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Imagine yourself stepping through an entranceway hung with 16th century Beauvais tapestries and decorated with 18th century verdure into a beautiful conservatory, a glorious green and white columned garden room filled with camellias and glistening green leaves, its tables laid with green and white toile de Jouy and centered with pale pink magnolias and old-fashioned white roses. It could be the flower-filled room for a fine private mansion, but it was the setting for the brilliant white tie reception and dinner for more than 300 guests following the wedding of Patricia Herrera and Gerrit Livingston Lansing Jr. at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue.
The great room, an oval pavilion designed by the renowned party planner Robert Isabell and Carolina Herrera, the bride’s mother, was beautifully lit by huge Chinese-inspired lanterns hanging from the ceiling and holding candles and covered in camellia leaves. More camellia leaves completely covered the paneled walls and the dance floor was stenciled in green. It was all lush enough for a soirée at Versailles and Marie Antoinette could easily have said “Let them eat cake” when they brought in the grand, green and white tiered wedding cake.
She could also have said “Let them eat lobster vol au vent, Virginia ham with rum currant sauce and gourmet chocolate delights” — all recipes from the bride’s fraternal grandmother, Mimi Herrera, a great beauty and famous hostess in Caracas and New York. It was a glittering night to see New York’s young socials come out in a white-tied pack, and a night to see New York’s older socials come out in a white- and black-tied pack and couture dress top to toe. Because the bride’s mother is a famous fashion designer, many of the women were dressed in her designs. Her two older daughters, Ana Luisa Calicchio in brown and pink organza embroidered in butterflies and Mercedes Mendoza embroidered in tiny beads, were lovely reasons why their mother’s clothes are known throughout the world. Emilia Fanjul wore the apple green raw silk Herrera she wore to her own daughter Emilia’s wedding to Brian Pfeifler, and Samantha Phipps wore her chiffon paisley confection and Alexandra Theodoracopulos looked like a portrait in her strapless taffeta ballgown.
And who was there? Get ready for a long and random list of glamorous folk milling in splendor and dancing to Peter Duchin’s Orchestra: the Venezuelan titan Gustavo Cisneros and his wife, Patty; Mr. and Mrs. Mark Puig and Mr. and Mrs. Mariano Puig of the cosmetics empire; Gita and Sonny Mehta; Senga and John Jay Mortimer; Cécile and Ezra Zilkha; Carol and George McFadden; Mary McFadden; Samantha Boardman (very tight with Graydon Carter of the Vanity Fair Carters); Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer and Eric Zinterhofer; Ande and Ogden Phipps; Nan and Tommy Kempner; Annette and Oscar de la Renta; Fernanda Niven; Peggy and Hans Kertess; Mario d’Urso; Gil Shiva; Lita and George Livanos; Kenneth Jay Lane; Sam Reed; Judy and Sam Peabody; Blaine and Robert Trump; Calvin Klein; Mercedes and Sid Bass; Liv and Arthur Martinez; Jill and Dick Blanchard; Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder; Marie Josée, Henry and Robbie Kravis; Juan and Beltran Gomez Acebo (these are King Juan Carlos of Spain’s nephews); Lee Thaw; Eugenia Silva; Ogden Phipps II; Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo; Alejandro and Andres Santo Domingo; Miguel Baez Spinola (a handsome bullfighter known as El Litri); Mica and Ahmet Ertegun; Mimi and Mieta di Niscemi; Harry Platt; Phorunn Wathnee; Jamie Niven; Agnes Gund; Antoinette Guerrini-Maraldi; Duane Hampton; Marina and Francesco Galesi; Pepe Fanjul; Andrea and Shawn Plunket; Paul Wilmot; Pierre Durand; Consuelo Crespi; Dixon Boardman; Nati Abascal; Maria Cristina and John Heimann; Dr. Fernando Aleu; Eugenie Niven; Mandolyna Theodoracopulos; Samantha Phipps; Jason Briggs; Alexandra Shiva; Lulu de Kwiatkowski; Diana Phipps; Sally and Rufus Albemarle; Lourdes and Pepe Fanjul Jr.; the bridegroom’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Livingston Lansing and Mrs. Lansing’s three sisters Clara Urbhan, Lynn (with her husband, Jeffrey Horowitz) and Joanie (with her husband, Paul Vandergrift); and Mrs. Frederic Rosengarten Jr., the groom’s grandmother. And last but certainly not least, the groom’s handsome 14-year-old brother Sims Lansing, who gave a toast to the couple at the reception while the room fell in love with him.