When everyone’s away

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An old checker cab in the Meatpacking District. 7:30 PM. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023. Warm and even a little humid here in New York at the time of this writing late in the evening. I’ve just come from a dinner party Susan Gutfreund hosted. Just when I was about to say New York is empty; everyone’s away (realistically: never true, but …) I am invited to Susan’s dinner with sixteen guests at the table in this magnificent dining room, made magnificent by wallpaper installed when the apartment belonged to the late Johnson & Johnson heiress Libet Johnson.

This is the thing about New York that gets people whether they know it or not. It’s very warm, late August and indeed, the city seems empty; many people are away at their summer shelters, or on vacation (or rarely stepping out because of the heat). But here we are at table in the city; and the majestic walls are a dark green like the forests, and gold and brown, and birds surrounding.

Libet Johnson wall paper

Segue to East Hampton if you were out there (I wasn’t) at a luncheon last Thursday the East Hampton Historical Society brought together interior designer Stephen Sills in conversation with David Netto. This was the 7th annual Summer Lecture Luncheon. This was a social affair and they were talking business. This took place at the majestic Maidstone Club overlooking the Atlantic.

Sills has just released his third book, Stephen Sills: A Vision for Design (Rizzoli). He wanted this one to be a teaching book, and so he asked Netto to write the text with his mission in mind.

The Summer Lecture Luncheon was made possible in part by Wilmington Trust, Christie’s, and Town & Country. Proceeds benefit the Historical Society’s partnerships with local schools as well as the preservation of its world-class artifact collection.

It was a sold-out crowd and the two men in conversation about their work and their thoughts was intriguing. They walked through the designer’s projects — a wide variety of styles and locations —including the East End of Long Island— and his own house and garden, which Karl Lagerfeld described as “The chicest house in America”.  Netto artfully wrangled intimate design details and client backstories from Sills, as the audience hung on their every word.

Stephen Sills and David Netto in conversation.
Beth Buccini.

And let’s not forget, it’s all business. Doris Meister, CEO and Chairman of Wilmington Trust – the Title Sponsor – introduced the dialogue between the two designers. Jennifer Hall, Senior VP of Christie’s, made closing comments.

David Netto, Doris Meister, and Stephen Sills.

Guests included Debbie Druker and Sarah Wetenhall (Co-Chairs), Host Committee members included Paige Daly, Kate Davis, Kathleen Kirchgaessner, Dale Ellen Leff, Cheri Mowrey, Victoria Patricof, Kara Ross, Cameron Silver, as well Jennifer Levene Bruno (Town & Country Media Sponsor), Hilary Osborn Malecki (President of the EHHS), and Steve Long (Executive Director of the EHHS). Special guests included Kate Brodsky, Laura Doyle, Alexandra Hess, Tom Scheerer, and Amy Tarr — to name just a few.

Kathleen Vecchione, Jennifer Levene Bruno, and Ashley O’Brien.
Sarah Wetenhall, Stephen Sills, and Debbie Druker.
Tom Scheerer and Jay Lohmann.
Brooke Garber Neidich and Vicky Graham.
L. to r.: Rolise Rachel and Lynn Stefanelli; Malcolm Carfrae and Sarah Wetenhall.
Steve Long and Amy Tarr.
Tamara Stephenson and Lynn Stefanelli.
Cameron Silver and Lizzie Bickford.
Leslie Wells and Hilary Osborn Malecki.
Katherine David and Morra Fairchild.
Beth Buccini and Cameron Silver.

Meanwhile, way out West in Aspen, philanthropists Kimberly Paige Bluhm and Donna Slade hosted a Friendship Luncheon at Casa Tua.

Candace Stark and Kimberly Paige Bluhm.

“The idea was to slow down and recognize how important friendships are,” Kimberly explained. “We wanted to uplift these women and to remember how fortunate we are to have each other.”

Topics of conversation over the Branzino included the Aspen Art Museum’s ArtCrush Gala chaired by Jamie Tisch. This year’s theme was “Disco in the Woods,” with an auction featuring works by Chase Hall, Peter Halley, Spencer Lewis, and the Haas Brothers. 

The event honored Nairy Baghramian. Kimberly sits on the Museum’s National Council and is an avid supporter of the arts, as is her real estate and casino magnate husband, Neil Bluhm.

Donna also talked up Jazz Aspen Snowmass’s Festival which will feature performances by the Foo Fighters, Billy Idol, The Lumineers, and James Bay. The festival takes place over Labor Day weekend and opens on September 1st.

L. to r.: Christy Ferer and Donna Slade; Eleanore DeSole and Nicola Marcus.
Wendy Wogan, Melissa Wight, and Jamie Tisch.
Carrie Wells and Lori Gendelman.
Carrie Wells, Holly Hunt, and Leah Zell.
L. to r.: Jacqui and Patsy Tisch; Robin Smith and Soledad Hurst.
Kristen Lambert and Tracey Cheatham.
L. to r.: Tina Staley and Ella Brittingham; Kitzia Goodman.
Terri Cain, Debbie Jelinek, and Anne McNulty.

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