Thursday, September 6, 2018

The first day of the Social Season in New York

On the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater for the Museum at FIT's Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion luncheon. Photo: Annie Watt.
Thursday, September 6, 2018. Yesterday was another day of the weatherman’s drill: Hot and Humid. It’s the humidity that really does us in, however.

It was Wednesday and so there was the weekly Michael’s rundown which I could not do because I was elsewhere (which will follow), but a little bird gave me a glimpse into the dining room where notably Gale Hayman was lunching with her friend Jerry Hall Murdoch; Cindy Adams and Tommy Tune were lunching with Judge Judy and her third husband Jerry  Sheindlin.

Mr. Sheindlin was also Judge Judy’s second husband. I knew none of this until I was writing this Diary and I looked him up. If you’re one of the millions of Judge Judy fans, you probably know this like the back of your hand. Mr. Sheindlin and la judge were first married in 1977 and divorced in 1990 for whatever reason. Then they remarried the following year. Good story, no? Love conquers all, even the publicity.
There are couple of these in the nabe which I spot everyday when walking the dogs. A Harley Davidson. I've never had one, driven one or ridden on one, and frankly I don't want to, BUT you have to admit, it's a beauty; a mechanical masterpiece, all silver and black and state of the art; a treasure in its own right.
I would have liked to meet Mrs. Murdoch, however, just for the pleasure of it as I’ve heard a lot nice things about her from many, including Ms. Hayman who is also a longtime friend of mine from our Los Angeles days (Gale is the creator of Giorgio perfume). It all fits with the photo images of  Mrs. M, the former Mrs. J.; and that in itself is a good nuff reason to want to meet the lady. Alas but ...

Nevertheless, yesterday was also the first day of the Social Season in New York. It’s official in my book, marked by the annual FIT Museum’s Couture Council luncheon where they honored Narciso Rodriguez with the 2018 Couture Council Award for Artistry in Fashion, on the Promenade of the David Koch Theater.
The view of the sky over Lincoln Center yesterday at noon time, suggesting a storm in the region. Nope; just magnificent clouds covering the blue and tantalizing us with its drama.
I don’t know what number this is but I’ve been covering it almost since the beginning. For several years it was held on the first day of Fashion Week. The Couture Council was created to assist the Museum at FIT in raising its profile and sponsoring more exhibitions. Their latest Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color opens tonight at the Museum. Louis XV’s Madame de Pompadour started the craze back in the late 18th century.
Madame de Pompadour in a pink evening dress with all of the frills and trimmings in this 1759 Boucher portrait (Wallace Collection, London).
When the Couture Council first held the luncheon at Lincoln Center, Fashion Week was centered in the tents set up beside the Metropolitan Opera House. Those days are gone, of course, and even Fashion Week or popular fashion itself is in the state of re-definition here and everywhere else.
Several hundred women and men attend. It’s mainly a “ladies lunch” but it’s also a “business” (fundraising and industry) luncheon so there are a lot of men in attendance as well as among the recipients.
Dr. Valerie Steele, the museum’s director, opened the speeches
Dr. Steele was followed by Dr. Joyce Brown
Jean Shafiroff and Angela Dotson thanking the guests for attending
The honoree was presented his award by Jessica Seinfeld, wife of that Seinfeld. Mrs. Seinfeld delivered her address about Mr. Rodriguez with rarely a look at her speech on paper before her. I was reminded of seeing her husband’s performance at the Beacon a couple of years ago (hilarious), ninety minutes of stand-up delivered as if it were off the top of his head. Someone later told me that Mr. Seinfeld rehearses and rehearses and rehearses to the point where when he delivers, it seems like it comes off the top.

Mr. Rodriguez, despite his great designing talents, has a modest bearing. At one point he stopped his acceptance, as if he’d possibly forgotten what he was going to say – except the words were on cards before him. Then, in giving thanks, he honored his mother and father who “worked hard all their lives” to give their son the opportunity to make the career he made. It was a very moving moment for both the designer and the guests, following by a great round of appreciative applause.
Jessica Seinfeld introducing Mr. Rodriguez
Narciso Rodriguez with his award
Dr. Joyce Brown, Narciso Rodriguez, and Valerie Steele
This year’s luncheon raised $950,000 which will pay for the “Pink” exhibition and several others, as well as helping the students at FIT with their work. Dr. Valerie Steele, the museum’s director, opened the speeches, followed by Dr. Joyce Brown whose work has greatly expanded FIT which now has 9000 students. After the honoring, the luncheon co-chairs Angela Dotson and Jean Shafiroff, thanked the guests for attending and brought Yaz Hernandez and Liz Peek (the main founder of the Couture Council) for the raffle (the number on a ticket given to each guest with their seating) of a python-skin handbag. And the show was over by 1:30.
Ms. Julie Macklowe, current president of the Couture Council at the Museum at FIT. How did I know it was Julie? She removed her "Lucha Libre" wrestling mask for a minute to assure me. Mary Snow wasn't convinced.
Muffie Potter Aston and Audrey Gruss
Arthur Elgort and Carole Divet Harting Angela Dotson and Ali Giardini
Julie Macklowe and Yaz Hernandez
Jamee Gregory Marjorie Reed Gordon and Margo Langenberg
Maria Fishel, Thomas Tolan, and PJ Pascual
Judy Byrd, Jonelle Procope, Susan Magrino, and Sandi Sheppard
Dr. Annette Rickell and Anna Kennedy Audrey Gruss and Karen LeFrak
Darcy Rigas and Michele Gerber Klein
Karen Klopp, Jack Lynch, and Hilary Dick
Fern Mallis and Babi Ahluwalia Liz Peek and Joan Hornig
Muffie Potter Aston, Mark Gilbertson, Juliette Longuet, and Kathy Prounis
Janna Bullock, Randi Schatz, Suzanne Murphy, Charles Battalilio, and Paola Bacchini Rosenshein
Alexandra Lebenthal Lisa Cashin, Michele Herbert, and Liz Peek
Valerie Simpson, B. Michael, and Amelia Ogunlesi
Jessica Seinfeld and Kathy Reilly
Eleanora Kennedy, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, and Martha Stewart Robin Coles, Barbara Culmer-Ilaw, Somers Farkas, and Karen Phillips
Stephanie March and Ali Wentworth
John Jones, Frank Zambrelli, Lisa Cashin, Sheila Stephenson, and Liz Peek
Charles Miers and Barbara Tober
Ernest Schmatolla and Ann Rapp
Katie Peek, Alison Tang, Patricia Shiah, Lauren Veronis, and Ann Van Ness
Victoria Guranowski, Eleanora Kennedy, and Peggy Siegel
Elizabeth Musmanno, Tinamarie Clark, Julie Macklowe, Narciso Rodriguez, Yaz Hernandez, Leticia Presutti, Fe Fendi, PJ Pascual, and Maria Fishel

Photogrpahs by Annie Watt & BFA

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