|Receiving line of Gillian Miniter, Cosby George, |
Patti Fast and Ann Johnson
(All photos Lieba Nesis)
- click on photos for larger views -
The Conservatory Ball held at The New York Botanical Garden is lauded as one of the best parties of the year in New York and despite the inclement weather it was a spectacular event. This event is the culmination of the society season in New York before the well heeled crowd heads for the Hamptons to mingle on Gin Lane. The theme of the night was, "An evening in the Italian Renaissance Garden of Padua." There was a stunning recreation of Europe's first botanical garden with a lush landscape of Mediterranean flowers that included exotic, endangered and medicinal varieties. The event is an amalgam of the high powered elite of New York and Greenwich with a mix of entertainment figures and fashion divas.
|Somers Farkas in Maggie Norris dress and |
Fe Fendi in Carolina Herrera
The excitement surrounding this event is palpable; upon entering the garden there were six trumpeteers heralding the arrival of these luminaries. There were lines of chaffeured cars driving through the entrance to make their way to the Perrenial Garden for some cocktails and hors d' oeuvres. The crowd was filled with socialites in floral couture such as Somers Farkas who wore a floral Maggie Norris dress to "conform to the botanical garden theme of the night and to hide those areas that she felt were a little bulgier than she would like."
|Jean Shafiroff in Zang Toi Dimondo in |
Alexander McQueen tux and actress Lydia Carlston
Fe Fendi in a flowy floral Carolina Herrera dress and Jean Shafiroff in a beautiful pink Zang Toi confection made grand entrances while a band played in the background and hordes of photographers snapped pictures. Diane Tierney, vice chairman of the event said, "I have been preparing for this event for one year. The garden helps everybody by bringing joy, peace and relaxation, to everybody who visits it."
|Ann Costa in Monique Lhuillier|
There was a red carpet with a receiving line where the cochairs of the event, Gillian Miniter, Patti Fast, Cosby George and Ann Johnson greeted guests with warmth and laughter. The crowds enthusiasm was reiterated by Ann Costa, in a Monique Lhuillier sequined gown, who said she loves this event, "because as a Texan, the lavish and elegant dressing of the women is reminiscent of the grand dames of Houston." Moreover, she is an avid gardener so it is heavenly for her to be in the same place as this resplendent plant life. Lydia Carlston, a theater and film actress who has appeared in Sex and the City and Star Trek, wore a rainbow floral concoction and echoed the sentiment of the pulchritudinous of the setting by stating, "this is the most beautiful event in town. The visuals inside the garden coupled with how the people relate to its beauty makes this event unique."
|The tent at the "Garden"|
As the cocktail hour came to a close the guests were beckoned, through the use of deafening trumpets, to the Conservatory tent for dinner and dancing. As the guests proceeded to the tent they were surrounded by lush plant life and gargantuan trees. The tent was decorated with a purplish hue and dotted lights draping down. The guests were not even seated before Jacqueline Weld Drake broke out into a rowdy partner dance with a handsome young man. One guest complained that one side was New York and the other was Greenwich Connecticut but nonetheless, people seemed to be enjoying themselves. Somers Farkas summed it up best by stating, "this annual event is one of my favorite events of the year because it is chaired by passionate philanthropists." The effort attended to beautifying every element of this night helps ensure that the New York Botanical garden will continue to succeed as an environment for horticulture to both survive and thrive for many years to come.