“Welcome…to the Casbah!” Linda Fargo said with a grin to the 60-something guests present at Bergdorf’s Luncheon on Wednesday afternoon for a special presentation of Chanel’s Paris-Byzance collection in honor of its new Peter Marino-designed boutique on the second floor. Fargo’s co-hosts for the event, Nina Garcia, Gretchen Jordan and Allison Sarofim were also on hand, kitted out in the label’s tweeds, handbags and jewelry. The seventh floor restaurant had been reimagined in the style of a Moroccan tea room to suit the collection’s Byzantine inspiration. Guests passed through pearl-beaded curtains and lounged on beaded and sequined pillows, sampling stained class cups of mint tea and gold rimmed flutes of champagne by gold tea-trays of assorted middle-eastern comestibles.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much Chanel ready-to-wear in one room before,” one partygoer giggled. “Except maybe the showroom. Or the Colony Club.”
Harley Viera Newton, Olivia Kim, Jen Brill and Leigh Lezark laughed together, posing for cell-phone photos.
“Here we are, the Ladies Who lunch” Viera-Newton exclaimed.
Natalie Leeds Leventhal admired the collection from a banquette. “I want pretty much all of this,” she enthused. “Really, all of it.” As a Jane Birkin-esque ankle-length transparent lace dress passed, Leventhal turned to Garcia to ask, “Nina, didn’t you wear that to my wedding? You wore something lace, transparent, Chanel…”
The Marie Claire editrix smiled back, “Something like it.”
Zanie Gugelmann cozied up to seatmates Michelle Harper and Helen Lee Schifter as the last model slipped through the beaded curtain and the presentation concluded. Fargo rose to announce champagne and dessert service in the new boutique. Guests traipsed downstairs to survey the latest wares, most bemoaning leaving what felt like, as Gugelmann said with a sigh, “an actual oasis.” The socialite gave a glance out the window at the drippy, dismal deluge outside. “I mean, can’t you just see that one look on a yacht? In Capri?”
Most certainly could imagine it.