“I can put diapers in it, a sippy cup and a big thing of Goldfish. It’ll all fit,” Jennifer Garner said on Thursday night just before mugging for the crush of ready-to-pounce photographers. The actress was feting her new hyphenate — the face of Max Mara — at Bill’s in New York and, at the moment, discussing the mommy-friendly functions of Max Mara’s JBag, the shining star of the brand’s newly pushed accessories category. “I like the size of it. You can fit anything you need, but it’s not a tote. I’m kind of tired of the huge tote thing.”
Max Mara’s biggest fans — Molly Sims, Jessica White, Casey Fremont, Atlanta de Cadenet and a swell of editors among them — descended on the Midtown Manhattan burger joint to toast the Italian brand. After preening on the step-and-repeat — a wall of happily hued cabbage roses and hydrangeas that Natalie Joos, in a commensurately florid frock, nearly blended into — notables made their way upstairs for cocktails.
Nora Zehetner, in a decidedly weather-appropriate look — a burnt orange slouchy number, her hair knotted neatly atop her head — chitchatted with Zani Gugelmann, Byrdie Bell and Maria Giulia Maramotti by the bar. Leandra Medine, her lap glistening with silver sequin appliqués, held court in a back corner of the room. De Cadenet swilled her prosecco coupe by the entrance doorway. Nearby, Dr. Luigi Maramotti was introduced to Christina Hendricks, looking ever the va-va-voom starlet.
“I need to get an autograph for my son,” the Max Mara owner exclaimed. “He just loves you.”
“Oh, why thank you,” the actress purred in her Jessica Rabbit-esqe intonation.
The room soon moved downstairs, packing into the dining area, anchored by a single long, cream-cloaked table dotted with clouds of blue curiosa roses, lavender hydrangeas and dahlias. Some guests fanned themselves with their menus while others scanned it.
“What’s loup de mer?” Hannah Bronfman asked tablemates, referring to one of the entrées.
“I think it means ‘wolf of the sea,’” beau Brendan Fallis chimed in. Bronfman opted for the ratatouille.
Lola Schnabel and Harley Viera Newton leaned over their plates of lacinato kale salad to discuss astrology. “I’m a Pisces, but I have no idea what it means,” Viera Newton conceded between bites. A few seats down, Alina Cho took a shot of Solange Knowles with her camera phone. “That flash is no joke,” said the singer, blinky and wide-eyed.
Soon Maramotti stood to toast Garner. “I think it’s very rare in this industry to meet a person who embodies the values of a company that is over 60 years old,” he told the table. “It’s really a perfect match. She’s really special to us.” Garner beamed from her seat.
Viera Newton daintily leaned over the table to pilfer a ketchup-doused french fry from Leigh Lezark’s plate. “Leigh always knows what to get,” she said. Meanwhile, Gretchen Mol told neighbors how much she adored living in New York. “I tried to do L.A. a couple times,” she said. “Couldn’t do it.”
Bronfman ducked out before dessert arrived to run to another party — thrown in honor of her collaboration with Kaelen — downtown. “Duty calls,” she smiled.