Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bursting with green

Meatpacking District. 1:55 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011. Rain, intermittent, sometimes heavy, but mainly just wet and damp. And green. The city neighborhood streets are bursting with green.

The day. Lunch at Michael’s with Philip Kingsley, the world renowned Trichologist who is a new friend. Although Philip is one of those people who comes naturally to the gift of friendship. We met only a little more than a couple years ago through his wife Joan with whom I was in summer stock in the summer of 1967.

Joan and I never saw each other again after that summer, except once in 1979 when I was first living in Los Angeles and she – newly married to Philip – was in town with her husband. We renewed our friendship only a couple years ago when I discovered that she and I had a mutual friend here in town. Since then we see each other almost monthly when they are in from London, and I have got to know her husband.
DPC and Philip Kingsley at Michael's.
Joan and Philip live in London, in Belgravia where Philip, a native Londoner, has his clinic. They come to New York every month or so to visit his clinic here.

My objective with yesterday’s lunch was to interview him about his business, which is not unusual but a somewhat sparsely populated profession in a market that is vast and global.

Definition: Trichology n. The branch of medicine, cosmetic study and practice concerned with the hair and scalp.

Philip is easy in conversation. He has a natural enthusiasm for people. He likes living, meaning: he likes life. Like his profession, it is not unusual but rare. Zen-like; there’s a lot of simpatico. He takes people as they are. Perhaps that is why he’s so successful as a hair “doctor.”

Joan and Philip Kingsley
I did go to his clinic once for a hair examination. His approach is like a kindly, interested doctor. The manner is gentle but focused curiosity -- once a staple in the community but, alas, a rare quality these days, even among doctors.

Susan Gutfreund stopped by the table and when I introduced them asking if they’d met (they hadn’t), she said: “he’s famous.” Indeed he is. Later Gerry Byrne the media and entertainment consultant -- another Michael’s regular -- stopped by our table because he and Philip are old friends. So it turned out was Michael McCarty himself.

In asking him about his life, I wondered what caused his break-out where so many famous people became clients.

The first big break came in the early 1960s when Harry Andrews, the actor – then with the National Theatre – came to see him. Andrews was mainly bald. Philip told him in his straight forward but easy to take way, that he couldn’t re-grow what had been lost but he could help him take are of what he had left. Andrews became a client.

One day he said to his fellow company member, Laurence Olivier, “Larry, you worry so much about your hair, you should go and see this Kingsley fellow because he’s so honest.”

Olivier went to Philip and went back and again. “And you know, actors talk,” Philip added, “and soon the whole National Theatre company were coming to see me.” He was launched.

His second break (“my biggest) came in the early 70s when a Mrs. Dotti called to make an appointment. When she showed up, she looked a lot like Audrey Hepburn. During the initial interview Philip asked her how she spelled her name, (“D-O-double T-I,” she said). At that he stopped writing, put his pen down and said: “I hope you won’t mind my saying this, but you look remarkably like Audrey Hepburn.”

“I am Audrey Hepburn,” Mrs. Dotti said, laughing at the way he put it. She explained that she always made her appointments using her married name.

She had been in London at the time making a film, and was naturally concerned about how her hair looked on camera. Philip developed a pre-shampoo conditioner for her which he called the Elasticizer, giving her hair more body. She liked it so much that she told everybody, and soon many movie, television and theatre stars were knocking at his door. The Elasticizer also became, and remains to this day, his best-selling hair product.

We were both pressed for time and because his stories about growing up in London’s East End were so interesting to me (“We were not working class, we were ‘poor working class,’” he explained matter-of-factly), we decided to continue the interview when he returns from London next month.

If you’re interested in knowing more about his clinic and his products, you can visit his site:

Jamee Gregory with a copy of New York Parties: Private Views. Click to order.
From Michael’s I hurried over to the Carlisle Collection at 16 East 52nd Street where I was interviewing Jamee Gregory about her new book New York Parties, Private Views (Rizzoli publishers).

This was the third of a series of interviews we are doing at Carlisle before an audience of about invited guests. They run about an hour and a half, staged after the lunch hour.

This is Jamee’s second book – the first being New York Apartments (also Rizzoli, published in 2004). Both are unique because of Jamee’s access to the upper environs of New York/Southampton/Palm Beach axis to which she and her husband Peter are members.

The books were borne out of interest in capturing the creative side of that lifestyle. Jamee was an easy interview because she sees it almost clinically and can articulate the mechanics and creative aspects. She knows what’s interesting to see and learn, and she’s always thinking of what knowledge she can impart to the reader for their own choices and interests.

She and Peter Gregory are also naturally social personalities. They travel often and have an active social life, frequently dining out and entertaining at home.

So we covered the gamut: the choices, the motivations, the etiquette, the shoulds and should nots. These are not subjects that are of interest to me in terms of the execution. I’ve never had a dinner party entertaining anyone since I moved back from Los Angeles. I don’t go to all that many either. But the genesis and the execution are of great interest as part of our zeitgeist and contemporary selves.
DPC and Jamee Gregory in the main salon at the Carlisle Collection.
Among yesterday’s guests at the Cariisle Collection salon were: Ann Rapp, Caroline Bowen, Cassandra Seidenfeld Lyster, Cheri Kaufman, Christine Schott, David Shafer, Dr. Fran Gare, Eleanora Kennedy, Emma Snowdon-Jones, Faisal Al-Juburi, Fern Mallis, Gail Rachlin, Iris Rossi, Janet Monastro, Jean Shafiroff, Jeanne Mitchell, Jen Ulrich, Joan Rose, Judy Agisim, Karen LeFrak,, Karen Leon, Kate Edmonds, Kathleen Giordano, Kelly Langberg, Lauren Lawrence, Marsha Leon, Melissa Morris, Naz Tesit, Pax Quigley, Robin Cofer, Sabine Ohle, Serena Hodes, Sharon Sondes, Vicki Downey, Viva Bhogaita, Wendy Breck.
Cheri Kaufman and Fern Mallis lining up. Cassandra Seidenfeld and Jamee Gregory.
Gail Rachlin. Karen LeFrak.
Faisal Al-Juburi. Joan Rose.
Emma Snowdon Jones and Robin Cofer.
Caroline Bowen. Roger Webster and Eleanora Kennedy.
Kate Edmonds and Vicki Downey.
Karen LeFrak, Sabine Ohle, Eleanora Kennedy, Ann Rapp, and Karen Leon.
Jen Ulrich. Janet Monastro.
Cassandra Seidenfeld, Jean Shafiroff, and Vicki Downey.
Karen Leon. Iris Rossi.
Cheri Kaufman.
Ann Rapp. Kelly Langberg and Dr. Fran Gare.
Fern Mallis and Emma Snowdon Jones.
Pax Quigley and Judy Agisim. Dr. David Shafer.
Naz Tesit, Kathleen Giordano, and Melissa Morris.
Jeanne Mitchell, Kate Edmonds, and Vicki Downey. Viva Bhogaita.
Lauren Lawrence. Serena Hodes.
DPC surrounded.
Last night. Down at the Pierre, CASA, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University held its 19th Anniversary Awards Dinner, A Celebration of American Leadership in Combating Substance Abuse. And “A Salute to Joe Califano.” Actually it was also a celebration of Joe’s 80th birthday.

And it was a big party with quite a turn out of Washington, Wall Street and social denizens which included Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes emceeing (subbing for Bob Schieffer who was under the weather) the “Wit and Wisdom by Special Guest Speakers.” Those being Luci Baines Johnson, Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee, Leonard D. Schaeffer, and Brendan V. Sullivan, the Washington lawyer whom the world first saw when he participated in the Iran-Contra Hearings back in the 80s. Jamie Niven, Vice Chair of Sotheby’s also did his turn using his auctioneer’s talents to cajole the audience to bid on four items and raise an additional funds for CASA.
The cocktail hour for CASA's Awards Dinner "A Salute to Joe Califano" last night at the Pierre.
The ballroom at the Pierre set for the dinner.
The table.
Dinner Chair was Joe Plumeri, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, PLC. The Gala Co-Chairs, Honorary Chairs and Vice-Chairs numbered seventeen including Muhtar Kent of Coca-Cola, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Cheryl Healton of Legacy, Les Moonves of CBS, Ursula Burns of Xerox, Ken Chenault of American Express.

The Gala Chairs were: Jeb and Columba Bush, Hilary (Mrs. Joe) Califano, Patricia and Victor Ganzi, Nancy and Jeffrey Lane, Monique and Doug Morris, Zena Wiener, Shari Redstone, Pat and John Rosenwald, Paola and Michael Schulhof, Jeanne and Herb Siegel, Linda Wachner. Honorary Chairs President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, President and Mrs. George Bush, Mrs. Ronald Reagan, President William J. Clinton, President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, and Gerald R. Ford. Need I say more?
Emcee Steve Kroft
Luci Baines Johnson with her father's former Special Assistant and last night honoree, Joe Califano. Lisa and David Schiff.
Susan Mitch and Nicole Limbocker. Stan and Sydney Shuman.
The roster of prominent men and women in American public life and business in support of one man is beyond compare with any other dinner gala I’ve attended in New York. There’s a very good reason for that and it goes back to the man himself.

This was a great evening because of the tribute to this man whose been in American political life for a half century. This is a whole other diary for another day. But suffice to say they raised more than $1.7 million for Joe’s beloved CASA, which he created and which is also another story to tell too.
The newly wed (last Saturday), Elizabeth Smith (Mrs. Richard) Cotton. Hilary (Mrs. Joe) Califano and Joe Pugliese.
Zena Wiener. Jenny Conant (Mrs. Steve Kroft) with Jamie Niven.
Serena Stewart and Diana Walker. Marlene Hess.
There were five hundred guests, a lot of speakers and some fascinating and funny film clips including a vintage one of the late Art Buchwald made specifically for his friend Joe which was hilarious in that Buchwaldian way. There was a lot of laughter and camaraderie in the room.

Luci Baines Johnson, the second daughter of President and Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson was an especially compelling speaker delivering a testimonial to the man who started his career working as a special assistant to her father in the White House. Ms. Johnson is a riveting speaker in style alone, and her father would have been proud of not only her delivery but also its content.

Monday night, while I was at Literacy Partners over at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, just across the Josie Robertson Plaza at the Metropolitan Opera House, the American Ballet Theatre held its annual Spring Gala with Honorary Chairs Carolina Herrera, Caroline Kennedy and Blaine Trump.
Kevnin McKenzie, Rachel Moore, Blaine Trump, Nancy McCormick Vella, and Zach Vella.
Jill Zarin, Zang Toi, and Irina Dvorovenko. Susan Fales-Hill.
Paloma Herrera, Sloane Barnett, Diane Wilsey, Jose Manuel Carreno, and Julie Kent.
Rachel Moore, Lily Johnson, Daniel Cappello, Alexandra Kerry, and Renata Pavam.
Linda Carter and Deborah Norville. Anne Bass, Lynda Carter, and Blaine Trump.
Kevin McKenzie, Rachel Moore, and Renaud Dutreil.
Renaud Deutreil, Mariane Lafiteau, and Henri Barguirdjian.
Caroline Kennedy and Kevin KcKenzie. Leslie Ziff and Stella Abrera.
Jamie Tisch, Naeem Khan, and Tory Burch.
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Photographs by ANN WATT (Carlisle); Mary Hilliard (ABT)
Comments? Contact DPC here.