Under blue skies, white tents and wide brimmed hats, the horsey set met Hamptons socials. It was the Hampton Classic’s VIP Grand Prix Sunday, summer’s final hurrah. Yes, it’s all over except shipping the clothes to Florida. This was their last hurrah as well.
“This turned out to be the biggest and best horse show ever,” Classic Communications Marty Bauman told us. He oughta know. He’s been doing this event for more than 40 years. “We had our strongest field of riders ever, just in the five star, top division. We had riders from 15 countries and some of the biggest names anywhere in the world, the most horses — more than 1,500 — we’ve ever had. It was a spectacular week.”
Mayor Bloomberg and Diana Taylor commandeer several tables front and center, where the champagne flows. Billy Joel, Jane Seymour, Gayle King, Lorraine Bracco showed up during the week. Patti Scialfa, Candace Bushnell, Brooke Shields, Donna Karan, Nicole Miller, Countess Luann de Lesseps and Ramona Singer made the Grand Prix. Thank you Mark Wahlberg for sponsoring your Fletcher Tequila.
The tents were also bursting with parental pride. A kid on a horse in the Classic is classy indeed.
Diana Taylor joined partner of 23 years Michael Bloomberg to support his daughter, Georgina. Execting Child No. 2, Georgina co-hosted the Classic’s Animal Adoption Day with Jill Rappaport. Child No. 1 placed in the Classic Pony Hunter competition.
Taylor always makes a fashion statement at the Grand Prix … by wearing the same ensemble five years in a row. “I have two outfits that I’ve worn to this event,” she told me. “One was a pink dress that I wore for about five years and now this which I’ve worn for several years. If it works and you like it, why not keep wearing it?”
The deeper message? “Don’t buy new things all the time.” Mayor Bloomberg is an international leader in the fight against climate change. Taylor may not wear her heart on her sleeve, but she does wear a message on her back.
“Look at what’s happening around the world. All the storms and everything. There was a recent article in the New York Times about our aquifers (that hold groundwater). We’re draining the water from our water systems. It’s not great: it’s serious.”
What was great? Her summer, traveling with the three-term mayor all over the world. Also “fun,” she said is chairing the New York City Ballet gala in the fall.
Taylor is her own woman, a Wall Street powerhouse turned philanthropist. So, she gravitates towards organizations that lift women out of poverty with jobs and businesses. “My passion is Hot Bread Kitchen,” she said, “a small not-for-profit that trains mostly women to work in the food industry — and Axion, which supports financial inclusion around the world and empowering women in general. When you give women opportunities, they provide for their families and send their children to school. Give a woman a means to make a living and she will do it!”
Another high profile woman with a low key demeanor, Patti Scialfa, has worked, loved and raised a family with Bruce Springsteen for almost 35 years. This summer, she stayed home to finish a solo CD. “I’m here for my daughter,” she told me.
“Jessica rides in Europe in the summer and the West in the winter. This is the first time in awhile she’s been here and it’s great to see old friends.”
But Patti’s still a Jersey girl. “I lead a blessed life in our farm in New Jersey,” she said. “I make music. My kids are all great. I have a 14-month-old granddaughter, Libby, from my youngest son, Sam and his wife Alex.” And sure, “she can call me Grandma! I don’t care. I’m so grateful for all the beautiful things in my life.”
And the sensitive, highly publicized Howard Stern interview with The Boss, in which both talked about learning to love more deeply? “Yes, we have a happy marriage,” she smiled. “I thought Howard did a brilliant job. It was one of his most in-depth. Howard was relaxed enough to pull out all these different aspects of Bruce to get him relaxed enough to open up and show them.”
Patti’s unassuming, kind nature was relaxing me as well. I looked down at the hand painted horses on her table. “Jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth, a dear friend of mine, did the decor,” she told me. “When we were doing the play on Broadway, Irene asked my daughter if she would be the face of her new campaign, because Irene rides and loves horses. And she won best table.”
My pal Marsia Holzer was the judge. “I love Marsia,” Patti gushed. “She made me some really beautiful clothes for the Tunnel of Love tour.”
“When Patti joined the band I made some outfits for her,” Marsia told me. “I even helped with her make up and took her to buy a belt or something. I can hardly believe she remembered everything.”
Clothes are certainly front and center at the Grand Prix. There was Donna Karan telling a passerby, “You are so cool. Why aren’t I wearing that!” Donna has been coming to the Classic for … ever. Now, her granddaughter was riding.
Like Diana Taylor, clothes are also a statement for Donna. “It’s not about a season,” she told me. The same wrap and tie skirt that I had in 1984 are still in the collection. I love keeping what’s good. My clothes don’t go, ‘What’s new what’s new what’s new?’ What’s right is what women need. It’s not only about clothes. It’s about life. It’s about furniture. It’s about objects from all over the world. That’s why I started Urban Zen. I was working all summer there and at Tutto (Il Giorno, daughter Gabby’s restaurants).”
Also a Grand Prix regular, Brooke Shields was there giving a little visibility boost to her model daughter Grier Henchy. Chris Henchy was also on hand.
Shields’ hit Hulu documentary this spring revealed the underbelly of her fame and gave her a chance to recreate herself. Now, Grier wants to be a model. Showing her off, Mama Bear Brooke never left her side.
How does Shields remain always so gracious to fans? I saw it in the documentary. I’ve seen it up close. “They’ve stuck with me over five decades,” she replied. “So, I am honored that they still care.
“The documentary was eye opening, cathartic, I think, for my children to see. I didn’t realize how much I did in my life! I’ve always just kept my eye on the present, and kept moving forward. To actually look back and see all the work that I’ve done made me feel very proud.”
Looking back at the summer, it all seems like a blur of cocktails, canopies and clothes.
To those who organized, chaired and worked on the many fund raisers that will carry their good causes through the year, thank you. You can finally get a day off. To the supporters who also made it happen, welcome back to Manhattan. Cashmere season is just around the corner.