Karen LeFrak, the president of the women’s committee of the Central Park Conservancy, slipped on Oscar de la Renta’s ivory sheath and matching coat, trimmed in little wooden beads and a picture hat by Suzanne wrapped in tulle and dotted with more of those cute, little wooden beads, to lead the parade of the fashionable set to the 23rd Annual Frederick Law Olmsted awards luncheon on Wednesday. This year’s co-chairmen were Emilia Fanjul Sr., looking lovely in a peach de la Renta coat and dress, and Pauline Pitt, in another de la Renta, a caramel and pink bouclé dress and coat. A radiant Cynthia Lufkin, who is four months pregnant, wore J. Mendel’s raspberry suede coat and a pale pastel flowered skirt, the hem of which she cut off and wrapped around her hat. Clever, that girl. Alexia Hamm Ryan was in Valentino’s sleeveless white dress and a big white hat loaded with white flowers. Over 1,100 ladies descended on the park, which was in full flower itself, in their finest frocks and wittiest hats.
Evelyn Lauder, who was there with her husband, Leonard Lauder, wore a black Chanel T-shirt and a black pleated Armani skirt over which she tossed a Pucci jacket and topped off the whole ensemble with an off-white and pink hat. The Lauders underwrote the lunch. Joan Rivers wore a bright yellow coat by Dolce & Gabbana, a black dress by Marc Jacobs and a black hat by Philip Treacy. She accented all this, as though it needed accenting, with a large tribal necklace she found in the Caribbean, yellow shoes with orange toes and a tangerine bag. You could almost see her coming before she arrived. Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler was in Douglas Hannant’s white cotton coat and dress with navy trim, Serena Boardman chose a blue and butter tweed Chanel suit with a straw hat by Patricia Underwood, and Joanne de Guardiola wore Prada’s peacock feather hat and a teal green dress with Moroccan embroidery by Oscar de la Renta. Jamee Gregory was in a lime green polkadot tweed dress by Marc Jacobs and a cowboy hat by Eric Javits and, guess what, Allison Rockefeller, Pamela Gross and Rachel Hovnanian all stood out in the colorful crush because they all wore black.
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Lilly Pulitzer donated the pink and green tablecloths to complement the Think-Pink-themed garden party and the Wathne sisters, Thorunn, Berge and Soffia, gave a pink and green umbrella to each departing guest. Spring is here, wouldn’t you say? By the way, the luncheon raised $2.3 million to help restore and maintain Central Park.
Still reeling from parties teeming with hundreds of guests? Still dizzy from the couture-clad crowds? Still hoping for a break in the social swim? Forgot this is the season? “I am so exhausted from all this — this Manhattan madness,” said a weary lady, one of the many weary ladies who go out every night. “The crowds at these galas drive me crazy, and the noise, the din.” Well, deary, there’s a cure for all that. Stay home. Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
For a smaller, perfect, private party, take Joanne de Guardiola’s fete for only 60 guests celebrating the 60th birthday of her banker husband, Roberto. As Roberto was born in Cuba, it was pretty clear what the theme would be. Joanne and Bill Tansey, Mr. Flower Power himself, turned the stately old Union Club into a B.C. fiesta in Havana for the night. (B.C. being short for Before Castro took over.) Great palm trees, 6 feet tall, ersatz but looking like huge feather parasols, hung over the tables (actually, the palm leaves were hand-cut from felt to give them body, a neat trick if you have a couple of days), there were white carnations and shimmering curtains at the windows, the Latin band called Son de la Calle (Sound of the Street) played salsa like a Cuban dream, and to make the men at the party really happy, six beautiful, seminude damsels shook the three feathers and infinitesimal jeweled g-strings that failed to cover them. They were a gorgeous replica of the famous chorus girls whose act once made the Tropicana in Havana one of the most famous nightclubs in the world. To top it all off, another beautiful girl with no clothes on to speak of popped out of a huge cake wheeled into the center of the dance floor.
To greet her guests, the willowy Joanne wore a long shimmering silver dress with a deep décolletage by Behnaz Sarafpour. These guests included Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his lady fair, Diane Taylor, Pauline Pitt in a black and white chiffon print, Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Audrey Gruss, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Lauren and John Veronis, Jessie and Rand Araskog, Georgette Mosbacher, Jamie Niven, Adrienne and Gigi Vittadini, Nancy and Henry Silverman, Nina and Mark Magowan, and more, more, more.
Albert Hadley, the famous interior designer, has re-created a favorite chair of Jackie Onassis’ that she used in the White House. He has done it for a show of vintage furniture at Bergdorf Goodman, running from Tuesday to June 24, and covered it in one of Jackie’s favorite fabrics, “Twilight Les Tulipes,” by the French designer Paul Marrot. Jackie liked the fabric so much that she had the living room of the family quarters of the White House designed around it. The fabric, once discontinued, has just been reintroduced by Brunschwig & Fils. Mario Buatta, Marcia and Richard Mishaan, CeCe Cord and Tony Ingrao are among those expected to see what’s going on.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are as steady as they go and right on track. The rumors that she is pregnant have gained momentum after she was spotted doing errands near the couple’s home in Brentwood sporting a bump that looks as though she could be four months along the way. They are said to be planning a very small, private, secret wedding but all that’s known for sure is that the ring she is wearing is a simple one, nothing like that blinding sparkler Ben gave to the other Jennifer.
At Monday night’s Met Costume Institute party, Elle Macpherson laughed off the reports that she was having an affair with Colin Farrell. Although she admitted to meeting the “beautiful, young Irish boy,” as she called him, recently in the Bahamas. She giggled when she was asked about their “affair” and said, “What? He’s 28 years old and I have two kids. Now the poor man must be thinking ‘I’m being connected to that old bag.’” Some old bag.