Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life and bling

Preparing for Halloween. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
October 21, 2010. Yesterday was an autumn grey day in New York with temperatures beginning to get a bit chillier.

Luxury items. We are living at a very special time in New York, at the end of an era and the beginning of another. What that will be remains to be seen. What this is remains to be clarified by the hand of time.

Café Society; Socialites, Patrons, and Artists 1920 to 1960, by Thierry Coudert.
Peter Pennoyer Architects, by Anne Walker.
That thought came to me as I was reading through Café Society; Socialites, Patrons, and Artists 1920 to 1960, by Thierry Coudert, and newly published here with the arresting photograph on its cover of Barbara Hutton at a tennis match in Palm Beach in 1940. World famous in her day as America’s “poor little rich girl,” forgotten today, this image of the Woolworth five and dime heiress, possessor of a multi-billion dollar fortune who was 28 years old at the time, says it all.

This is a fascinating compendium but that’s for another Diary.

Another compelling photograph from a new book is the cover of Peter Pennoyer Architects by Anne Walker. Everything about it can make you wish you were there right at the moment the photograph was taken. Thinking it’s England, are you? New England, not quite, but closer. It’s a Pennoyer creation and called Drumlin Hall (and it looks like it sits at the foot of a drumlin), in Dutchess County New York.

You look at this book and you think “oh to be rich, and to hire Peter Pennoyer.” In the meantime there’s quicker simpler solution to gratification: Tonight at Archivia bookstore on Lexington between 72nd and 71st, between 6 and 8, they’re holding a “champagne reception” (don’t get your hopes up, it’s only a bookstore, after all) for Peter and for the author Anne Walker who are signing copies of the new book. If you’re in the neighborhood stop by; it’s bound to be a jolly, (yeah, jolly) jampacked reception as these Archivia parties tend to fan out onto the sidewalk, picking up even more new friends and faces (and some old). And you can even take home a book and a dream.

Rewind: Last night over at MAD, the Museum of the Arts and Design debuted “LOOT! 2010,” MAD’s biennial juried exhibition and sale of one-of-a-kind contemporary art jewelry, created by acclaimed American and international artists.

This year’s event – the first LOOT in the new 2 Columbus Circle Galleries – runs through the 26th of this month. And if you like jewelry, are an aficionado, collector, or even have no interest, go anyway because the MAD works are all brilliant and intriguing art. I personally think MAD is the museum of the new art. I know that sounds like a bold, even fatuous statement, but it’s possible. Go there and you will see why. Take your kids too or your grandmother. Doesn’t matter, they will also love it.

Last night's Gala evening preview benefited the Museum’s exhibition and education programs. Ann Watt was there photographing it for NYSD.
Judy Steinberg, Jennifer Block, Joyce Romanoff, and Holly Hotchner.
Truike Verdegaal, Michele Cohen, and Iris Nieuwenburg.
Bryna Pomp and Susanne Klemm. Trep with Jamie Randall.
BE Noel and Lowery Stokes Sims.
Mark Dorfman and Suzanne Golden. Gail Karr.
Donna Schneider and Ursula Newman.
Barbara Tober and Barbara Schuster. Gajus Scheltema, Consul General of the Netherlands in New York.
Shana Kroiz and Barbara Tober.
Gail Sheilds-Miller. Jocelyn Kolb.
Barbara Schuster and Ann Kaplan.
Dovit Straus and Janice White.
Nirit Dekel. Adrianna Canellas.
Hildegund Ilkeit & Gabriele Malek.
Kait Rhoads.
Meredith Bernstein. Cody Sanderson.
Yaron Elyasi and Hilik Dery.
Jocelyn Kolb and Nirit Dekel.
Truike Verdegaal, Irene van dere Hurle, Henk Wolvers, Susanne Klemm, and Iris Nieuwenburg.
A full weekend of programs will accompany the exhibition and sale in the second floor design galleries including curatorial lectures, panel discussions with experts and designers, artists’ talks and workshop demonstrations in the MAD artists’ studios. Special family focused hands-on workshops will be held on the weekend. For further information feel free to contact Rebekka Grossman at 212.299.7712 or

Ice, no dice. Last night at Christie’s Rockefeller Center they held their “Jewels Sale” which totaled $52,492,138. The top lot was the Bulgari Blue, a two-stone ring featuring a rare Fancy Vivid Blue diamond of 10.95 carats, and a triangular-cut diamond, weighing approximately 9.87 carats, to the baguette-cut diamond half-hoop, mounted in gold, circa 1972, in an original BVLGARI black silk box. As the grand finale of the 450-lot sale, the ring sold for $15,762,500/ £10,039,808/ €11,339,928, or $1.4 million per carat  – setting a new world record price per carat for a blue diamond at auction.

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Christie’s Americas commented:
“A world record price was achieved for the Bulgari Blue, a much-celebrated stone that came up for sale at Christie’s for the first time in almost 40 years. It had been purchased at the BVLGARI boutique in Rome in 1972 for just $1 million – the equivalent of about $5 million today. With a sold price of $15.7 million, the stone tripled its value in that time, demonstrating the incredible resilience of diamonds in today’s volatile economic environment and the true, lasting value of fine jewelry.”
The Bulgari Blue. The Vanderbilt necklace.
Also in last night’s sale was “The Vanderbilt Necklace.” A Vanderbilt heirloom and being sold by a Vanderbilt. Catalogue description: The front suspending a graduated fringe of detachable pear-shaped diamonds, each from an inverted pear-shaped diamond link, to a graduated line of circular-cut diamonds, spaced by smaller circular-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum, may be worn as 15½ or 13 ins. Estimate $400,000 to $600,000. Final sale: $626,500.

And on this past Monday night over at Doubles, The Cresta SCARS Dracula in New York held a dinner. The party was so private, they didn’t even send invitations, only messages by separate email. They know who they are.
Michael DiGiacomo, Richard and Jackie Colwell, and friend.
Karl Wellner, Deborah Norville, and Bryan Colwell.
Jennifer Powers and Walter Deane. Thorne and Tatiana Perkin.
Evelyn Tompkins and friend.
Carolin Grenier, Carolla Jain, Agatha Pidal, Sven Ley, and Rupa Mikkilineni.
Before I tell you anymore about the Cresta SCARS, etc., I suggest you go to the and with your cursor search around the objects on the screen until you find the one that says “Cresta Run” and then click on that. And watch. It’s fabulous. Scary too; I’d rather just watch and get the cheap thrill.

The background. The St. Moritz Tobogganing Club (known as the “Cresta”) has been holding an American dinner each year for past 19 years called “SCARS.” Among its members are names like Habsburg, von Bismarck, Badrutt, Niarchos, al Saud, Heineken, Hohenlohe, Hohenzollern, von Bohlen und Halbach, Jackie Stewart, Arpad Buson, Flick, Furstenberg. You get the picture.

It’s usually been at The Racquet Club with one long table for about 70 men (mostly).  This year, they spiced it up a bit by shifting locations to Doubles and throwing a Dracula’s-in-New York evening in conjunction with Cresta SCARS. More than 100 attended, including women, and there was dancing too.
Tory Burch and Sara Ayres. Charles and Sara Ayres.
Allesandro Guerrini-Maraldi, Walter and Monica Noel, and Bryan Colwell.
Bryan Colwell, Rolf Sachs, Sven Ley, Louis Pianna-Thomassin, Michael DiGiacomo, and Mond McKenzie.
Dracula’s is the private nightclub in St. Moritz founded by Gunther Sachs and several other playboy tycoons like Gianni Agnelli and Heinrich Furstenberg almost 40 years ago. Rolf Sachs (whose link you just viewed), son of Gunther, is now the President and liked the idea of this first ever New York Dracula event, one night only.  There was a similar evening in London last November which was a huge success with many guests who flew in from all over the world to attend. This years group produced a bumper crop of Euros and Brits as well as friends from the Rio Country Club in Rio who also ski (as do many others present) in Corviglia InterClub each year. These boys like to party and you would if you were among them.

Rolf Sachs was guest of honor. The chairmen of the evening were: John Beinecke, Michael DiGiacomo, Bryan York Colwell. The Committee were Michel de Carvalho, Filippo Guerrini-Marealdi, Andrea Roder, David Shields. Chairman of the Junior Committee was Jose Sotto Mayor Matoso. Junior Committee were Charles de Carvalho, Louisa de Carvalho, John Crawford, Karen Hime, Francesco Ruffo, and Fredrik Sachs.
Rolf Sachs leading in the Dracula “story.”
I stopped by the dinner after leaving the dinner at the Frick (see Tuesday). Just as I arrived, a young man, introduced as a “contortionist” appeared on dance floor-cum-stage and began his “act” or rather, his contortions as the evening’s entertainment.

His name was Jared Rydelek and his patter was amusing and slightly wise guy. As you can see from the photos, he was very slender (a 30” waist) and if there is such a thing as being double-jointed, then this guy was IT. He did the most amazing things as you may be able to discern from these not nearly adequate enough pictures I took of his act. Kind of a magician-with-your-body act. A bit his with the boys and girls from the Dracula Club.
Jared Rydelek, the contortionist.
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Photographs by Ann Watt (Loot); Cutty McGill (Doubles).
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