Byline: Aileen Mehle
All those whirling, twirling, jumping, jerking, gyrating bodies heating up Sotheby’s the other night — some looking a lot better when they whirled, twirled, jumped, jerked and gyrated than others — were there for a reason. The evening was a benefit for American Ballet Theatre, and the idea of the blast was to bring out the young and youngish supporters of the wonderful company, plus potential new ones. It worked. They danced in in droves.
There were even some not-so-youngs allowed in, too, for balance or whatever. Maybe they got permission to come from their sons and daughters. And there were cases where these not-so-youngs showed more panache and style than the youngs and youngish, but that’s to be expected and comes with seasoning and knowing the pitfalls of trying too hard to be cool. (Is there anything less cool than trying to be cool? And why don’t great big ugly black sneakers with white laces turn me on at a party — or anywhere else?) Being cool is like having sex appeal. You are or you aren’t. You have it or you don’t.
That said, you will be thrilled to hear that there were any number of beautifully turned-out, cool, sexy young women and men at the party. I guess. The stylish men had either left their turtlenecks and Ts at home or burned them. (What a wonderful idea!) They arrived in bespoke shirts and beautiful ties, and how about those great haircuts? The best-dressed women were poured into creations designed by Michael Kors. The evening, you see, was sponsored by Celine, the fashion house where Michael reigns.
Lest that skip the mind, the cavernous seventh floor of Sotheby’s was turned into a Celine fantasyland by none other than Robert Isabell, who used chocolate tones throughout and hung sheer panels printed with Celine’s famous “C” insignia everywhere he could. In the vast dining room, even the dance floor was lighted with dancing Cs. There were chocolate-brown tablecloths centered with tall glass candlesticks and boxes of brushed steel holding white amaryllis. Glorious Food served the hot meal — gravlax with dill sauce, chicken pot pie with wild rice and walnuts and baked alaska with chocolate sauce. In all that chocolate decor, vanilla sauce might have been heresy.
Before the dinner, which Michael Kors and the exotic model Iman hosted, American Ballet Theatre previewed a segment of its new production, “The Pied Piper,” with fabulous Angel Corrella dancing the title role. Ingenious it is, with a supporting cast of hundreds of elaborate rat puppets designed by Michael Curry, who did those magnificent puppets for “The Lion King.” Deejay Susan Morabito handled the music, which had them (see above) whirling, twirling, jumping, jerking, gyrating and, well, you know.
Among those wearing delectable Celines were the beautiful movie star Rene Russo, Julie Bowen, Iman, Blaine Trump (sparkling in a black top, beaded white pants and a rhinestone belt), models Maggie Rizer, Erin O’Connor and Karolina Kurkova (Celine’s new face to be seen on the cover of its spring catalog), Bettina Zilkha, Nina Griscom, Cari Modine, Tara Rockefeller, prima ballerinas Susan Jaffe and Irina Dvorovenko (on the arm of her husband, the dancer Maxim Belotserkovsky), Rachel Peters, Muffie Potter Aston, Rena Sindi, like that.
Everywhere you looked, you saw such as Zoe Cassavetes and Noah Bogen, Tory and Chris Burch, Jane Lauder, Moby, Lulu de Kwiatkowski, Nancy Jarecki, Peter Bacanovic, Peta Wilson, Cornelia Guest (beaded and strapless), Diane Von Furstenberg, Samantha Boardman, Sloan and Roger Barnett, Rita Schrager, David Bowie with long hair and a lot more of it on his face, Tiffany and Louis Dubin, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Judy and Sam Peabody, Wendy Vanderbilt, Anna Wintour and Shelby Bryan, Robert Trump, Gregg Jordan, Paul Wilmot, Amy Fine Collins, Kevin McCarthy of the American Ballet Theatre and on and on into the night.
The Hon. William McCormick Blair was front and center at Robert Higdon’s Washington dinner party during the Inaugural festivities, but Mrs. W. McC. Blair (the decorative Deeda) had swept off to Paris there to decorate, as ever, the swell front row of various couture shows. At the same hot meal in the Jockey Club bar of the Fairfax Hotel, Marylou Whitney, aka Mrs. John Hendrickson, turned heads in a bare Bob Mackie shocking-pink pleated chiffon embellished with crystals, and Peggy Noonan, the famed speechwriter, looked so pretty one almost forgot her steel-trap mind.
In fact, Higdon, who runs the Prince of Wales Trust in the U.S., cornered the good-looking-women market that Inaugural weekend — Phyllis George, Deborah Norville, Diane Sawyer, Carroll Petrie and more, more, more, including Cathy Fenton, Laura Bush’s new social secretary, whose name appeared in an earlier Suzy column as Cathy Finley, heaven knows why. Certainly not Suzy.
For the first time in 10 years, ballet legend Edward Villella will put on his dance shoes and perform, this time in Balanchine’s “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” at the 15th Anniversary Gala of his Miami City Ballet in Florida on Friday. The surprise cameo is a New Year’s gift to the event’s chairmen, Dayssi and Paul Kanavos, whose hotel, the Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, is underwriting the Stargazer Ball following the gala. Emilia and Lourdes Fanjul will be there, and Jon Secada will sing, the same Jon Secada who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a Latin twist at President Bush’s Inauguration.