Debbie’s Week at a Glance – All Very Ralph & Roll

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The impossibly attractive Lauren clan: Natasha Schuetz, Andrew Lauren, Ricky Lauren, Ralph Lauren, Dylan Lauren, Paul Arrouet,  Lauren Bush Lauren, and David Lauren.

Ralph has had a helluva 12 months or so. He celebrated his 50th year in business with a triumphant Central Park show and, followed by a ’30’s nightclub fete, culminating in HBO’s “Very Ralph,” his first documentary. 

Where better to screen and celebrate the iconic Ralph, than at the Met, and as many pointed out, artistry was celebrated among the very finest art. Award winning director, Susan Lacy — not a fan of public speaking — said “Ralph is probably as nervous as I am” and Audrey probably said it best and let the film roll.

Director/producer, Susan Lacy presenting … All Very Ralph.

Audrey regally told us, in the opening footage of the film, shot when Ralph received the first CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, “It’s staggering you not only created a total concept of fashion and style, but by your constancy and integrity, protected it always, reminding us of the best things in life.”

The film begins unashamedly, with his modest, though always-fashionable Bronx beginnings. He and Ricky slept on a mattress on the floor, and created décor from fur scraps they scrounged in the garment district. He is often derided for his Wasp-ing of his given name, Lifschitz, but his very funny brother Jerry said, ‘Cohen, Goldberg, Greenberg would be fine, but Lifshitz?”

Fashion sandwich, Donna, Ralph, Anna.
Lucky Martha with Tyson Beckford and Ralph.
Bruuuuce and Raaaaalph.

And so Lauren was created. There are scores of interviews — Anna, Donna, Calvin, Hillary (yes, Clinton — Ralph restored the Star Spangled Banner Flag at her request); also Karl at the end of his life, Martha, Naomi (Ralph was a groundbreaker in diverse models), Kanye, Woody (yes, Allen, who said, to explain his inclusion in a fashion biopic, “Well, I did start dressing myself at 48”). I commented to Ralph’s son David how many interviews there were (the film runs 1 hour and 40 minutes). And he told me, “There were so many more we couldn’t use.” “Part 2?” I wondered, “Maybe” he responded, with a smile.

While Ralph may have been featured in many ads, he wasn’t social and you’d rarely see a party pic of him. He told a story of being invited to parties in Easthampton over the years that they wouldn’t attend. One day, driving down their street he saw lines of cars parked for parties within. “Wow, we weren’t invited,” forgetting his multitudes of regrets. “It would be nice to be invited.”

Enter Dendur.
At Very Ralph, our fave fashion reporter, Judy Licht, and also notable hubby, Jerry Della Femina.
Very Vera, ex-Fashion Director Ralph Lauren, and so much since …
Gerry Lauren and Fern Mallis in fashion pow wow.
Susan Hess and Bob Colacello. I must’ve been in the good seats.
More Ralph alums, and still looking the part, Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict.
The intelligentsias, both in the film, Judith Thurman and Paul Goldberger.
L. to r.: Tall Richard Cohen; other Richard Cohen — very funny, as usual, in film.
Ansel Elgort has a long arm. He took this selfie.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being at home(s) with family for Ralph, especially his beloved wife and muse, Ricky.

Feeling very Polo, we trotted down to the Temple of Dendur, where they were serving Ralph’s favorites: pigs in blankets, mini-lobster rolls, cheeseburger sliders, seafood tower offerings, also featured at The Polo Bar. 

I couldn’t really see Ralph, being diminutive and surrounded by well wishers and press, but his image and core are imprinted in my memory, in great part because of this loving, thorough documentary.

What I wanted to do at 11, when I left.
Remembering David Koch — his Plaza.

I swapped my Louboutins for loafers and rode east to visit my college bestie and Matron of Honor, Cindy Mullin, for lunch at her cozy club. She’s moving to Florida (another one bites the dust!), and this was a farewell for now.

Reunion lunch with my matron of honor and dearest Finch friend, Cindy Mullin.
Tis the season of pumpkins, marigold and corn at a charming mid-island country club.
More corn, the ladies room planter reminding guests to be ’thankful’. Better than ‘employees must wash their hands.’

The girls often have lunch on the weekend at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, and this time we were joined by Candace Bushnell’s elegant poodle pups, Prancer and Pepper. I hope I’m not outing Pierre. They were the best behaved patrons there and easily the best looking.

Candace Bushnell and Pepper. Both so well behaved.
They always find the sucker.
Because Gucci slip-ons are not cool enough. Need fur.
I wish I didn’t know this tart existed.
Pierre’s notepads, for phone numbers? Hope must spring eternal

Doug Steinbrech (praised plastic surgeon to many, sadly, not me) gave a beautiful birthday dinner for his partner, Jeff Sharp (Executive Director of The Independent Film Project). The group of at least 60, included many of Jeff’s Colgate pals (he just joined the Board), St. Bernard’s parents (their son Jack attends), movie folks and the rest of us.

Jeff Sharp and Doug Steinbrech’s inviting Easthampton home.

I was beautifully seated between Bill Manger who is an exec in the Small Business Administration, and Michael Morelli, a 33 year-now retired, Ralph Lauren veteran (they are everywhere, fortunately, and they always look good). When Doug asked us to share a ‘dirty story’ about Jeff, we all fell mute. He is a big, blonde squeaky-clean Boy Scout. The best anyone could do was a school story about a jar of rubber cement being foisted under his patrician nostrils. Happy Birthday beautiful pal.

L. to r.: Host, Dr. Doug Steinberch and my very able driver and pal, Chris Brown; Doug, their dearest Jane Friedman, and Jeff Sharp.
L. to r.: Jeff toastin’; Doug toasting back.
Bill manger, executive at the Small Business Administration-very reassuring.
Peggy Siegal, out and about.

And speaking of birthdays, I know you are dying to hear just one more about mine. Well … this has merit. My long time friend, from Finch, The Parrish and more took me to dinner to carry on her dad’s lovely tradition.

Nina Madison hosts my very last bday dinner!

For 20 years, the first call I’d receive on my birthday (often before, or instead of, family) was from her wonderful father, Harold Siegel. I always felt so special and slightly unworthy of his amazing thoughtfulness. Turns out, he had 3,000 people on his birthday call list! Sadly he passed away this summer, but not before requesting that his four grandchildren take over the list. Now we hear “ Hi, I’m Harold Siegel’s grand- (fill in) and I’m calling to wish you a happy birthday. What a legacy, what a wonderful fellow.

Dapper, divine, Harold Siegel.

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