ON THE MOVE: Talk about a fashionable state visit. Dior president Sidney Toledano is among business leaders invited by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to join him for his trip this week to Morocco. Toledano was born in the North African country and Dior operates two boutiques in Morocco, including a Casablanca store that opened last June. (It also counts a location in La Mamounia, the landmark Marrakech hotel currently closed for renovation.) What’s more, Rachita Dita, France’s uberstylish justice minister, is expected to be decked out in Dior during the visit. Meanwhile, couturier John Galliano had another destination in mind: He was in Madrid Monday night to receive Telva magazine’s award for “best international designer.”
GARDEN OF EATIN: There are worse ways to go. On Thursday night, the world’s top chefs gathered at Le Bernardin for a meal to end all meals. It was in celebration of Melanie Dunea’s new book “My Last Supper,” which features chef’s fantasies of just that and, well, if this were to be their last supper, it was well worth it.
As guests arrived at the Midtown Manhattan restaurant, they were directed toward the service entrance, snaking through the bowels of the eatery. “You get to see how we see it every day,” explained one of what seemed like infinite staff members in attendance. “But without the Champagne.” Indeed, once partygoers made it to the main dining room, they realized just how much Champagne there was: two bottles of Moët & Chandon for every person. Which was probably a safe buy, considering the reputation for imbibing that some of the chefs in the room employ.
While Eric Ripert slaved away in the kitchen, his colleagues including Anthony Bourdain, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, April Bloomfield, Lidia Bastianich, Fergus Henderson, Anita Lo, Scott Conant, Tom Aikens, Jonathan Waxman and Martha Stewart hungrily watched as Puerto Rican chefs, flown in specially for the occasion, indelicately carved a roast pig. And then everyone sat for a decadent six-course meal that lasted five hours (Daniel Boulud, among others, snuck into the kitchen between courses for tequila shots and foie gras foam because, clearly, the main meal wasn’t decadent enough).
This story first appeared in the October 23, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The exotic fruits and nuts scattered on the two long family tables inspired the toques. “I’m going to try to make something with this tomorrow,” Laurent Tourondel said, handling a kaffir lime. Each dish — starting with the black bass tartare and ending with the milk chocolate pot de crème — was announced by a ring of the gong and the stylings of cabaret singer Lady Rizzo. The brazen blonde belted out classics and pop tunes atop a piano, while her entourage of scantily clad angels (dubbed The Assettes) wandered among the diners.
Stewart ducked out before dessert, but the rest of crew maintained, draining the bottles of bubbly and nibbling tiny donuts until the wee hours.
LUCA LUCA DRESSES CINDERELLA: Luca Luca may have missed the chance to dress Cinderella herself, but several of the New York City Opera’s board members might have found Luca Luca dresses Thursday to wear to the operatic “Cendrillon” performance at the organization’s Family Benefit Nov. 18. The store hosted the benefit’s chairs — including Yildiz Blackstone, Princess Alexandra of Greece, Celeste Boele, Dina Deluca Chartouni, Caroline Cronson, Ide Dangoor, Olivia Flatto, Karen Kennedy, Kara Unterberg and Ashley von Perfall — and their friends at the designer’s Madison Avenue boutique, where some of the day’s sales (about $5,000 at last year’s event) went to support the gala’s cause. Stuart Weitzman, who held a similar such event, also designed a special pair of slippers for “Cendrillon,” according to the chairs.
OPEN AND SHUT: Young socials packed into 583 Park Avenue Thursday night for Henry Street Settlement’s annual gala, while the well-heeled likes of Muffie Potter Aston, Jamee Gregory and Joanne de Guardiola filed into the Armory on Park Avenue for Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Haughton International Fine Art and Antique Dealers preview. Martha Stewart stopped by with beau Charles Simonyi. Did the mogul splurge on any items? “I’m not telling,” she said. While Stewart remained tight-lipped, other guests engaged in full disclosure. “Look, if it comes between a ruby and a chair, I’m buying the ruby,” Potter Aston said.
GAPS IN THE BRIDGE: Saks Fifth Avenue loves Lafayette 148 and its designer Edward Wilkerson, whom it honored at a luncheon Thursday in its newly renovated Cafe SFA on 8. Joseph Boitano, Saks senior vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s and children’s, said the retailer is looking for more bridge resources like Lafayette 148, Tory Burch and Elie Tahari to fill the space vacated by traditional bridge lines like Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman, which Liz Claiborne Inc. has put up for sale and which Boitano said Saks is buying conservatively for spring while their future ownership is uncertain.