Monday, September 15, 2008

Shaky Monday in New York

Heading south on Fifth Avenue. Sunday night, 10:30 PM. Photo: JH.
9/15. The Weekend. Hot. Heat; humidity. Sweating it out. The focus in the pockets of many parts was on Wall Street and namely Lehman Brothers. There are still old family fortunes in New York -- century old family fortunes -- that came from Lehman Brothers. There are many newer ones – half-century, quarter century, five year, two year fortunes in New York that also came from Lehman Brothers. FY 2007, they reported profits of something like fifty billion dollars, from which they were able to extract some pretty hefty year-end bonuses no doubt, as is (or was) the fashion in these times.

It was a century and a year ago – 1907 – when the famous Bank Panic occurred and was successfully managed by J. Pierpont Morgan; the man himself. He called together a group of bankers and financiers and locked them in the room until they came up with a plan to end the “panic” (a run on the banks). Before their meeting they decided on the fate of the banks in the most trouble. Some went and some were allowed to stay. Nobody was “too big to fail.”

Mr. Morgan could see a need for a Federal Reserve. However, he died the year it opened for business. His ghost obviously doesn’t inhabit its halls, nor does his manner of dealing. Last night, after it was reported that Lehman would file bankruptcy, Bank of America announced an offer to acquire Merrill Lynch. This move immediately provoked comparison with Mr. Morgan’s modus operandi in 1907 – support banks in trouble but worth saving and let go those which were not. This is all speculation of course but harmless compared to the speculation that got us to this point of distress and disorder.

Up until now most of the American public were not aware of the treachery of the waters surrounding the financial system of the world and specifically of this country right now. Nor, from what I’ve read, are the Presidential candidates or the Vice-Presidential candidates. For some it’s denial, for others it’s sheer lack of knowledge/ information; and for many others it’s plain old ignorance, which is how it often works for us in life.

In another part of the country, with heavenly coincidence, Hurricane Ike wreaked brutal havoc on the people of the Gulf Coast and Texas.

All of this on the heels of Fashion Week. I thought of designer Isabel Toledo’s remark at the luncheon given in her honor two Wednesdays ago at the Rainbow Room about why she loves creating fashion: because clothes tell us about the time. After last week, clothes were telling a lot.
Ralph Rucci being congratulated backstage after his Friday evening Fashion Show in the big Tent at Bryant Park.
I went to only two shows – Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Rucci and missed almost all of the hundreds of parties – most of which I wasn’t invited to anyway. I went to the Rucci show on Friday night at six in the Big Tent in Bryant Park. It was the only time I’d been in the tents this year which was one of the reasons for attending that night. I love the scene, so totally New York full of all the elements that make this place.

I love seeing the crowd – the fashion mavens, the rich, the chic and the very shameless, decked out, hipped up, turned out and even burned out. Entering the huge darkened runway tent, watching the place fill up, feeling the excitement of the ultimate state of 21st century commerce of a great city. Theatre; pure and simple. You don’t have to have any interest in fashion per se. It doesn’t matter; the vibe will provide it.
Anthea Liontos and Tomas Coelho Amy Fine Collins with Michael Kaplan chatting with Casey Ribicoff Boaz Mazor
  Tomorrow's fashion model Emanuel Rucci (the designer's father), Luca Chiaperotti Rucci (nephew), and Rosina Rucci (sister of the designer)
Martha Stewart and Iris Apfel Susan Gutfreund with Joanne and Roberto de Guardiola
Michael Kaplan, Casey Ribicoff, and Peter Rogers Martha Stewart and friend
On Friday night, after a helluva week, there was an air of anticipation, expectation, camaraderie (really), boredom for some, mixed with fatigue for all. But still the excitement; smiles on people’s faces; photographers in overdrive.

The show was called for 6 but like all of these shows, 20, 30 minutes can easily go by before the guys remove the transparent plastic runners from the white white runway, and everyone is in his/her seat. Then the house goes dark while the runway is shone bright. The beat-beat-beat of the music stars and around the corner from backstage, comes the first model.
Ralph Rucci is very very popular with the well-dressed ladies. He and Oscar are classic but different. A customer will wear both. She will be chic and well-dressed. She will tell us about the time. For some. A great great show; all.

Jamee Gregory covered more as NYSD readers know. She knows how to look at the clothes and describe them. It always fascinates me because I don’t understand what I’m reading while knowing that many (women especially) know exactly what she’s saying. Aside from our brief coverage, the fashion industry in New York has spawned another industry: fashion reporting. Armies of journalists and photographers and artists have become part of it, bringing another aspect to the business.
After the Rucci show which got out about 7 (many went backstage, including this reporter, to congratulate the man on his achievement), I then walked a few blocks east along Forty-Second Street to Cipriani where the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation was hosting its annual Champions for Children Gala. Mr. Coughlin, for those of you who don’t follow sports or football, is the Head Coach of the New York Giants and a highly regarded man in the world of professional sports. He started this fund in 1995 in honor of a young man named Jay McGillis, a member of the Boston College football team who contracted leukemia. Mr. Coughlin had witnessed first hand the financial and emotional struggles the family suffered through. He vowed to himself to help people in the same situation if he ever had the opportunity.
Paul Woolard, Ann Mara, and Ruth Woolard Lizzie and Jon Tisch
Antonio Pierce signing Honoree Joan Tisch Honoree Ann Mara
Friday night they honored Joan (Mrs. Bob) Tisch and Ann (Mrs. Wellington) Mara. There was a big group of current Giants players attending although I missed the red carpet shots because I was late. Not being a big sports fan I wouldn’t have recognized one of them off carpet. But nevertheless I was told these guys were present and participating: Eli Manning, Amani Toomer, Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck, Antonio Pierce (I got one shot of Antonio autographing a football for a young fan); Lawrence Tynes, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chase Blackburn, Kevin Boothe, Kareem McKenzie, Shaun O’Hara, Breandon Jacobs, Corey Webster, Gerris Wilkinson, Bryan Kehl, R. W. McQuarters, Rey Ruegamer, James Butler, Zak DeOssie, Sam Madison, Reuben Droughns, Chris Snee, Rich Seubrert, David Diehl, Jeff Feagles, Darcy Johnson, Adam Koets, as well as Giants alumni: Harry Carson, Brian Kelley and Chuck Mercein. They had a big crowd at Cipriani. That’s unusual for a Sunday night in New York. They made a difference. If you want to make a donation or learn more about the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, go to: http://www.tcjayfund.org/donate.html
The dining room before seating.
Lately, among our Bergdorf ads on the NYSD, I’ve seen shot of a beautiful blue woman’s shoe. The image conjured up many things, all beauty. So it was interesting to learn that this “blue shoe” was famous. Sorry, I never get to watch TV. And besides being famous, the man himself, Manolo Blahnik a living, walking legend (I know, I know) made an appearance at Bergdorf’s and signed the shoe for delighted customers.

I’d never see Mr. Blahnik before. He is a legend, no doubt about it. For a long time I thought it was just a brand name of a shoe that women can’t get enough of. George Malkemus, who runs Manolo (I think he’s a partner) here in New York often lunches at the table next to mine at Michael’s.
The Manolo Blue Shoe has arrived.
Manolo Blahnik signing his shoes Manolo with Linda Fargo
Olivia Palermo and Whitney Port in awe Manolo Blahnik, Jim Gold, and George Malkmus
Shoes. In the 18th century the men at Court in Versailles were very into shoes, like their brethren all over Europe As was, of course, le Roi. Red heels – and they were high (not stilettos, no) – were the rage. The rage crossed the Channel. Kings George I, II and III wore red heels when they ascended to the Main Chair. So too, did many fancy dressing aristos. Red heels (just the heel part, not the shoe). Why red, I don’t know. Someone thought of it, had an explanation in the beginning, no doubt; and fashion did the rest. We give you Manolo et al.
Manolo-a-Manolo.
Linda Hope, Bob Hope’s daughter, has set sail around the world aboard the Queen Mary 2 with objects from her father Bob Hope’s estate auction. Arriving in New York City last Thursday, Lucie Arnaz and Carol Marlow, CEO of Cunard Line, hosted an intimate luncheon on board announcing the Bob Hope Charity Auction. Guests included Cunard Line’s Commodore Warren, Maria Cooper Janis, Jackie Becher, Sharon Hoge, Pat Kerr, Norman and Sandra Liss from the Ellis Island museum, Chuck and Ellen Scarborough, Director of the National Museum of American History Brent Glass, and Smithsonian curator Dwight Blocker Bowers.

Highlights from the afternoon included Lucie Arnaz’s remarks and fond memories of growing up during the Hollywood golden era, Linda Hope reminiscing of her father, and Carol Marlow’s tribute to the fond memories that Bob Hope not only imbed in American history, but his impact on the world as a whole. Guests dined on a four course meal that included Mexican prawns, broiled lobster tail, navarin of lamb, and chocolate soufflé.
Some of the auction items from Bob Hope’s estate.
“It is a privilege and an honor to work with a collection of such incomparable depth spanning nearly 100 years of the most celebrated career in entertainment history,” said Darren Julien, President/CEO of Julien’s Auctions.

The auction will be taking place in Los Angels on October 18 & 19, 2008. The auction will sell collector and museum quality items from the life, career, and estate of the celebrated Bob Hope during a live televised and realtime online auction conducted by Julien’s Auctions.
Carol Marlow Linda Hope LucieA rnaz
Warren Hope, Linda Hope, Lucie Arnaz, and Carol Marlow Bill Lucking and Lucie Arnaz
Ellen and Chuck Scarborough Warren Hope, Maria Cooper Janis, Linda Hope, and Carol Marlow

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