It could have been a scene out of a movie about working in the glossy world of magazines — holiday edition.
The location is, of course, the Upper East Side, and the apartment is elaborately, and some might say overly, decorated in way that makes sure its understood that the theme is Christmas, and the dressed waitstaff, free-flowing Champagne offered on beaming silver trays and micro-sized, deliberately ridiculously intricate hors d’oeuvres served, emphasizes that it’s a Condé Nast holiday party. Well, sort of.
It was actually Glamour’s publisher and chief revenue officer Connie Anne Phillips’ annual invitation-only holiday party. Phillips, a stalwart publisher from the gilded days at Condé Nast, was in top form on Thursday night, welcoming guests to her home and showing them around, with a first stop to drop off their bags in her bedroom, which houses an impressive collection of vibrant Birkin bags, oversize Louis Vuitton luggage and many down pillows. Next, it’s to the main room, where guests were greeted by waiters in vests and ties, who toted around appetizers that included mini bottles of Maker’s Mark to be sipped with bacon on a stick, and thimble-sized shots of vodka to be paired with pinky-nail-sized blinis and black caviar. Later, more prosaic food was distributed like micro hot dogs and buns, or what was being billed as “pizza” in matchbox-sized turquoise pizza boxes. But it was all part of the charm of the party — who eats in fashion anyway — as the hostess milled about and welcomed old and new friends.
Non-Condé guests included Francois Kress from Carolina Herrera, Alexandra Trower from Estée Lauder, L’Orèal’s Carol Hamilton, Kristine Westerby of Max Mara, Josh Gaynor from Fendi, Nancy McKay of Nest Fragrances, Jane Deery of PGR Media, jewelry designer Kara Ross and Yahoo global editor in chief Martha Nelson.
Meanwhile, Phillips’ colleagues from Condé wandered about, remarking on the decorations, which included two, highly-iced gingerbread castles and a Christmas tree festooned with colorful ornaments and lights. The mood was a bit mixed, as many remarked on the difficult year at the company, and wondered what would come next as the majority of bigger changes have yet to be revealed. Those changes are in the process of being devised by Jim Norton, the newly hired ex-AOL exec who serves as chief business officer and president of revenue. The extremely tall Norton was on hand at the party and he took to the back of the room, chatting with Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive. Later, Norton joined company chief financial officer David Geithner in the corner by the tree to talk shop.
Edward Menicheschi, the longtime Condé vet, who exited the company this fall, showed up to say hi to old friends. The former chief marketing officer, who, had he remained at the company, would have reported to Norton, stayed in the front of the room, eschewing Norton and Geithner, the duo charged with driving the vision for the new Condé under chief executive officer Bob Sauerberg, who wasn’t in attendance this year.