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In her new book “New York Parties: Private Views” (Rizzoli), Jamee Gregory catalogues the preparations and stories behind some of the chicest fetes she has attended, from a hunt breakfast to a Marie Antoinette-inspired tea. Wednesday night, she proved she’s equally adept at throwing a bash herself when Bergdorf Goodman gave over its fourth floor for cocktails in her honor. Decked out in a sparkly cranberry Oscar de la Renta number, Gregory was hard at work signing copies for Cece Cord, Zang Toi, Michael Kors, Muffie Potter Aston, Naeem Khan and Jennifer Creel (the party was originally supposed to be on the seventh floor, but Bergdorf p.r. quickly moved it downstairs to accommodate the large number of RSVPs).
“It’s like the line at Christmastime to meet Santa,” said her husband, Peter, watching his wife meet well-wishers.
It’s only the first of many such gatherings: Gregory has a lineup of book events scheduled for Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas, among others, hosted by the likes of Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Verdura and Dior.
WWD caught up with Gregory the day after her Bergdorf debut to talk taxi fares, music choices and party recovery tips.
— Vanessa Lawrence
WWD: Your book details every aspect of throwing a party, expected and unexpected. Were there any hiccups last night?
Jamee Gregory: I was so worried I wouldn’t get there on time that I ordered a car, and Peter was going out and I said, “Well, I have this tiny little minaudière. Will you take the keys?” So I didn’t have the keys and I didn’t have any money in my little bag. And I went downstairs and there was no car. So I had to borrow $15, 10 from the doorman and five from a neighbor of mine I barely know. That was a little bit of drama because I was locked out and penniless. And if I never get any mail again, I better quickly go back and pay the doorman! Leo, he didn’t know he was the banker.
WWD: When you’re throwing a party for a book about fabulous parties, does that heighten the pressure to throw a great one yourself?
J.G.: Oh yes, it raises the bar. You can’t have a blooper. But I think all the same things that all my hosts and hostesses practice I practice. Starting out with having a really pretty invitation. And then the other thing I said, “I love color, and so I hope that you will do something with wonderful hot pink and coral,” so they used all the hot pink and coral napkins and some flowers on the lacquered tray and near me by the books. And I said, “The third thing I think makes a good party is really fun music,” so they said, “Do you mean Michael Buble?” And I was like, “No!” I said, “I want it to sound hot and happening, so pretend this party is on the [contemporary] fifth floor, make it sound like a rocking good time, fast beats that make it sound like you’re at a disco, not a dinner with Cole Porter.”
WWD: And you and Peter made it to the Museum of the City of New York party [at the Four Seasons Pool Room] right after.
J.G.: Oh yes we did. Well, one of the themes of the book, too, is one good turn deserves another and, in New York, people really value their friendships and relationships, and I don’t think I’ve ever not been to the Museum of the City of New York party, because they have my grandfather’s toy collection and [chair] Mark Gilbertson is a good pal and he came to my party and I went to his.
WWD: And then there’s always the morning after: What’s your strategy?
J.G.: I think the best thing to do is still get up early, go to the park. Today I went to the gym, too, that was maybe a lot. And then come home and have a bubble bath and get in bed and crash. That’s what I’m doing now.