Vision abounds

American Museum of Natural History from back of a taxi. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, February 17, 2011. Sunny day. Warm enough to go out without an overcoat, with just a scarf (I was going to be getting around by cab, was the plan).

Wednesday, Michael’s lunch.
Someone asked me what was so special about Wednesday lunch at Michael’s. I’m not sure except years ago I started giving it a shout out and then mediabistro.com came along and started doing it every Wednesday. Now, whether it’s the reason or not, it’s jammed every Wednesday.
Looking east from West Street. 2:30 PM. Photo: JH.
In the room: Desiree Gruber with Debra Messing and Molly Madden; Rosana Scotto and Penny Crone and Lynne White; Steve Mosko with Tom Bernard and Michael Barker; Cindi Berger with Maurie Perl and Ellen Levine; Jaqui Safra and friends; Gerry Imber et al, including Greenfield, Della Femina and Bergman; Debra Shriver; Harold Ford with David Gregory of Meet the Press. Gregory’s a long tall drink of water; did you know that? Moving along, Mika Brzezinski, Steve Rattner and Joe Scarborough; Ed Klein with Mitchell Ivers; Jack Myers with Renee Appelle; Kate White; Star Jones; Chris Meigher; Diane Clehane (of mediabistro); Dr. Ian Smith; Walter Sabo; Bob Towbin with Alan Mnuchin; Jim Dunning with Mitch Stern; Jim Chanos; Jesse Kornbluth with Peter Smith, father of one of Jesse’s mentor/instructors back at Milton Academy; and I was with Brooke Hayward who brought along a copy of her about to be re-printed memoir Haywire, in the stores the first week in March.

Before we go any further:
on Wednesday, March 9, at 11:45 at The Monkey Bar in the Hotel Elysee, The Board of Trustees and the Public Prep Leadership Council are hosting their first Public Prep Network Namesake Luncheon with Caroline Kennedy as Keynote Speaker, introduced by Former Chancellor Joel Klein and Special Guests Liz Abzug, Majora Carter, Joan Ganz Cooney, Faith Ringgold.
Public Prep Network is a non-profit that develops single-sex elementary and middle public schools. Public Prep currently operates three single-sex schools: Girls Prep Bronx, Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School, and Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary Schools, the first all-girls charter school in New York City.

While the controversy continues, the founders of these charter schools are working to mend and reform the public educational system in this country. Its time has come/is coming/will come; vision abounds.

If you have children or grandchildren or care about our children and their future in this country, this world, this is something to learn about and perhaps get involved in.
To purchase tickets online: www.publicprep.org.
Back to the day: I left Michael’s about quarter to two for a two o’clock show of Oscar de la Renta’s Fall Collection. Brooke figured I could walk the walk if I couldn’t get a cab. And besides these shows never start on time. I got a cab and was there before 2.

583 Park, the Delano and Aldrich designed house of worship which is now a venue for charitable events and Oscar de la Renta’s collection shows. Mr. de la Renta made the exclusive deal when Louis Rose, the impresario of 583 Park, began managing it.
Big crowd outside. Oscar’s show is the kind of the Jewel in the Crown of the collections if for no other reason than that he is the remaining major American fashion designer of his generation. He has outlived and/or outlasted all who were his peers.

Furthermore, he has done it with a kind of panache that has a patina, if that is possible.

I know that sounds like some kind of Valentine but I can assure you I am not inclined to valentine people I don’t know. The achievement is there for anyone to see. Yesterday’s show was spectacular but typical. His stuff is just beautiful to look at. And there’s always a dash of shimmer and glint to the eye, and it’s never de trop.

There’s music when she enters the room.
The women are enhanced in perfect harmony with their clothes.
Perhaps that is the Lanvin-Castillo in his early apprenticeship. What is and will be seen as amazing about Mr. de la Renta, when they finally write the book about him – and no doubt one day they will (and it won’t be boring) – is how he managed to become his own classic. And “managed” is the key word. It is a total image that reflects a way of life, a view of life, and its self-expression as reality. To the businessman it is brilliant, to the artist it is completion; an integration of all the elements so as to be one. Ralph Lauren immediately comes to mind, but Oscar de la Renta is the textbook example. In his business, it is the ultimate accolade. His mentors had it, and indeed, he has it too. And unlike even them, he never quit.

If you want to know what highly refined ambition in the human spirit looks like, have a look, there it is. History will take note, and respectfully.

His collections also draw a bevy of some of the best dressed women in New York including Barbara Walters, Stephanie Krieger, Emilia Saint-Amand, Helene Martinez, Gaetana Enders, Shirley Lord Rosenthal, Lally Weymouth, Toni Goodale, Linda Wachner, Oscar’s wife Annette de la Renta, Mica Ertegun, Jamee Gregory, almost all of them wearing an Oscar in paying homage, with their seating tactfully supervised by their hero and Oscar’s sales director Boaz Mazor.

George blows out the SEVEN candles on his cake.
Last night Beth DeWoody had a birthday dinner at her Gracie Square aerie for her friend George Farias. About 45 guests including Will and Laura Zeckendorf, Anne Bass and Julian Lethbridge, Jay and Tracy Snyder, Debbie Bancroft, Susan Stroman, Alina Cho, Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst, Alison Mazzola, Calvin Tomkins and Dodie Kazanjian, Virginia Coleman, Carlton DeWoody, Susan Gutfreund, Arch and Judy Cox, Wendy Stark in from L.A., telling me she’s thinking of spending more time in the Big Apple; Alex Papachristidis, Scott Nelson, Billy Rudin, Gayle and Charles Atkins, Craig Starr, Bettina Zilkha, Maria Tuttle, also in from L.A., Nan and Gay Talese, Carol Mack, Bronson van Wyck, Patrick McMullan, and a score more just like ‘em.

The menu was pure Zarela who was present in the kitchen and in the living room. Everything including her signature guacamole which I can’t stay away from.

Everybody ate a lot. The room was in a talkative mood. You don’t always find this at a party. I think it could be said it’s what happens when George gathers his friends around; a lotta talk. However, as I told him last night, all of it very interesting. And I’m sure: a happy birthday for George.
George Farias and Alina Cho. Bill Rudin, Susan Stroman, and George Farias.
The birthday boy is presented his birthday cake by Jay McInerney.
Da Cake.
In the living room. Foreground: Tomkins and Kazanjian. By piano: Carlton DeWoody talking to Zarela. Below them left: Susan Gutfreund, Anne Bass. Julian Lethbridge standing behind Patrick McMullan taking a pic of Wendy Stark. On the white sofa, left, Archibald Cox. Standing: Jay Snyder. Sitting: Nan Talese, Judy Cox, Gay Talese. Standing: Jay and the cake.
View from the terrace, north across to Queens and the Triboro Bridge; view to the south across the channel to Roosevelt Island and south to the 59th Street Queensboro Bridge, with the frequently mentioned Promenade lighted below.
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