MAIER ON MADISON: Tomas Maier’s new Madison Avenue store exudes warm modernism, but when it came to celebrating it with François-Henri Pinault on Wednesday night, the designer went for a different vibe altogether: Bemelmans Bar and its old school charm at the Carlyle. In a way, it was a perfect setting for the gathering, which attracted the likes of Kelly Klein, Aerin Lauder, Frédéric Fekkai and Shirin von Wulffen, Linda Fargo and Guido Palau.
“It’s like a little box,” Osanna Visconti Di Modrone, in town from Milan, said admiringly, before praising Maier’s boutique down the street. “It’s a beautiful store, so very Tomas, so clean. My husband bought a pair of shoes this morning. I am going back tomorrow.”
Photographer Harry Benson first met Maier years ago while he was covering the Milan and Paris collections for Playboy magazine. More recently, he photographed the designer and his partner Andrew Preston for his book on Palm Beach. “They just clicked,” Gigi Benson recalled.
The night’s real chemistry, though, was reserved for Maier and Bebel Gilberto, the evening’s surprise performance. She serenaded the designer before she leapt on the piano, vamping it up for guests. “Look at that beautiful dress, oh my God,” the singer exhaled midsong, just as model Ieva Laguna entered wearing one of Maier’s creations.
As for Maier, he clearly enjoyed the act, having personally made the song selection with Gilberto earlier in the evening. As he put it, “I wanted to have Brazilian music because it feels casual.”