Preseason in Palm Beach

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Slim Aarons' Palm Beach, 1955 (Photo: Slim Aarons /Hulton Archive /Getty Images)

Typically, “the season” in Palm Beach starts around Thanksgiving and ends around Easter, but this year, it continued through Mother’s Day into June and started heating up again socially as soon as the temperature started cooling down — around October 15th.

While our colleague Augustus Mayhew held down the fort here in PB over the summer; DPC covered life in New York City; and Karen Klopp and Hilary Dick of What-2-Wear-Where, Lee Fryd, and Debbie Bancroft covered what was happening in the Hamptons, Millbrook and Newport this summer, we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Hilary Peek — the daughter of Liz & Jeff Peek — to Robert Rossi on Nantucket Island where we stayed with Palm Beachers Josephine & Peter Callahan.

Hilary Peek and Rob Rossi (Barbara Clarke Photography)

Nantucket was as charming as ever with many shops Palm Beachers would recognize. Lilly Pulitzer, J. McLaughlin, Coe & Co and Cavalier Ebanks Galleries, and of course, the White Elephant Hotel, grace its cobble stoned streets. One thing we learned was that R.H. Macy (Rowland Hussey Macy) was born on Nantucket and is said to have started his merchandising career there at what is now Murray’s Toggery Shop.

The Peek family divide their time between New York, Palm Beach, and ‘Sconset. Hilary grew up visiting the small village every summer, so it was a natural choice for she and Rob to celebrate their wedding there.

Liz and Jeff Peek with daughters Hilary and Katie.

Rob is the son of Marianne & Joe Rossi of Long Island. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island and Columbia Business School. Hilary is the daughter of FOX News contributor Liz Peek and financial industry executive Jeff Peek. She graduated from Brearley and Princeton. The couple met at Credit Suisse and worked literally next to each other for years before dating. “Rumor has it that Rob was hired to be Hilary’s summer intern,” one guest told us. No surprise to those who know her, she is now a director at JP Morgan Chase, and he is a director at Bank of America.

Team Rossi getting to the church on time …

A welcome party was held at the Siasconset Casino Association. Founded in 1899, the club has eleven red clay tennis courts and is noted for its low-key, courteous environment. Guests gathered for cocktails on the porch and were entertained during dinner with toasts made by family and friends, followed by a “mentalist” whose bag tricks were mesmerizing! Due to the pandemic, all guests had to provide proof of a negative Covid test and/or vaccination card to attend.

Christine Schott and Josephine Callahan at the welcome dinner.
Arie Kopelman and George Ledes at Siasconset Casino.

We were interested to learn that Hilary’s maternal grandparents were Robert Lewis Taylor — a Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist, biographer and long-time writer at The New Yorker — and Judith Martin Taylor, his editor.

Team Peek going to the chapel.

The wedding took place at Siasconset Union Chapel, officiated by The Reverend Terence Elsberry, a long time minister at St. Matthew’s Bedford, where Hilary and her siblings Katie Peek Tochilin and Andrew Peek grew up. The bride wore a dress designed by hip Israeli designer Mira Zwillinger. The mother of the bride, a founding member of FIT’s Couture Council, wore Carolina Herrera.

Andrew Peek and Alixe Laughlin.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rossi.

A reception followed at the Great Harbor Yacht Club where cocktails were served seaside with a seated dinner and dancing under a tent. Guests included: Arie & Coco Kopelman, Yaz & Valentin Hernandez, Samantha Perelman and Wendy & Bill Nolan.

Yaz and Valentin Hernandez.
Wendy and Bill Nolan, the bride’s godparents.
Great Harbor Yacht Club.
Tablescape full of lovely local hydrangeas and roses.

Despite the pandemic, the couple was able to travel on their honeymoon to Positano, Rome and Florence and were upgraded to magnificent suites at The Hassler, Four Seasons Florence, and more, because nobody else was in Italy! Bottom line: after all the anxieties about the town shutting down, some nervous guests, and Europe closing its doors, a wonderful time was had by all!

Dancing the night away.

We also visited Mary Jo & Freddy Friedman, the son of the late Lorraine & Jack Friedman of Palm Beach, at their charming Haymeadow Pond Farm in Southfield, MA.

Some may recall Lorraine & Jack Friedman’s oceanfront home at 905 North County Rd. When they passed, the property sold for approximately $30 million, which was considered fair value in 2017. With the influx of New Yorkers moving to Palm Beach now due to Covid and other reasons, two spec houses were recently built on the property and sold for about $65 million EACH. Now, we hear one is about to be redecorated and put back on the market for $100 million.

905 North Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach (Photo by Carlos Diaz, Courtesy of Pelican Pix)

Nevertheless, Jack Friedman was well known in the beauty industry for his close association with Revlon as their chief supplier. His company, Florasynth, created such iconic fragrances as Charlie and Norell. They also created a fragrance which was to be called “Scoundrel’ based on Joan Collins’ character on Dynasty back in the day. Revlon rejected the fragrance, but Jacks’ son Freddy Friedman — not to be deterred — loved the fragrance so much he brought it to Fred Hayman of Giorgio fame. The rest is history.

After Freddy’s parents died, he sold the company and bought a farm in Southfield, MA.

Freddy Friedman, CEO at Haymeadow Pond Farm.

Haymeadow Pond.

Returning to Palm Beach, we were disappointed to hear a law suit has ensued between legendary restaurateur and founder of La Goulue Jean Denoyer and investor Ed Carter. We also hear that Joseph Hernandez has hired Chef Luis Pous for his new Hemingway inspired Cuban-American restaurant called Cojimar (its opening is on hold due to supply chain issues). And we’re delighted to hear that Milos, a New York and Miami favorite, is planning to open in West Palm Beach!

La Goulue Palm Beach (Photo by Annie Watt)

With the increased demand for good restaurants and clubs, The Breakers Club has increased its initiation fee to $350,000 … and a new exclusive golf club is in planning stages by an outside group with an excellent reputation. The Carriage House — the new English style social club being developed by Michael Bickford — is planning to open soon and already has a waiting list and a $100,000 initiation fee. Nelo Freijomel of Spina O’Rourke + Partners of West Palm Beach, the architect of the project, said work on the club on South County Road and Phipps Plaza is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The building at 270 S. County Road was designed by Maurice Fatio and built in the 1920s. The building at 264 S. County Road was designed by Addison Mizner and completed in the 1930s and was built for financier EF Hutton — husband of  Marjorie Merriweather Post (and father of actress Dina Merrill) — who used it to house the world’s first trading floor. The interior of the club will be designed by Madrid-based Luis Bustamante, a former sculptor and painter, while David Tyson of the Tyson Management Group is leading the project.

We also can’t wait to see what Floral Designer Lewis Miller aka the “Flower Bandit,” and Event Planner Jennifer Zabinski, have in the works this season. We ran into them at Le Bilboquet Palm Beach where they were meeting to work on an event together. What began as an experiment in 2016 with the floral decoration of the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park — a circular mosaic resembling a mandala with one word in the center: IMAGINE —  turned into a beautiful shared experience in a city of millions.  His goal was simply to create a positive, emotional response through flowers. Seeing people’s reactions to his Flower Flashes all around the city emphasizes the basic goodness in all people and prioritizes compassion and the need for LMD x NYC to carry on. Looks like Palm Beach may be next!

Lewis Miller’s new book, Flower Flash, from Phaidon Books / Monacelli Press is available at
Lewis Miller in his new Palm Beach studio.

We also look forward to visiting Brittany Bromley’s new interior design studio on Dixie Highway.

Interior Designer Brittany Bromley is now open on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.

Meanwhile, Doug Evans has parted ways with the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, but having produced or presented more than 100 award winning Broadway musicals and plays, he in now working on a Seoul, Korea and Broadway bound musical, Ice Champion, and has added photographer Annie Watt to his team. Ice Champion follows the lives of six young Olympic skaters heading towards the upcoming winter games. Sounds a bit like Ice Capades meets Survivor!

And the Palm Beach Symphony is sure to benefit from the united support of Felicia Taylor & Peter Gottsegen. Having recently completed a highly-successful season of performances and community outreach, under the leadership of CEO David McClymont — during a time when many orchestras nationwide were silenced, the Symphony announced its board of directors this summer that will shape the company’s continued growth and lead it into its 50th anniversary season in 2024. Gottsegen was elected board chair and welcomed Taylor to its board.

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