A full-on blizzard put little damper on the New York City Ballet’s annual luncheon Wednesday afternoon at the David H. Koch theater, sponsored by Valentino. Then again, no balletomane worth her weight in orchestra seats would miss the event, which was themed “Saying Goodbye to Darci,” part of an ongoing farewell to Darci Kistler, a principal ballerina and 30 year veteran of NYCB, who will be retiring this year.


The program began with a mixture of live performance segments‹‹including Kistler dancing the pas de deux from Balanchine’s “Swan Lake”—video interviews with Kistler and a lively Q & A session, in which she was joined by husband and NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins and NYCB principals Albert Evans and Philip Neal (who are also retiring).


“Most of my friends some of whom are here today are what I call ‘normal’ people, not bunheads,” said Kistler to much laughter.


As to his advice on retirement timing, Martins offered, “Better leave while you’re looking good.”


Afterwards, guests like Fé Fendi, Jennifer Creel, a newly red-headed Maggie Rizer, Valesca Guerrand-Hermès and Jill Kargman headed to the Promenade for chicken and mini crème brulées.


Alexandra Kerry, a first-time co-chair of the luncheon, was still getting used to her new role.


“My friends were like, ‘You’re in Valentino — you’re officially a lady who lunches!” she said.


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