As Rick Rose, author of Palm Beach: The Essential Guide to America’s Legendary Resort Town, recently said, “The season is really backlogged this year. So much has been going on during the last two months because of Covid.”
Indeed. Many of the events postponed due to Covid have been rescheduled and rearranged seemingly all at the same time. And yet the overriding feeling here is one of gratitude and just wanting to enjoy one’s time — even Palm Beach is not immune to world events.
Having said that, The New York Times is predicting there will be a record number of weddings this year with a desire to go over-the-top (circa 1984!). Back then, the economic growth was the driving force; today the desire is driven by the pandemic. Couples have had ample time to dream big (and save) and now want to celebrate with multiple parties, over multiple days — and sometimes even with multiple rings!
Destination weddings are big and Palm Beach is at the top of the list. The Colony Hotel has seen a rise in bachelorette parties, and Floral Designer Lewis Miller and event planner Jennifer Zabinski are busier than ever having set up shop here in West Palm Beach this season.
So having just come off a four-day wedding weekend at The Four Seasons, followed by two weeks of back-to-back black tie dinners, here are some highlights …
On another balmy Palm Beach night, Regine Traulsen and husband William Diamond hosted a Night in Marrakech at their home on Wells Road.
Guests included The Hon. Rudy Giuliani, The Hon. Jeanine Pirro, The Hon. Edward Elson, The Hon. Eric Javits, The Hon. John Loeb, The Hon. Lana Marks — and even a couple of Arabian camels!
Whereas Findlay Galleries hosted A Fête on the Terrace to benefit The Social Register Foundation. The dinner was chaired by The Hon. Wilbur L. Ross and Mrs. Hilary Geary Ross. Benefactors included James R. Borynack and Adolfo Zaralegui, Alex Donner, Christine Schott and George Ledes, The Hon. Wilbur Ross and Hilary Geary Ross, and Lise Honore and Christopher Wolf.
Co-chairs of the event included: Fern Tailer DeNarvaez, Mqsa. Barbara de San Damian, Shannon Donnelly, Christopher Forbes, William C. Hamm IV, Lotsie and Richard Holton, Karen Gray and Richard Krehbiel, The Hon. John Loeb and Sharon Loeb, Grace and Christopher Meigher, Jane and William H. Told Jr., The Hon. Trevor Dow Traina and Alexis Swanson Traina and Betsy and Wallace Turner which featured the work of contemporary ceramicist Amanda C. Ross.
The mission of The Social Register Foundation is to preserve family records going back to 1886 which are considered a uniquely important legacy for American genealogical studies, family histories and other endeavors. The SR currently stores an estimated 3.5 million sheets of handwritten family records, letters, artifacts, publications and photographs of its historic families who contributed to the building of our nation in innumerable ways.
On another balmy evening, Martha Stewart launched her new Tropical Medley CBD Wellness Gummies in the perfect location … the East Garden of The Colony Hotel by hosting an intimate cocktail and dinner party with Canopy Growth CEO David Klein. Surrounded by swaying palms and briny breezes, guests were seen picking Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Gummies from real gummy-filled citrus trees. The stunning space was transformed into a tropical oasis inspired by the newest tropical flavors from Martha Stewart CBD – Alphonso Mango, Coconut and Pineapple.
Brought to life by New York-based event producer and designer Chris Hessney, of Hessney & Co, CBD-curious guests sipped on CBD-infused cocktails out of fresh coconuts with adorable mini pineapple cocktail stirrers before enjoying a three-course meal inspired by the tropical flavored gourmet gummies — finishing with Martha’s own famous Coconut Cake recipe.
Guests included Daphne Oz, Lisa and James Cohen, Eleanora Kennedy, Susan Magrino, Jennifer Miller, Isaac Boots, whose poodle Davis sat on his lap throughout the dinner, Bettina Anderson, Michael Reinert, Colony Hotel Owner Sarah Wetenhall, Beth DeWoody and Firooz Zahedi, Spencer Schlager, Kevin Sharkey, Simon Miall, Lisbeth Barron, Tony Chateauvert, Jane Hanson, Billy Gilbane, and Christopher Orthwein.
One of the most talked about events of the season was amfAR’s inaugural event in Palm Beach, at the spectacular home of Amy and John Phelan, which raised $5.3 million for AIDS research. Legendary fashion designer and philanthropist, Tommy Hilfiger, was honored for his commitment to the fight against AIDS and the award was presented to him by Sylvester Stallone — both now Palm Beachers. Multi-Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Christina Aguilera, headlined the evening.
The exclusive open-air event, hosted by Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire, included a cocktail reception, a seated gala dinner, a live auction of exquisite contemporary art, and a special performance by Christina Aguilera, who had guests dancing and out of their seats. Singer/songwriter Parson James, best known for his hit single “Stole the Show,” a collaboration with Kygo, also performed at the event to an intimate adoring crowd.
The event’s live auction, conducted by Simon de Pury, was hugely successful and featured extraordinary pieces of contemporary art, which generated enthusiastic bidding from guests. Winning bids secured works by the following renowned artists: Vaughn Spann, Jim Lambie, Jim Hodges, Gilbert and George, Tom Sachs, Leo Villareal, Kevin Hees, Jack Pierson, Davide Balliano, Harland Miller, Carlos Rolón, Nir Hod, Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A), and Joel Mesler.
Event Chairs included Dee Hilfiger, Robert Kraft and Dana Blumberg, Omeed and Caroline Malik, Amy and John Phelan, and Stephen and Christine Schwarzman. Event Co-Chairs included Vanessa Amor, Frank and Laura Baker, Andrew Boszhardt, T. Ryan Greenawalt, Brian and Tania Higgins, Michele and Howard Kessler, Karolina Kurkova and Archie Drury, Michael Lorber, Kevin McClatchy, Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, Nancy C. Rogers, Tad Smith and Caroline Fitzgibbons, Lindsay Taylor, Evan and Ku-Ling Yurman, and Steve and Andrea Wynn.
amfAR has been active in Southern Florida since 1986 and has awarded over 90 grants totaling $6 million in the region. As a world leader in infectious disease research, amfAR has temporarily expanded its efforts to include research on the intersection of Covid-19 and HIV. While there has been remarkable progress on Covid vaccine development, urgent work needs to be done to develop safe and effective treatments and to answer critical questions about the impact of Covid-19 on people living with HIV. amfAR continues to fund research in these important areas.
amfAR’s Board of Trustees awarded a $150,000 Krim Fellowship to Sebastian Fuchs, PhD, of the University of Miami. Fuchs is working on an innovative gene therapy approach to delivering antibodies against HIV. amfAR’s Krim Fellowships are named for Dr. Mathilde Krim, amfAR’s Founding Chairman, and awarded to talented young scientists trying to establish an independent career in HIV research.
Signature Sponsors for the event were Palmer magazine, David Yurman, and Aston Martin. The evening was also generously supported by Piper-Heidsieck and Boroli Wines.