The salon, that melting pot of artists, poets and philosophers, was alive and well at Diane von Furstenberg’s studio Wednesday, when the designer hosted a party for Lauren Bacall and her latest book, “By Myself and Then Some,” an updated version of her 1979 tome, “By Myself.” Like any self-respecting salonnière, von Furstenberg drew in an eclectic, opinionated crowd to her Warhol-bedecked studio, including Sidney Lumet, Liz Smith, David Halberstam and Salman Rushdie, but none more vocal than Bacall herself.
“I can’t answer any questions,” fired Bacall, in response to a query about her book. “It’s a party and I’m too excited.”
Liam Neeson, who first met “Betty” 19 years ago in London, came out to support his longtime friend. While some may have found his latest film, “Kinsey,” shocking in its subject matter, Neeson recalled the audacity of Bacall and Bogart in “To Have and Have Not.” “To have a 40-year-old man say those things to a 19-year-old girl — you couldn’t get away with that now!” he said.
Also in the crowd were von Furstenberg’s pals, Anh Duong, Alba Clemente, Ann Dexter-Jones and Charlotte Ronson.
Rushdie, who knows something about older man-younger woman pairings, was also there, still high from the Diane von Furstenberg and Luca Luca (who designed his wife Padma’s wedding dress) shows he attended during New York Fashion Week. One show he wouldn’t venture to, however, was Marc Jacobs. “I wouldn’t have waited an hour and a half,” he said. “It’s tailoring — not brain surgery!”