearing a dark chocolate silk tunic that offset her flaming tresses (well, how else could they be described accurately?) and her big bright eyes. And barefooted.
Chris Buckley and Jolie Hunt
Joan Collins and Georgette Mosbacher
Joan Collins and Percy Gibson came in, having just arrived from Cleveland (where Joan was appearing in the play she’s touring in with Linda Evans). Joan’s writing her own play about touring the provinces (I know, they’re not really provinces) in a show with another star. Which is what the play she’s touring in is about. A play within a play. Or without a play. I’m making this up, but you never know. Next they go to Fort Worth where the show must go on and where they’ll be wined and dined by Joanie Schnitzer Levy who is one of Texas’ ambassadors-at-large.

The party was supposed to be over at 7:30 but at quarter to eight, there were dozens still clustered in conversations in several rooms. Mrs. Mosbacher’s staff very subtly but officiously began removing the accoutrements of hospitality and soon we were getting the picture. Almost seamlessly they cleared the rooms, then the gallery, and then the apartment. Of us hold-outs. That’s what a good New York cocktail party is like.
I walked down the avenue to 79th Street and caught a cab to take me down the FDR Drive to the Bowery and Capitale where I was to be one of the “judges” in the annual Dressed to Kilt runway show.

Dressed to Kilt is, as far as a I know, the brainchild of a very congenial Scotsman named Geoffrey Carroll. It is an annual event staged by “Friends of Scotland” which is the primary US organization promoting a contemporary view of modern Scotland. The objcctive is to showcase Scottish cultural, educational, historical and genealogical connections between the United States and Scotland.

All of which is good for business. All kinds of business, from Johnnie Walker Scotch (which sponsored last night’s party) to Victoria’s Secret (who sponsored part of last night) to the textile and tourist business, not to mention international relations. The night itself is meant for fun, and fun it is. Big time and glitzy, but again, kind of small town in its homey-ness. Good clean fun, actually, which is becoming more and more of a rarity.

They’ve been staging this for several years. Longtime readers of NSYD have seen pictures from previous events. It’s mainly a big fashion show which is also a party, with all kinds of men and women participating, and full of jest and full of fun. Last night at Capitale must have been their biggest party thus far, as there were hundreds in the crowd.
Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric Villency
Peter Morris and Geoffrey Carroll
The Donald with Ivanka
Capitale is a magnificent old bank building which was converted several years ago into a very grand event space. The Bowery where it’s located was for decades known for it’s “bums.” That’s over. Now it’s part of the whole downtown renaissance, gentrified into hip and luxurious (although much of it might not look that way from the outside).

I arrived just as people were lining up outside to get in. As a judge I was taken upstairs to the rooms where all the models were putting on their costumes and the women were having their hair and makeup done. It was a real backstage scene and I was snapping away at what I saw, although most of those images will have to wait until tomorrow, like the rest of the story. The Donald, the only tycoon in the world who is also a television star, was there, as you can see, also as a judge, while his beautiful daughter Ivanka modeled. Michael Strahan of the Giants was kilted out, as was Stone Phillips, and Eric Villency and his beautiful new wife Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Tinsley Mortimer taking the runway with Euan Rellie. But all that’s for tomorrow’s Diary.
Talbot Logan
Nic Scagnolavi and Claudia Wagner
Preparing for the big show

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