Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Yawk to Paris

Sunset sky. 7:30 PM.
Thursday, July 9, 2015.  Yesterday was very warm and muggy in New York, and overcast with the possibility of rain. The forecast was for heavy thunderstorms late in the day. Someplace maybe, but not in Manhattan.

Nevertheless, it was Wednesday and I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Kitty Kelley who was up from our nation’s capital to take in some Broadway shows (yesterday she was catching the matinee of “April In Paris”). Michael’s was full. Two international architectural masters, Norman, Lord Foster was lunching with Robert A.M. Stern; Literary and Media agent Rob Weisbach was lunching with AJ Jacobs.

Michael's list, Wednesday, July 8

• Boaty Boatwright
• Glenn Horowitz
• Rob Weisbach and AJ Jacobs
• Robert A. M. Stern with
Norman, Lord Foster
• Ed Klein with
Mark Simone
• Chris Meigher
• Micki Ateyeh with Tita Cahn
• Joe Armstrong with
David Zinczenko
• Andrew Stein
• Henry Schleiff with
David Zaslav
• Esther Newberg
• Richard Fitzberg with
Arlen Oransky
• Steven Rattner
• John Hart
• Lewis Korman
• Anthony Cenname
• Lisa Linden with
Marcello Porcelli
• Bonnie Fuller
• Gerry Byrne
• Christopher Kaplan
• Jimmy Markel
• Cynthia McFadden
• Euan Rellie
• Kitty Kelley
AJ Jacobs.
AJ, if you didn’t know, is a writer and humorist who writes about reality with a different spin. His book “The Know-It-All” is self-described as “One man’s humble quest to become the Smartest Person in the World.” Another “My Life As an Experiment” he describes as “one man’s humble quest to improve himself.” Then there is “Drop Dead Healthy” in which he quested for “bodily perfection.”

For example, he first wrote a book called “The Year of Living Biblically” in which he lived by The Word. Born into a Jewish family but brought up in the modern world, he grew up with a much lighter religious heritage than his forebears. In “Living Biblically,” he followed the Bible to the letter including practicing some of the ancient beliefs that can seem absurd (and even funny out of context) in the 21st Century. The result of his “study” was often very funny, or stunningly different, but without the actual intention. The unintentional result was that for the first time in his life he began practicing his birth religion seriously.

I met AJ several years ago through a mutual friend.  I was struck by the humor (and irony) in his literary pursuits but also by the actual humility with which he approaches his subjects.

He’s working on a new project on genealogy. You might have read about it in the New York Times a couple of months ago when he was organizing a “Global Family Reunion.” It’s his version of “the family of man” in which we are all related. That doesn’t sound so far fetched if you think about it. Or at least not too far-fetched. And amusing too. For example, in his research he found that he and George W Bush (“41”) are related  21 times through marriage, on interlocking family trees so that he can say, according to his definition, they are “cousins.” Same with Ludacris and with Danielle Radcliffe, and probably even me, although I haven’t asked him.
A. J. Jacobs organized a Global Family Reunion to celebrate the premise that essentially everyone on earth is related. Credit Brian Harkin for The New York Times
You see, there is something about his work that makes you smile, maybe makes you laugh, often makes you feel good, and yet is quite serious and even uplifting in this modern world of what often seems like unlimited chaos.

Whenever I run into him I always greet him with a smile that breaks out naturally. He’s the essence of a good guy, with a subliminal message of goodness for all of us (at least some of the time).  And he’s also, like any great humorist, very serious.

AJ Jacobs with one of his extremely distant cousins, John Legend.
He hosted his Global Family reunion here in New York last June 6 at the New York Hall of Science on the old World’s Fair grounds in Queens. There were speeches by Henry Louis Gates, Dr. Oz, Andy Borowitz, with entertainment by David Blaine, Paul Williams, Sister Sledge and even a video message from Mr. Bush too. And it was a party, and a fundraiser (benefiting Alzheimer’s research) as well games and lots of food too. Visit his website http://ajjacobs.com and see what I mean. You gotta love him.

Also in the room, NBC’s Cynthia McFadden was hosting a lunch with five individuals who I was told are people working in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I didn’t get this from Cynthia, but she is a journalist and this was a table intense conversation (from what I could see).

There was also the story that came in the door with the clientele, as people were taking their seats for lunch, that the Stock Exchange had closed down trading in the middle of the day, which as we know is very unusual. The explanations ran the gamut, including the idea that it was just a rumor. It wasn’t. The explanations that have followed have varied at the time of this writing. Whatever it was, it was scary.

Meanwhile over in Paris, it has been Fashion Week, as you may know if you’ve been reading Vanessa Friedman’s report in the New York Times. Our friend Judy Price and her National Jewelry Institute was in Paris for the occasion where the NJI and the Parsons School of Design were celebrating their first annual Fine Arts of High Jewelry and Timepieces Awards at the the Hotel Le Bristol this past Sunday.
The best single creation from each new jewelry and timepiece collection was recognized by a prominent jury of experts including — Joel Towers (Dean of Parsons School of Design), Aymeric Zublana (President of the Academie des Beaux Arts & Institute du France), Vincent Meylan (noted author and historian), Ben Clymer (founder of Hodinkee), and Catherine Pegard (President of the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles).
Certificates to be awarded to participating brands.
Judy Price, Founder and President of the National Jewelry Institute, giving diploma to Véronique Lepinay, PR & Marketing Senior Manager of Bulgari France. Kilian Hennessy, founder of By Kilian (Perfumes and Colognes), with his wife Elisabeth Jones-Hennessy.
Joel Towers, Dean of Parsons School of Design, Mr. and Mrs. Andrea Buccellati, and Burak Cakmak, Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design.
Susan LeDuc, Dean of Parsons Paris with Ben Clymer, founder of watch publication Hondikee and member of the jury.
Cindy Chao, The Art Jewel/Chinese jewelry artisan, with François Arpels, shareholder and member of the Executive Committee of Van Cleef & Arpels. Jeannette Chang, Senior Vice President of Hearst Magazines, George Ledes, publisher of Beauty Fashion magazine, and Christine Schott, editor of Beauty Fashion magazine.
Vincent Meylan, noted author and historian as well as a member of the jury, with Mr. Mellerio.
Susan LeDuc (Dean of Parsons- Paris), Jowel Towers (Dean of Parsons- New York), and Barbara Cirkva, Chanel president of fashion and watches- USA.
Each individual creation from the 39 brands was awarded a certificate by the jury in recognition of the design, creativity and innovation. The Awards were conceived, not as a competition between brands, but rather a celebration of the creativity that each house has to offer. This initiative was born of the partnership between the National Jewelry Institute and the Parsons School of Design that aims to promote high jewelry and timepieces as decorative arts.
BVLGARI — Necklace 260512. High Jewelry necklace in pink gold with 7 cushion shaped blue Sri Lanka sapphires.
De Grisogono — Necklace in High Jewellery Collection. White gold necklace set with 178 Fancy Shape white diamonds (74.81 Ct) and 4401 emeralds (98.44 Ct).
Cindy Chao — Diamond Butterfly Brooch.
Dior — Dénoué Diamant necklace.
Tiffany & Co. — Bracelet of diamonds in platinum in a wave pattern inspired by an archival watch chain, from the Tiffany Blue Book 2015, The Art of the Sea.
Hermes — Arceau Pocket Vagues et Coquillages.
Louis Vuitton — Tambour Graphite Chronographe GMT Avec Fond.
The following evening – this past Monday, the leading houses were then honored at a gala dinner for 200 at the Musée du Louvre. The gala evening was hosted by Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark; Mrs. Price and Joel Towers of the Parsons New School of Design. Eric Frechon, the 3-Star Michelin chef at Le Bristol prepared an amazing meal.
Pascal Ravessoud, Director of Missions & General Secretary of the Cultural Council at Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie; Judy Price, President of the National Jewelry Institute; Joel Towers, Dean of Parsons School of Design; and Benjamin Clymer, founder of watch publication Hondikee.
Dale Brown, Boucheron U.S. Brand Director, Sophie Delas, Paris Director of Boucheron, and Stephen Jacobs. Agnes Monplaisir-Pellerin, founder & owner of the Galerie Agnes Monplaisir, with her husband, Christian Pellerin.
Juliette Binoche, French actress, Mrs. Marzia Babin (wife of Jean-Christophe), Mr. Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, and Judy Price, President of the National Jewelry Institute. Muriel Imowicz, Director of Bulgari France, Belgium, and Monaco (right) and husband.
Mr. Laurent Boidevezi , International Director of Veuve-Clicquot and wife. Cindy Chao, The Art Jewel/Taiwanese jewelry artisan with Francois Arpels, shareholder and member of the Executive Committee of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer  of Groupe Renault, Judy Price, President of the National Jewelry Institute, and Michael Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton. Mr. Jean-Louis Goubin, Director of the Cabinet at the Academie des Beaux-Arts.
Stephen Hung and wife; Sylvie Rousseau, Boutique Montaigne Manager of Christian Dior Couture; and Michael Burke. Susan Gutfreund.
Mr. Jean-Marc Gallot, CEO of Veuve Clicquot and his wife. Joel Towers, Dean of Parsons Paris, and Kathleen Beckett, Founder of Friends of Fashion.
Eric Frechon, 3-star Michelin chef of Hotel Le Bristol.
Solange Azagury-Patridge, London-based jewelry designer, jewelry designer Lorenz Baumer, and Lucia Silvestri, Creative Director at Bulgari.
Lorenz Baumer and Catherine Pégard. Lucia Silvestri with Mr. and Mrs. Jean Christophe Babin.
Agnes Monplaisir and Rose Anne de Pampelonne. Juliette Binoche and Princesse SAS Lilly Zu Sayn Wittgenstein Berleburg.
Carlos Ghosn, Judith Price, and Olivier Gabet.
Olivier Josse and Catherine Pégard. Mrs. and Mr. Bruno Aveillan.
Francesca Amfitheatrof. Judith Price with Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Ghosn.
Mr. and Mrs. Jean de Gunzburg. Judy and Peter Price.