Friday, November 18, 2011


Central Park. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, November 18, 2011. Grey, rainy day in New York. Overcoat weather too.

Riding home through the Park, the colors were still rich but much of them off the trees and now on the ground offset by the dark browns of the wet trees and branches.

Riding down the side streets on the Upper East Side, the masses of bright yellow leaves carpeted many of the cars parked curbside, as well as the surrounding pavement. The wet greys and brick and browns of the buildings provided the perfect background for this riot of yellows and orange.  I was thinking how after the leaves are gone and the trees are bare, we get the dimming greys of winter (unless there’s lots of white stuff coating the world around us). Waiting for winter.
Riding through Central Park.
Last night. John and Joan Jakobson, those two inveterate fulltime charmers gave a “holiday” (or holiday-ish) annual cocktail party at their Park Avenue apartment for thousands of their closest friends. All that is an exaggeration of course, but the friends part is true. They are a couple who have a lot of friends, whom they see and whom they have fun with.

The Jakobsons are long time New Yorkers (although Joan hails from Boston and Kennedyland) with interests that run in several directions so -- a wide variety of friends. And they love their friends. And their friends love them back.

On the sked.  Elizabeth Meigher from Quest has been after me for a month to go to this “party” opening of the Stuart Weitzman store on Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street that was held last night. The idea, personally, did not grab me. There are certain people whom I have a tendency to go along with, however. That’s my problem but then again, that’s my problem. Elizabeth is one of them. She really pours it on when she wants to flatter, and I fall just like one of those dead leaves in the picture above.
Stuart Weitzman shoes to choose from ...
She also told me that I could have a pair of shoes. I reminded her that I don’t wear those kinds of shoes, that my feet were too big (and ugly) and those heels have always struck me as hazardous in a variety of ways. However, I was told I could pick out a pair of shoes and give them to one of the girls I  knew at the party.

Groan. So I grab a cab and go down to 53rd and Fifth. I get there about 8 o’clock. I can see that I missed the main part of the party although there were quite a few guests still mingling, milling and enjoying the champagne.

People always ask me “is there a society today?” Answer: Yes. Where is it? It’s here. In the store. You think I’m kidding? Society today is about shopping. The other day I got an invitation to a brunch for a young woman who has gone into the clothes designing/ manufacturing business. Someone is giving her a luncheon at a private club here. The invitation also stated that I could have a look at her line (pictures were enclosed) at the luncheon. Just by chance.

Tinsley dons her new pair of shoes.
When I was in the schmatte business an eon ago, I used to look at that stuff and decide whether or not it would walk out of the store.  Now when it’s put before me I can’t help having a quick look at the stuff (much more quickly). And I am reminded how glad I am to be out of that business. (Because I don’t know anymore.)

No small irony that a lifetime and a career later, as a social reporter/chronicler, I am confronted with the schmatte again. And they call it a party. Shoe store openings or social ladies luncheon. The latter I won’t be attending, but I have no doubt that a lot of women whom you’ve seen many times on the NYSD, will be there. And looking at the schmattes, and thinking about what they’ll wear in St. Barth’s or Palm Beach, or Aspen, or Harbor Island in the coming months.

So, there I am at Stuart Weitzman’s grand opening reception hosted by Quest’s Elizabeth Meigher and Cornelia Guest. I’ve come this far and I insist I get to pick out a pair of shoes for a friend at the party. I went around quickly with my camera and took pictures of what I thought would look good on a goodlooking foot. I still like the shoes on women where you see a good ankle and well-proportioned slender foot. I don’t get the risk-taking stilettos – they’re too much like credit derivatives for me. However that’s the fashion (and it’ll probably go out when the credit derivatives go out).

I also decided that Tinsley Mortimer whom I hadn’t seen in months, and who was there, would be the friend who’d get to own the shoes. When I showed her the ones I liked, however (see photos), she had her eye on another pair. These she loved. They had a strap just over the ankle. I don’t like all those straps wrapping around the ankle and lower leg. It’s a matter of taste but I think they hide the beauty.

She liked them, however. Although she was willing to go along with my decision. I decided she should get what she likes. And so she did. They are black, with a raised sole (I don’t know how else you describe it). And a strap just above the ankle. And so I took some shots of them. Of course you can barely see them because she’s wearing black stockings. But they look good on her. She’s lookin’ good, old Tinsley, as you can see. Very good. And she was right the shoes she loves look great on her.
Patrick McMullan with Tinsley Mortimer. Tinsley modeling her new Stuart Weitzman shoes.
From Stuart Weitzman, it was uptown to 86th and Fifth Avenue to the Café Sabarsky of the Neue Galerie in the old Vanderbilt mansion built in 1916 by Carrere and Hastings. Because: Yanna Avis, my friend the chan-tooze was giving a special cabaret concert for members of the Museum and their friends.

Yanna grew up in Paris, and although she left long ago to come to New York and marry Warren Avis, Paris has not left her. Not for a minute. Her songs are often French, and sung in French, and last night she added German songs a la Dietrich or Greta Keller.

We’re very fortunate here in New York to have Yanna’s talent to give us a glimpse of the refinement and the wit that formed the cultures three quarters of a century ago. To see it and to hear it as Yanna ma chantooze presents it (and an actress she is also), is to be reminded of many things that have served us well.
The chantooze enters the cabaret.
Yanna singing one of her standards of Paris life: "(He's) Just a Gigolo..."
I could see the audience thought so too. Yanna will also be appearing this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Metropolitan Room this Monday at 9:30 pm, and on Tuesday evening at 7. Check it out.

Comments? Contact DPC here.