Guest auctioneer Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” fame wasn’t amused by his audience at Thursday’s Operation Smile Collection Couture Event. Despite his many wolf whistles, guests — including celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves, designer Gilles Mendel with model girlfriend Ling and Lauren Davis — couldn’t resist chatting away during the auction.
It didn’t help his cause that the benefit was held in the massive space that some astute guests recognized as the former Tunnel nightclub, albeit cleaner. But even the affable Bush finally lost his temper. “I flew all the way here from Los Angeles to do this,” he said. “Please, this is important work! Listen up!” Giving up on the formal auction, he asked guests to pledge $750, the cost of each medical procedure the charity performs. He volunteered first, and his ruse worked — many followed suit.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. and his fiancee, Vanessa Haydon, lingered at the auction but finally had to dash out early to make the live taping of “The Apprentice” finale.
The previous evening, Central Park Playground Partners’ East Side Playground Party was the event to hit for the truly social “child-of.” Beth Buccini brought along seven-week-old Virginia, while her husband, Robert, spent the time running after their eldest tot, Josephine. “There’s too much stimulation,” said Liz Cohen, trying to hold onto squirmy daughter Miranda. Over on the jungle gym, Alex Kramer‘s son was running around in royal blue Velcro Adidas that he picked out himself. His schedule is pretty packed these days, his mom said, although so is hers.
Earlier in the week, she and Julie Dannenberg Regal hosted a more genteel luncheon for the committee of the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s Kids in Candyland benefit at Helena Skarstedt‘s apartment. Under the watchful eyes of the Cindy Sherman photos adorning the walls (husband is contemporary art dealer Per Skarstedt), the ladies, including Pamela Gross and Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, nibbled on grilled chicken salads and cooed over photos of each other’s little ones. And just when it looked like it might be over, a surprise guest showed up with Erin Lazard: her daughter, Chloe, who fit the luncheon in after nursery school.