Enticing posh, party-weary ladies to the outer boroughs on a Friday evening during high social season is no easy task. But luckily the weather for this year’s New York Botanical Garden Winter Wonderland Ball failed to live up to its billing. The temps may have been frigid, but at least guests such as Jennifer Creel, Eleanor Ylvisaker, Tinsley Mortimer, Marjorie Raein, Lela Rose and Alex Kramer didn’t have to battle the usual snow, sleet or rain.
Even eight-months-pregnant Coralie Charriol, one of the event’s junior chairwomen, made the trip in a full-length purple gown. “It’s either jeans or black tie,” she laughed of her maternity-friendly social options. “Nothing in between.”
Actress Erika Christensen also was fixated on her attire options, choosing a black jersey dress by Escada, one of the evening’s sponsors along with Rolex. “I just really wanted a classy dress,” she explained, ample cleavage notwithstanding.
After cocktails, guests were led into the tented dining area, a glowing winter blue setting complete with crystallized snowflake centerpieces on each table. The ambience created a bit of déjà vu for Kerry Washington, who attended last year’s ball with her fiancé, David Moscow. In town for a photo shoot, she lamented Moscow’s absence.
“It’s his favorite event. He’s so sad he’s missing it,” she said. “But he’s in Vegas and I’m going to meet him there this weekend.”
Monday night, over a thoroughly English supper at Milk Studios, Sophie Dahl introduced her friends to the Robert Brewster Chorale, a singing group comprising men who have been affected by HIV. Even the most jaded New Yorker could not have been left unmoved after they performed a selection of songs, and among those giving a standing ovation were Francisco Costa, Iman, Lauren Davis, Marielle Safra, Ben Elliot, Amanda and Christopher Brooks.
Meanwhile, in London at Asprey’s 225th anniversary party last week, sparkling jewels were the topic of discussion. “It’s better than going home and cooking the dinner, isn’t it?” said Yasmin Le Bon, discussing the trials of wearing a loaner 22-carat, cushion-cut, brilliant blue diamond. Le Bon joined the more than 1,000 revelers — including David Furnish, Tom Parker Bowles, Kelly Hoppen, Giles Deacon and Heather Kerzner — who filled every available inch of the rambling store’s three floors as they sipped Champagne and nibbled pre-Christmas mince pies.
This story first appeared in the December 13, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A few days earlier, it was another jeweler’s turn to shine. Liz Goldwyn did double duty, launching her line of one-of-a-kind jewelry at Marylebone boutique Kabiri and her book, “Pretty Things,” at Daunt Books across the street. “Who wouldn’t want to be in such an old-school, English place?” said Goldwyn of the Edwardian-era bookstore, while London chums Eloise Anson, Gabriella Windsor and Annabelle Nielsen looked on.
Later that evening, Garrard’s Winter Wonderland party drew the likes of Jade Jagger — who’s still negotiating her design contract with the historic jewelers — and her beau Dan Williams and Andy and Patti Wong to the jeweler’s Albemarle Street store, where guests waited patiently for their mystery gifts from Santa — which, for one lucky couple, contained a diamond Garrard ring and cuff links.