Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Enduring the cold

Braving the cold on 84th and Fifth. 3:00 PM. Photo: Jeff Hirsch.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Very cold in New York. The kind where your face hurts if you’re walking along the street for a few minutes, and afterwards when you get inside, the tip of your nose hurts. So, as you might imagine, people stayed inside as much as possible.

Today is the 79th anniversary of Elvis Presley. The generations that grew up on rock-n-roll all remember where they were when they first saw Elvis perform (mainly national television – Milton Berle Show, Horace Heidt Show and Ed Sullivan.

Elvis on the Milton Berle Show in 1956.
He was an overnight sensation and the nation’s number one male sex symbol (Liz in her column the other day alluded to Elvis and Marilyn of being the symbols of their time and the generation that followed).

He died thirty-seven years ago in 1977 at 42. The national mourning was comparable to the death of Rudolph Valentino fifty years before. Elvis was in a very real way the Valentino of his  generation. His home Graceland in Memphis is still a major tourist attraction and has been visited by millions. His estate continues to earn millions of dollars a year. Yet Elvis remains a sensational and yet sad tale of the vagaries of stardom. Nevertheless the man’s work remains an affecting legacy.

I went down to Michael’s for lunch. The traffic was gridlock on all the downtown avenues, except for Fifth, with few people walking. When I got to Michael’s, there were security people outside as well as a couple of big black Escalades and a squad car. Inside, in the garden, Paramount Pictures was giving a luncheon for its Oscar nominees.

There were security guys in the restaurant also. I was told the security was for Leonardo DiCaprio, whether or not that was true. Shortly after I took my table, Leonardo came into the restaurant. He was well turned out in a grey suit and tie, as he passed our table, he noticed Martin Scorsese sitting at Table One in the bay with Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News and Henry Schlieff,  and went over to greet them all.
Paramount took over the entire Garden Room (along with a hefty dose of security). The guest list was as follows:  Tony Lo Bianco, Cornelia and Marty Bregman, Seth Meyers, Will Forte, Jonah Hill, Tom Baird, Fred Zollo, Bruce Dern, Steve Buscemi, Rob Reiner, Tina Louise, Baz Bamigboye, Leslie Dart, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Roger Friedman, Stu Zakim, Richard Gere, Wendy Finerman, Naomi Foner, Carol Kane.  I always have my camera with me and part of me was thinking I should try to get some photos. But it’s a harder objective when people are eating, and you don’t know them, to ask them to look at the camera, so I didn’t. Here's a little photo collage instead.
I was having lunch with Judy Price who just returned with her husband Peter from a trip to India, to Calcutta, which they loved. The Prices have been to India more than a dozen times but never to Calcutta. Judy was surprised, and pleasantly, to see a center that reminded her more of the middle of London than the so-called “Black Hole of Calcutta.”

Judy Price.
Judy, if you didn’t know, created Avenue magazine about forty years ago. I was her Editor-in-Chief from 97 to 2000. It was at Avenue where I met Jeff Hirsch, who co-founded the NYSD with me. Judy sold the magazine the following year. Many thought it was a sign of retirement, but no grass grows under that lady’s feet.

A naturally industrious and enterprising woman, and dogged in her approach to achieving a task, she started a new project, the National Jewelry Institute with the ultimate goal of founding a jewelry museum. That ultimate goal remains just that right now but the Nat. Jewelry Institute is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a black tie gala dinner on May 7th at the Morgan Library. JP Morgan himself was one of the world’s greatest collectors of jewels.

Typically, the tables are sold out to some of the world’s leading fashion, jewelry and luxury brands such Armani, Assael, Boucheron, Bulgari, Chanel, Chopard, Dior, Forevermark, Georg Jensen, Givenchy, Hermes, ING Bank, Nespresso, Ralph Lauren, Richemont, Ruinart, Tiffany, Turnbull and Asser, Valentino, Vartanian & Sons, and Louis Vuitton. I told you: enterprising, industrious.

A piece once worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at National Jewelry Institute's Notorious & Notable: 20th Century Women of Style exhibtion at the Museum of the City of New York in 2011.
The evening, she told me, will celebrate the support of all these great brand leaders who have during the past decade supported the National Jewelry Institute’s fifteen exhibitions in major world capitals, as well as the four books produced about jewelry and style. The Honorary Chair of the evening will be HRH Princess Marie Chantal of Greece who will attend with her husband HRH Prince Pavlos.

The Institute’s next major exhibition, Destination NY: Traveling in Style will open on April 15, 2015 at the then newly renovated Cultural Services of the French Embassy (in the old Stanford White designed Payne Whitney mansion) on Fifth Avenue between 79th and 78th. 

What makes the show unusual is that the exhibit focuses on famous people such as Marlene Dietrich, JP Morgan, Lord Mountbatten, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Arden, and Humphrey Bogart. It will include photos of the people and objects they owned and travelled with, such as: lighters, flasks, money clips, pocket watches, travelling games, bookmarks, cufflinks, minaudieres, and jeweled sunglasses.  Also on exhibit will be travelling outfits belonging to people such as the Duchess of Windsor and Babe Paley. International interior designer Juan Montoya will design the exhibition.
Highlights from the National Jewelry Institute's last six exhibitions (clockwise from top left): Invisibly Set Ruby and Diamond Circle Earclips, which belonged to Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Van Cleef & Arpels, 1941; Pounamu (NZ Jade) Necklace, New Zealand Jade, golden pearls, colored diamonds; Necklace with Cross Pendant, Byzantium, 6th to 7th century C.E.; Gold Medal of Donna Lynn Weinbrecht; Foliage Earrings, 18k gold, Burma rubies, enamel. Designer: Leila Tai; Harry Winston Avenue Squared A2 Timepiece, 18k white gold, diamonds (5.34 carats), satin strap, Double quartz movement.

Contact DPC here.