Dimitri Pauli and Gherardo Guarducci


Palm Beach, Fla., is hungry for change — and it was never more evident than when more than 500 people showed up to the opening of Sant Ambroeus’ first location outside New York on Tuesday. Beth Rudin DeWoody, Leonard Lauren, Beth Buccini, Jeff Greene, Wyatt Koch, Carol Mack, Harry Bader, William Eubanks, and Bill and Darrah Ford ventured beyond their ficus hedges to sample bite-size versions of house specialties like prosciutto San Daniele enveloped in puffed pastry at Royal Poinciana Plaza’s anchor along with Hermès’ pending new home on the island.

“Thank God they have the cookies and gelato here,” said Bader, a creative director for Banana Republic who splits his time between Palm Beach and New York. “I live next door to the Madison Avenue location and go there at least once a week.”

Buccini surveyed the scene across from where she plans to launch Kirna Zabête in October. The Palm Beach regular — both her parents and in-laws have places here, and her daughter is an equestrian in Wellington, Fla. — chatted up potential clients and modeled her innate style in a matching blouse and ballskirt in vintage Italian fabric from LaDoubleJ.

“[Architect] John Volk’s vision for this center is how retail should be. It’s a little jewel box,” said Buccini, who could only stay one night but was due back the day after Christmas. “What’s not to love about Palm Beach — just the escape from winter alone is enough.”

A party pro, Rudin DeWoody was first in line and first to leave.

“What really makes me happy is they left Volk’s black-and-white Regency design because everything else here in Mediterranean and beige.”

The restaurant’s designer, Robert McKinley, and his wife, the actress and singer Kate Nauta whose soul album produced by Lenny Kravitz will be released next year, were among the unusually young crowd for these parts.

“Forty-four is the best table,” said McKinley, of a round corner booth in the rear of the Art Deco-inspired room. “You can see everyone, but more importantly, everyone can see you.”

Rita de Alencar Pinto, founder of Vanity Projects, a nail art salon and video art exhibition space in New York and Miami, showed Nauta her rose gold talons. Considering Up Markets’ renovated Fifties center for a possible expansion, she wasn’t sold on how much revenue could be generated.

“I mean we’re talking mani/pedi’s, not Gucci bags,” she said.

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