Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jim Mitchell's Summer Abroad

The Grand Canal in Venice.
My friend Jim Mitchell, a veteran New York publicist of the international jet set since just about its “inception” (in the international press), always spends part of his summers abroad, in Venice, Morocco, the South of France and then back home in Newport. It is a world and way of life that follows literally in the footsteps of those who dwelled in the photographs we've published in Augustus Mayhew’s serial chronicle of Ellen Ordway’s photographs on these pages in all 26 chapters. It was, and remains for some, a world in which the word “luxury” defined its essence, and without a price tag attached. Last June when Jim told me he was spending a good part of the summer in Europe, I asked him if he’d take some notes and some photos of his travels for us. These are his notes and photos, taken by the hand and eyes of the man who’s walked these paths many times before, and in an ever-changing world.

VENICE is one of the most beautiful cities in the world ... lots of tourists ... lots of Japanese tourists.

Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York with her daughters, Beatrice and Eugenia, along with Kate Moss were at a dinner on the terrace of the Hotel Monaco on the Grand Canal given by Sir David Tang.

Toni and Martin Sosnoff's lunch at the the Hotel Cipriani was with the world famous cardiologist, Dr. Sanford Friedman and his wife, Ginny Housam Friedman.
Hotel Monaco and Harry's Bar (right) on the Grand Canal in Venice.
The restaurant at the Hotel Monaco on the Grand Canal.
Dinners at Harry's Bar, one of the most expensive restaurants in the world ... Bellinis, 16.50 euros; Salad, 22 euros; Pasta, Baked Tagliolini (a signature dish for Cipriani all over the world), 43 euros; Steak, 66 euros; Cipriani's famous cake, 32 euros. It is the same menu as Cipriani on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Harry's Bar is packed every night — very few tourists. There is a dress code: no shorts; but the restaurant is full of well dressed Venetians and Italian nobility.

Harry Cipriani, the patriarch of the family, has dinner several nights a week at the restaurant with a couple of friends. He gets up from his table every night and personally greets all of the guests having dinner. After dinner he takes the vaporetto home. The vaporetto is the bus on the Grand Canal and one of the stops is next to Harry's Bar.
The vaporetto on the Grand Canal.
The Biennale ... Murano ... Burano ... lunches on the island of Torcello ... Harry's Bar ... The Terrace of the Hotel Monaco ... The Gondolas ... The colorful singing Gondoliers ... Drinks and music in the Piazza San Marco ... The Pigeons ... The Beautiful Churches ... The Church Bells ringing every hour ... Hotel Cipriani ... The Vaporetto ... The Excelsior Hotel and the beautiful beaches on the Lido ... The magnificent Palazzos on the Grand Canal ... Peggy Guggenheim's Museum ... Shopping of the Rialto Bridge ... ALL part of the mystique of Venice.
Piazza San Marco.
Piazza San Marco.
The Excelsior Hotel, Venice.
The beach at the Excelsior Hotel on the Lido in Venice.

Tangier, the exciting city on the top of Morocco, is a holiday mecca. July, August, and September. It is what St. Tropez used to be in the '50s. One of the most exciting things that happened this summer was the opening of El Morocco Club on top of the Casbah. El Morocco Club is owned by Vincent Coppée, and is packed every day for lunch and dinner. Lunch is in the Garden. Dinners in the club — three floors with a terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean. There are the famous zebra stripes, good food — a Continental menu; music, dancing and endless magnums of Champagne ... lasting until the sun comes up.
El Morocco Club In Tangier.
Charles Sevigney, Vincent Coppée (owner of El Morocco), and Jim Mitchell.
The dining room at El Morocco Club.
Jerome Guerin, Rubis Felderman, Sophie Raynal, and Isabelle Topolina in the garden at El Morocco Club.
Pierre-Henri Ramaget, Jerome Guerin, Isabelle Topolina, and Francesco (standing).
Charles Sevigny’s beautiful house, "Dar Zero," is high on top of the Casbah,which overlooks all of Tangier. Charles, an American, was one of the most famous interior designers in France. He lived in Paris, and with the late Yves Vidal they bought the famous York Castle on top of the Casbah where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet. York Castle was known allover the world for its incredible decor including lots of Knoll furniture. Yves Vidal was the President of Knoll International.
Charles Sevigney at his house, "Dar Zero."
The Garden of "Dar Zero."
Jamie Creel at "Dar Zero."
York Castle was also visited by some of the most famous names in the world for lunch and dinner during the big Malcom Forbes birthday party in the late '80s. Many of Malcom's guests stayed there. Charles now lives in Tangier in his beautiful house, gardens and lots of servants, Anwar, Rachid, Said, and Abdella, whom Charles says, "treats him like a Prince."

Jamie Creel of New York and Paris, a partner in Creel and Gow on Madison Avenue in New York City, and often a visitor of Charles at "Dar Zero," arrived in Tangier for his annual summer holiday.
Malcom Forbes and Liz Taylor at his 70th birthday party in Tangier, 1989.
A summer wedding in Tangier.

Marbella is an hour away from Tangier by boat to the coast of Spain. A paradise on the Mediterranean where the weather is perfect. It never rains in the summer. July, August, and September in Marbella is one of the most glamorous places to be in the world. Lunches are at the MC Beach restaurant, near the Marbella Club, which is the center of the social life.
The MC Beach restaurant In Marbella.
Barbara San Damian with Daniel Shahmoon, owner of the MC Beach restaurant.
Count Rudi von Schonburg-Glauchau and Barbara San Damian at lunch at the MC Beach restaurant.
The Spanish soup at the San Damian lunch.
The Paella.
One of the social leaders in Marbella is Barbara, the Marquesa Viuda de San Damian. Barbara lives in Madrid, Marbella, and Palm Beach. Her house, "La Barbara," is on the grounds of the Marbella Club. Everyday she and many of her friends have lunch at MC Beach which is packed at 2 p.m. and has the best fish in Marbella ... MC Beach is like Michael's in NYC. MC Beach is owned by Daniel Shahmoon, son of the late billionaire David Shahmoon. Many days Daniel's wife Nadine and his baby daughter Inez have lunch at the restaurant.

Barbara's lunch at her house was for Princess Marie Louise of Prussia and her husband,Count Rudi von Schonburg-Glauchau. The Count is one of the most important people in Marbella. He has made the Marbella Club the great place that it is today.
Barbara San Damian at her house, "La Barbara," in Marbella.
Left to right: Princess Marie Louise of Prussia, Princess Alexander of Yugoslavia, Fee Loudon, Ann Robinson, Erik Loudon, Barbara San Damian, and Count Rudi von Schonburg-Glauchau (standing) at "La Barbara."
Princess Alexander of Yugoslavia and Jim Mitchell.
Erik Loudon, Ann Robinson, Barbara San Damian, and Prince Veriand Windisch-Graetz.
Barbara's guests at her lunch were Ann Robinson, Jim Mitchell, who had just arrived from a month in Venice ... Fee and Erik Loudon, who were leaving for a cruise in the Greek Islands (Fee is the former Countess von und Zu Solms) ... Prince Veriand Windisch-Graetz (his first wife was Caroline Knott, who was Liz Smith's secretary at Igor Cassini's office many moons ago). They had two sons. She later married Howard Cushing and next married the son of the owner of the Washington Post ... William Graham ... Prince and Princess Alexander of Yugoslavia. Princess Alexander was formerly Princess Barbara of Lichtenstein. Prince Alexander is the father of Prince Dimitriof Yugoslavia, who lives in New York and Prince Michel of Yugoslavia who lives in Geneva. Their mother is Princess Maria Pia de Savoia, the wife of Prince Michel de Bourbon-Parme, who lives in Palm Beach. Prince Alexander just celebrated his 89th birthday. They were in Marbella for 6 weeks, leaving at the end of September for a big Romanov family reunion in the Crimea. Prince Alexander is a Romanov.
Princess Marie of Prussia on the beach in Marbella.

Some of the memorable moments of the Newport summer were: The Flower Show ... The Antique Show ... Ruth Buchanan's dinner dance at her house "Beaulieu" on Bellevue Avenue ... Maureen Donnell's big party in August ... Jay Page's dinner at the Clambake Club ... Topsy Taylor's lunches on her private island ... Helen Winslow's lunch at Bailey's Beach for Fern Tailer and Barbara Cates ... Angela and Steven Kumble's party at their magnificent apartment at "Bonniecrest" ... the New York Yacht Club's Invitational Cup Race, which runs from September 7th to September 14th.
Ruth Buchanan's house, "Beaulieu," in Newport.
Saturday Night, August 31st. Under a balmy summer night more than 600 guests were at Bailey's Beach annual Clambake. The evening is one of the most beautiful events in New England. Nothing in America is better. There is music, dancing, lobsters, clams, corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, ice cream ... lots of little blonde children, lots of students who are home for summer vacation, Newport's summer and winter residents, their houseguests and others who make Newport one of the most glamorous places in the world.
The New York Yacht Club, Newport.
Some of the people in Newport this summer were: Joanne and Henry Breyer ... Maureen Donnell and her houseguests, Fern Tailer and Jimmy Clarke from Palm Beach, Barbara Cates and Jim Mitchell ... Diana and Jerry Slocum ... Helen Winslow, who is moving back to New York City ... Oatsie Charles ... Irene Aitken, who spends July and August in Newport ... Louise Grosvenor ... Marjorie Spencer ... Bobby Spencer of Palm Beach ... Henry Lynn ... Alice Lynch, who has been away on a cruise ... Steven Elkman ... Nanette Cavanaugh and her husband, George Herrick ... Pamela O'Connor who lives in Newport and Palm Beach ... Jay Page ... Melinda Hyland, whose family was the late millionaire Philanthropist, Elmer Bobst. Bobst gave NYU the Bobst Library. He was a personal friend of President Eisenhower and a very close personal friend of President Nixon. Also in Newport: Stuart Sundlun, the son of the former Governor of Rhode Island ... Michael Sullivan ... Linda and David Lindt from Texas ... Audrey Oswald and others who make up the summer in Newport.
The Newport Harbour Court at the New York Yacht Club.