New York, Southampton, Nantucket, and Newport

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Looking south along Columbus Avenue. 8:30PM. Photo: JH.

Monday, August 5, 2019. Warm and sunny weekend just past. High 80s daytime, although not as humid, dropping to the 70s at night. And Saturday night about midnight we had a heavy rainstorm – thunder and lightning – come out of nowhere and cool things down, as well as give all the green and the flowers a drink.

A lot of the town’s not around, as one can deduce from the little traffic on the streets and avenues. This is when you see the best of New York. While out in the Hamptons it’s bumper to bumper (I hear) even when it’s so hot you’d rather stay in with the A/C or sit in a pool and relax.


Driving north along Madison Avenue with light traffic.

Which, speaking of, a couple of weeks ago it was oven weather out there — 100 degrees with a who-knows-what RealFeel. Holly Peterson was at Ralph Lauren in Southampton plugging her latest novel, It’s Hot in the Hamptons (no kidding).  You know they have good A/C at Ralph Lauren — and besides that’s not the kind of “hot” in Holly’s novel, as you no doubt already assumed — so they pulled in a good crowd. 

It’s fair to assume that at least a few of the guests were curious to see if “they” were one of the characters. After all, all fiction is born of fact, and the Hamptons is borne of such tales. After you’ve got what you want, you want more…of something. They’re still buying big time out there. The properties over $20 million are selling like hotcakes. I heard of one $30 million sale on the Meadow Lane which the buyer plans to tear down.


Steve Clemons, Jane Sarkin, Jenny Landey, Holly Peterson, and Jim Peterson.

In the crowd at Ralph Lauren, Holly reports:

“Steve Clemons from The Hill came first with Margaret Carlson. Perri Peltz and Drew Schiff and I knew each other growing up and the three of us went to Brown. The crowd was a mixture of surf community, fancy Southampton estate types, East Hampton media journalists and writers. Everyone was cheerful and people started to pack in once the sun went down.

Charles Fagan, who is a President of Ralph Lauren, has always offered to throw parties in stores for my books, so I ask my closest friends to act as hosts and we all have a lot of good cheer and champagne and shop for summer sherbet-colored cashmeres. We mostly laugh a lot. It’s important that all forms of retail support books because so many bookstores are closing. I really appreciate stores who promote book sales.”


Jeffrey Leeds, Elizabeth Leeds, Holly Peterson, Alexandra Wolfe, and Drew Schiff.
L. to r.: Holly Peterson, Steve Clemons, and Margaret Carlson; Jay Peterson and Albert Margaritis.
Jenny Landey, Peter Godwin, and Jane Sarkin.
L. to r.: Clementine Fulford; Joan Hornig.
Perri Peltz, with David and Elizabeth Saltzman.
L. to r.: Jim and Holly Parmelee; Hans and Antonette Kertess.
Charles Fulford, Clementine, and Prudence Peiffer.
L. to r.: Karen and Ferdinand Groos; Elizabeth Leeds and Holly Peterson.
Marie-Eve Berty, Richard Cohen, and Greg Kelly.

Meanwhile, happening this afternoon, August 5, in Nantucket: at Coe & Co Photography Gallery, there is an Artist Reception for HARRY BENSON: 20th Century Icons, from 5 to 7 p.m. at 38 Centre Street, www.coeandcogallery.com. Harry’s archive is the world of the Photo Diarist of the past 60 years in the world, and you can’t stop looking at them. Expect to see more than a few icons.


Muhammad Ali and the Beatles, Miami, 1964. Photograph by Harry Benson.

Also, news from Newport. Ala Isham’s remarkable Newport house, “Wild Moor” was the setting for an elegant luncheon co-hosted by David Webb. The 1887 house designed by McKim, Mead and White sits atop Newport’s highest vantage point. After extensive renovation of the interiors and gardens with the help of her dear friends interior designer, Rob Robertson, and the late garden designer, Robert Dash, the house retains its original splendor overlooking the grounds, originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.



While not having a professional background in fashion design, Ala’s love of art helped inspire her collection. She began by painting flowers from her gardens and from her travels. With encouragement from the designer, Antonio Gual, who suggested she transfer her original artwork into the designs, Ala launched her eponymous collection, Ala von Auersperg, working alongside her daughter, Sunny Kneissl, as the in-house stylist.

About fifty of Ala’s guests gathered for cocktails and lunch overlooking the beautiful grounds. The table cloths were imprinted with Ala’s floral designs. Guests were treated to a fashion show with models wearing Ala’s latest designs accessorized with the sumptuous David Webb jewelry.


Models wearing Ala von Auersperg’s latest designs.
Guests trying on David Webb baubles.

Guests at the luncheon included Eaddo Kiernan, Edith McBean, Dede Wilsey, Anne Manice, Alice Ross, Happy van Beuren, Janet Pell, Jonna Chewning, Kate Gubelmann, Leenie Beckett, Bettie Pardee, Anne Hamilton, Alice Lynch, Jody Kuss, Meg Braff, Mariana Baker, Nancy von Auersperg, Diana Slocum, Sharon Wood-Prince, Victoria Mele, Virginia Keith, Susan Magrino Dunning, Whitney Robinson, Stellene Volandes, and Prima O’Grady

A portion of the sales from the luncheon benefited The Preservation Society of Newport.


Sunny Zweig and Ala Isham.
L. to r.: Sunny Zweig and Susan Magrino Dunning; Janet Pell and Edith McBean.
Anne Hamilton, Holly Bannister, and Jody Kuss.
L. to r.: Sunny Zweig and Ala Isham; Models in Ala von Auersperg and David Webb.
L. to r.: Eaddo Kiernan and Kim Palmer; Jonna Chewning and Louise Grosvener.
Meg Braff, Rob Robinson, and Nancy von Auersperg.
L. to r.: Ala Isham and Victoria Mele; Alice Ross and Amy Berkowitz.
Prema O’Grady and Ala Isham, with models.
Prema O’Grady, Dede Wilsey, Kim Palmer, and Victoria Mele.
Happy van Beuren and Barbara Glascock.

Photographs by Nick Mele (Newport); Matthew Robert Photography (Hot in the Hamptons).

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