Look Who’s Talkin’

Featured image
Gossip at Mortimer's, 1989.

Friday, July 10, 2020. It was 83 degrees yesterday in New York, and the air was warm and heavy. It was 90 degrees mid-afternoon. But sunny. Storm’s a-comin’ they say about today. We’ll see. I went down to Sette Mezzo to have lunch with an old friend. Sette wasn’t open for lunch though so we went next door to Bella Blu which has excellent pizza besdies their full menu. All the tables are in the street, including the park lane fenced off. Weekday traffic on Lexington Avenue is heavy and not quiet. However, it was still nice to sit out surrounded by the essence of New York. The people.

Outside dining at Bella Blu.

Today, we’ve got the great and good fortune of having Mary Hilliard back with her precious lode of social New Yorkers being social. I love these photos. JH does too. We haven’t discussed it but it’s obvious. It’s people moving, talking, listening, sitting, and as you look through the collection, even though you may not know them personally, you know them at that minute. 

And they’re all interesting. Even the boring-looking ones. Because in fact all people are interesting, even the most boring among us. These parties had those types too. But in the mix it was a silver tray of good cocktails. 

Private party at Mortimer’s, 1989.

The opening shot (shown again here for reference) was a private party at Mortimer’s. I have no idea who gave it, or who it was for. But I can see that it was an “important” private dinner, from the three faces I recognize: Reinaldo Herrera (spreading the news to the table behind him), and to the right, the lady with her left index finger to her face, Aileen Mehle, known worldwide as Suzy, the social columnist of her era. And in the center it looks like Bob Colacello (with the glasses) talking to the man on the right of the woman with her arm on the back of Bob’s chair — probably to keep the smoke of her cigarette from annoying her dinner partners. The year was 1989 and these were the New Old Guard as opposed to the Nouvelle Society (not that it made a bit of difference in the long run).

What I find interesting about all of these Mary Hilliard photos is the potential drama (you have to imagine that part yourself) in each scene. In the photo of Pat Buckley listening to something she’s being told by Aline Romanones, on the far left is Judy Peabody listening to someone tell her a story, and on Mrs. Peabody’s face you can see a drama — the intensity of her gaze, the smile that may not be a smile. And of course she may just be wondering when this woman is going to stop talking.

Then there’s Carolyne Roehm at the 7th on Sale Benefit. I’d call this “two’s a crowd” because Carolyne is looking directly into the eyes of a man who looks like he’s expressing his lifelong passion for her and she’s thinking of his left hand that looks like he’s got it on her left foot.

What’s the story? Here are the characters. Make it up!

Lee Radziwill, Giorgio Armani, and Barbra Streisand, CFDA Awards, 1993.
Eleanor Lambert, Bill Blass, and Pat Buckley, CFDA, 1988.
Pat Buckley and Aline Romanones, with Judy Peabody (far left) at a Carolina Herrera Fashion Show.
Carolina Herrera and Barry Diller, “Moulin Rouge” party, 2001.
Carolyne Roehm, 7th on Sale Benefit, 1995.
L. to r.: Jerry Zipkin’s evening purse; Bruce Weber and CZ Guest.
Isaac Mizrahi and Pat Buckley for Vogue, 1992.
Casey Ribicoff and Liz Rohatyn, NYPL, 1997.
Daphne Guinness and KJL at KJL Fashion Lunch, Avery Fisher Hall, 2008.
David Bowie and Iman, Costume Institute Gala, 2003.
Peter Duchin, John Cahill, Anne Slater, and Brooke Duchin, 1989.
Gianni Versace, JFK Jr., and Paul Wilmot.
Herb Ritts, Bill Cunningham, and Elizabeth Saltzman, Costume Institute Gala, 1997.
JFK, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, 1996.
Lacroix and Roehm, ABT Gala, 1988.
Costume Institute Gala, 2006.
Norman Mailer, Norris Church, Elia Kazan.
Paris Couture, July 1996.
Pat Buckley, Reinaldo Herrera, Carolina Herrera, Blaine Trump, and Johnny Galliher.
Bianca Jagger, PEN dinner, 1987.
Princess Diana, Super Sale Gala at National Building Museum in Washington DC, 1996.
Caolyne Roehm and Arnold Scaasi at Princess Yasmin Aga Khan’s birthday at Mortimer’s, 1990.
Sofia Coppola and Zoe Cassavetes, Costume Institute Gala, 2003.
Meryl Streep and Valentino Garavani, 2005.
Pat Buckley, Swifty’s birthday party, Mortimer’s, 1988.
Swifty’s birthday party, Mortimer’s, 1988. 64 year old Gloria Vanderbilt looking more radiant than ever.
Donald and Melania.
The Trumps and Hillfigers.
The Donald, Anna Wintour, and James Truman, 1995.

Recent Posts