It was a fete to remember. Yes, for the glamour of it all. Not every wedding celebration stars a world-class celebrity and his dashing groom. The storied venue, The Grill and The Pool (no less iconic for having shed their Four Seasons affiliation), thus boasted a dazzling crowd with a through-the-roof glitterati quotient. Upwards of 650 guests came together at Saturday night’s party to celebrate the marriage of Marc Jacobs and Char Defrancesco, everyone dressed to the nines and eager to revel, many dancing under the huge disco ball well past the wee hours. There was talk of a 6 a.m. departure for some. I can personally attest to 4 a.m.
Indeed, the party provided serious people-watching ops for the mere mortals in the room, yet less so than at other events at which the famous and not comingle under one roof, drinking from the same Champagne cache and nibbling (or not) on the same passed hors d’oeuvres, here, wasabi lobster canapés, crab cakes, pigs in the blanket and sliders.
It was hard not to notice the likes of Christy Turlington; Naomi Campbell; Kate Moss with beautiful daughter Lila in tow; the Sisters Hadid; Lil’ Kim; Frank Ocean; Miss Fame; Rita Ora; Chloë Sevigny; Anna Wintour, and the ever-Divine Miss M.
Yet what was most special about this wedding is that, for all its celebrity, the glitter, the sparkle, the feathers, the disco ball and five-tier, 6-foot-tall cake, it all felt wondrously intimate, the stars and mortals aligned in singular celebration, deeply happy for Marc and Char. So Naomi bopping on the dance floor to the Talking Heads with a store employee she didn’t know from Adam? Why not? Such crossover interaction was the evening’s norm.
Often at a wedding, many of the guests know one half of the couple far better than the other. On Char’s side, his parents, Sonya and Gary Hallmark, and siblings Jonathan Defrancesco, Jennifer Stoltz and Jamie Stoltz flew in from California, and some extended family, from Switzerland. Char’s L.A.-based barber, Jim Baker, arrived in time, despite flight trouble when his Wednesday redeye was delayed until Thursday morning after the original pilot fell ill. Jim’s date for the evening: his sister, Jori Baker. The Cleveland natives proved delightful, if a tad smug about the woeful trade that sent Odell Beckham, Jr. from the Giants to the Browns.
Among the Marc Jacobs family folk, chief executive officer Eric Marechalle deserves to take pride in what feels like a sound turnaround for the company that prior to his arrival went through a series of missteps. Unlike Marechalle, a relative newcomer to Marc’s sphere, many go way back with the designer and company, whether on-staff or in long-term affiliations. Of course, Robert Duffy, with whom Marc launched the company, attended. So, too, did Nick Newbold, the designer’s right hand and officiant of Friday’s marriage ceremony; stylist extraordinaire Katie Grand, who can work an outrageous feathered frock as well as any model she’s ever dressed (she can also work a dance floor, as this chronic non-wedding dancer pulled into her orbit can now attest); Michael Ariano, Marc’s p.r. and wedding logistics captain; Sean Donovan, executive assistant; creative director Joseph Carter; design director Emily Diamond; atelier head Danuta Denuree; Laura Bond, also in design; Leslie Clements, longtime business-side guru; Bookmarc director Jen Baker, who fabulously rocked a Patti Smith homage; Kate Waters, beauty and fragrance consultant; Sylvie Rouaix, from Kendo, which produces the beauty line; advertising exec Jen Sagum; art director Peter Miles, and from KCD, show-production wizard Julie Mannion and p.r. Renee Barletta (looking way too young to be scheduling college-visiting tours with her oldest), and former KCD publicist Meghan Wood.
Members of the press were there not to cover, but as guests: Grace Coddington, whose exquisite illustrated book with Marc is about to be released; Cathy Horyn, accompanied by her handsome son Jacob and his girlfriend, Sarah; Hamish Bowles; Glenda Bailey, Candy Pratts Price, Laura Brown, Emmanuelle Alt, Jessica Iredale and Bryanboy. Marc’s dear friend and onetime designer-turned-editor Ricky Vider attended as well, also with her dashing son, James.
Designer guests included Anna Sui (she and Marc go way back), Stuart Vevers, Lazaro Hernandez and former MJ intern Jack McCollough. Cynthia Rowley arrived with the artist Genieve Figgis, whose work inspired Marc’s spring collection. Peter Copping and Julie de Libran, each of whom worked with Marc at Louis Vuitton, also made the trip. And speaking of LVMH types past and present, Phoebe Philo, Kim Jones, Virgil Abloh and Delphine Arnault turned out as well.
There’s an intimacy to fashion, some of it manufactured out of necessary convenience and some that runs deep and real, so there’s genuine integration of professional and personal relationships. It’s no secret among those who know Marc that he has dealt with a great deal in his life, fighting through both personal and business challenges. Nor is it a secret that, for all the global fascination with the fashion world, there remains an insider aspect.
“This is our lives in fashion for the last 30 years,” said millinery maestro Stephen Jones, casting about the room that, in addition to the afore-mentioned partiers offered sightings of Ellen Saltzman, Pat McGrath, Guido Palou and more. As for Jones himself, a starstruck guest meeting him for the first time said she felt as if she were meeting the president. “Not this one, I hope!” he shuddered. “No,” she clarified. “The last one. Or the next one!”
Such went the glorious aura of community, everyone honored to be included and uplifted to share in this powerful expression of happiness. The festivities occurred almost exactly a year after the couple became engaged at a Chipotle, and were positioned between both of their birthdays, Char’s on April 4 and Marc’s, tomorrow, April 9. The couple chose to hold the ceremony in front of about 40 friends on Friday in Rye, N.Y., at the Frank Lloyd Wright house they recently purchased, which will become their primary residence.
“I’m 55 years old; I’m getting married,” Marc told me recently, when talking about the house and perhaps subliminally, about Char. “This feels like really a new chapter.…It’s like, you know when people say when you find the right one, you’ll know it?”
Achieving that level of serenity has been a long and sometimes difficult journey for Marc, which makes his and Char’s wedding celebration all the more moving — a feeling registered en masse when Nick introduced a video of the couple exchanging their vows.
“Never in my life would I ever have imagined a happier ending for myself, and then you came along,” Char said to Marc. “I was so amazed and so humbled that such a remarkable and brilliant man would want to love and be with just a regular guy like me…I love you with all my heart, body and mind, and I vow to you today that I’ll never float away.”
From Marc to Char: “It is a privilege to be with you and have you in my life.…What you have given me that I have never had before is the dream of the happy forever, and I promise you that I will never, ever float away.”
Here’s to Marc and Char, and to that dream made real, that happy forever, and never floating away.