Friday, July 31, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Beene Counters Cancer with Philanthropic Initiative

Geoffrey Beene

Lookin' good Colin Jost! The Saturday Night Live writer/performer was revealed yesterday as the new spokesmodel for the fall Geoffrey Beene menswear line to a few select members of the press at a power luncheon chez Michael's. While Beene, the inscrutable multiple award winning American designer who mentored former apprentice Alber Elbaz and others, is gone, his name lives on in a men's global lifestyle brand with an extremely charitable angle. When I received the invitation to the luncheon I assumed that Jost would be attending however I soon realized that the ad campaign photos, encased, brick-like in heavy clear glass blocks would be as close as we would get to having him avec nous.

In the current ads featuring the tagline "GBGB Geoffrey Beene Gives Back," (the logo is in a similar typeface to the fabled punk club CBGB), the company displays their commitment and promises more than most fashion brands. One hundred percent of all net profits (that's right, 100%) are given to fund revolutionary new cancer research at the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Since the beginning of this initiative in 2006, which was the brainchild of company CEO and president Tom Hutton,  the Beene brand will have donated $144 million to date this year. Beene died of cancer in 2004 and would surely approve of the company's wholehearted mission to further research and treatment "He couldn't believe that there wasn't a cure" said Russell Nardozza, SVP and COO of the company.

Colin Jost

How was Jost anointed as the brand ambassador? "A lot of people are looking at comedians as the new face of entertainment," said Andrew Egan of CoolGraySeven agency, the creators of the print, outdoor and digital media campaign. "Colin Jost can wear the clothes as well as appear in a video about the Foundation for Cancer Research. He's the face of the brand and the talking head, so we were able to marry the two." Egan added that the agency sought a lighter approach to the philanthropic program, not wanting to be too heavy- handed with the message. "Millennial customers like brands that give back to charity. We had to find a tasteful way to communicate the message. Colin Jost got on board straight away," he said.

Colin Jost

The campaign will be a "360 degree all touch point enterprise" and Jost will be doing his part by using his social media accounts to promote the line, available at Macy's.  As the brand is represented by a licensing business model under non-profit structure there is no designer specified for each of the U.S. and International licensees. Instead they are overseen by Merle Sloss, Executive VP and President of Licensing. All areas of men's and boy's apparel are represented as well as accessories and home goods such as towels and bath rugs.

Upon examining the ad photos my first impression is that Jost appears more rugged with his slightly scruffy beard than the clean shaven pretty boy seen on SNL. Egan, in his delightful British accent, recounts that the show's costume designer was with him as they selected clothing for the ads yet it's doubtful that Jost kept anything from the shoot as many of the clothes were reportedly too large on him. It's good to know that if Jost's comedy career is derailed for any reason ( ahem..."Staten Island Summer"), he can always "Zoo-land(er)" a modeling job.

Mr. Nardozza, who has been with the company since the days of the legendary Mr. Beene himself, mentioned that their offices still occupy the same space and house an archive of around 1,500 pieces of women's wear. In response to a question I posed regarding whether Beene (one of many to have had a falling out with WWD publisher John Fairchild) had any friends in the industry, Nardozza mentioned that he was very fond of famed publicist Eleanor Lambert whose 100th birthday party both he and the designer attended. Sadly, she had ordered a Geoffrey Beene jacket just two weeks before her death.

If you should find yourself at Michael's, I highly recommend the delicious chicken paillard (hold the fennel) and a seat facing into the room so you can check out the famous faces. Ensconced by the large bay windows, I kept a constant vigil on the stormy weather (sky darkening, umbrellas up, umbrellas down, rain falling sideways), but was unable to see anyone of note over my shoulder (was that Jeffrey Katzenberg?) in the main dining room.

At exactly 2:31 p.m., there was a loud and long buzzing alarm sound as everyone in the restaurant's phone signaled a synchronous flash flood warning in unison. I hope this never occurs during a performance of "Shows For Days." As Patti Lupone is not an octopus I can't imagine how she'd deal with that!

- Laurel Marcus

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In the Market Report

Knock on ‘Wood’

Enid Collins of Texas wooden Love Box Bag

I was looking through the August issue of Vogue and came across a portfolio called “Box Set”, photographed by Bruce Weber and styled by Tabitha Simmons. It’s all about this season's new handbags which “resemble everything from lunch boxes to treasure chests”, (“proof that it’s never been so hip to be square”). One full page shows a model posing with about 12 of Dolce & Gabbana’s immediately recognizable, decorative and elaborately embellished box bags which are available at select Dolce & Gabbana stores, and range in price from about $2995 to $9995.

Box Set photographed by Bruce Weber

They instantly called to mind Enid Collins’ highly collectible, hand crafted wooden box bags from the 60’s which were decorated with paint and embellished with jewels, sequins, and bright and brilliant rhinestones. Collins of Texas first opened its doors in Medina, Texas in 1959, producing whimsical, happy handbags. Enid Collins, owner and designer, had a background in fashion design, and her husband Frederic (whose expertise was in engineering and sculpting), operated the company until 1970, when it was purchased by the Tandy Leather Corporation. An artist herself, she had a “special place in her heart for the starving artist”, according to her grandson Christian Collins.

Enid Collins working in her studio 

Never meant to be faddish, every bag was always signed, had its own unique personality, and was finished with distinctive leather trim, brass findings and fasteners. Many also had an interior mirror on the inside, which was personalized with the hand printed statement: “The Original Box Bag by Collins of Texas, hand-decorated for you”. In addition to a series of Zodiac signs, her other popular themes included: Glitter Bugs, Money Tree, Flora, Sol, Love, Gifts from the Sea, Pax, Flutterbye, Black Bird, Bird Brain, Early Bird, Love Birds, and my personal favorite, Night Owl (she had a special fascination with owls).

Enid Collins of Texas Night Owl Box Bag

I happen to think that Enid Collins bags are always great; unique and quirky are always ‘in style’ especially when it’s well-done (and done in a rather sophisticated way as these are), and having something amusing that puts a smile on one’s face never gets old (unsurprisingly, many others agree as she has continued to have a cult like following). But as it happens, they could not be more of the moment given fashion’s continuing love affair and fascination with arts & crafts, and all things unique, handcrafted, and artisanal (if not unapologetically kitschy). Let’s face it; there’s a time to be sober, restrained, and elegant, and a time for whimsy (variety is the spice of life after all). Quite frankly, I love the juxtaposition of her funky bags with something quite classic and restrained.

Erins Collins of Texas Money Tree Box Bag    

These vintage bags are not only wonderful because they are authentic (and guaranteed to be almost one of a kind), but they also happen to be readily available at vintage stores and websites where they are a fraction of the cost of the pricey Dolce & Gabbana incarnations (prices can range from about $50 to over $400 depending on the style and purveyor, but most are in the $100 range).

Enid Collins of Texas Papillon Box Bag  

One woman, Karen Adler (an artist and anthropologist), admits to being “totally enamored” with Enid Collins box bags (she views EC as an American folk artist). It first started when she spotted one of the designer’s iconic LOVE box bags in a Chicago vintage shop. For the past 3 – 4 years, she’s been quietly researching, collecting and refurbishing them, in an effort to document every box bag she designed while the head of Collins of Texas. As she collects, cleans, and restores each purse, she lists them on Enid’s grandson’s website, under manifestart.

Enid Collins of Texas Paper Mache Box Bag

She currently has over 300 bags, some of which she sells on Etsy (her shop is called Niwot Art Gallery), She also sells on eBay and is currently working on her own website, which will have a gallery of her purses, purses for sale, and shared knowledge about Enid Collins. She admits her prices may be a bit higher than the average because she meticulously cleans, conditions the wood and leather and makes sure the jewel pattern is correct (replacing jewels with authentic vintage jewels when need be). “If there are major flaws, they will be disclosed in the description”. “My goal is not to conceal vintage history, but simply to photograph, restore, and learn about the creations of an American folk artist”, she said.

Enid Collins of Texas 1963 Gifts from the Sea Box Bag 

As an avid vintage collector, I concur that imperfections don’t have to be seen as something negative. I myself have never been deterred from buying something wonderful because of so called ‘imperfections’. Quite frankly, I think a few scrapes, nicks, chips, scratches, hanging threads, etc., give an item personality and character and add to its charm, collectability, and uniqueness. To my way of thinking, it’s an added bonus when something looks well-loved and lived in, as opposed to brand spanking new, and tags-still-on just purchased. So nouveau riche!

- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

Take Off In A Flight Suit

 Valentino Cash & Rocket camouflage flight suit
$3,590 at

Pondering the demise/ relocation of a few of the major New York fashion hubs of my youth has made me a flight suit risk -- or should I say it's making me risk a flight suit? While I'm not ready to fly off to Kepler-452b (our recently discovered twin planet), I imagine this is the low tech non-insulated version of what one would wear to do so.

I've lamented the closing of the magical Fiorucci retail emporium on East 59th Steet for decades now however the recent death of its creator Elio Fiorucci only made me mourn it anew. (Hopefully, the two little cherubs wearing sunnies which were the Fiorucci logo are watching over him). In addition, after 40 years, Trash & Vaudeville, where The Ramones used to shop, has announced plans to move from St. Mark's Place (the rent's too high) to a new location at 96 East 7th Street. I'm not sure how they will recreate their present space with all of its history. When Reminiscence, another old relic, moved to lower Fifth Avenue several years ago, it became more of a novelty store than the surplus vintage paradise of yore.

Reminiscence jumpsuit

I also reflected on the fact that youth is not the only thing wasted on the young. I wasted my once miniscule mid section in the baggiest clothing imaginable, favoring many of the unstructured Japanese fashions of the day a la various now defunct bands. Boasting more layers than a cake, I remember sporting looks constructed with baggy burlap pants, loose tunics, long skirts, loose vests and other relaxed silhouettes. By the mid '80s I had learned to pare down somewhat, hence one of my favorite go-to items was a onesie of utility chic: the Reminiscence flight suit.

Current Elliott Flight Suit

My first flight suit was black and somewhat more formfitting. Since one of a good thing is never enough, I followed it up with a baggier turquoise one. The flight suits were surplus items, hand dyed in various Easter egg colors. Absent any standardized fit or sizing, you never knew what you'd get. I liked the fact that I had the smaller black one and wore it slightly more dressed up, usually with a higher heeled sandal or boot, while the blue one had a more relaxed, casual vibe perfect for clogs, espadrilles or sneakers. I accessorized both with large funky beaded silver earrings, scarves or bandannas and occasionally a graphic band tee beneath in which case I would leave the front zipper mostly open. The attached belt of the same fabric was meant to be tied thereby allowing the silver latch closures to hang decoratively.

Reminiscence bike jacket

Although the coverall was made of a fairly heavy cotton twill fabric, the loose long sleeves made it ideal for rolling above elbow length which was how I always wore them. The zippers down the legs could also be closed which I did with the black one; the wider legged blue version I left unzipped to billow out. I also got a lot of wear out of an oversized rust colored hooded crinkly cotton bike jacket-- Reminiscence still features these on their website in various colors for $24. I remember pairing the bike jacket with other loose layers such as a sweatshirt tunic over leggings or a casual midi skirt and biker boots.

Pure DKNY V Neck Jumpsuit

A few years ago I thought of the Reminiscence flight suits when I came across a DKNY Pure version in silk. Again, I seem to buy these things in pairs and it just worked out that a smaller one was available in black while I went a size up in the color they call Greystone, a beige-y taupe (no shades of blue-green in the Donna Karan version). While these are a thinner, perhaps more grown up iteration, they don't have the same rugged sprezzatura as the Reminiscence version.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Vintage Flight Suit

Determined to satisfy my budding curiosity on the status of flight suits, I did a quick online search. Etsy produced a khaki colored Saint Laurent Rive Gauche vintage flight suit ($188) on which a former owner chose to embellish the lapels.

Bliss and Mischief Reworked Vintage Romper

If you prefer a romper there is the Bliss and Mischief Vintage Reworked Flight Suit in army green suit for $228.

Rihanna in Vintage Coveralls

For those who want to keep their flight suit budget more down to earth (so that they can afford an actual flight) there's always Uncle Sam's Army Navy Outfitters which stocks a non-designer version of the camouflage Valentino at the very non-designer price of $57.   Of course, you'd probably have to be Rihanna, (who's recently been seen rocking some utility looks about town and to the recording studio in L.A.), to pull off actual oversized military garb.

BTW, if you haven't yet seen it, check out Miss Piggy (she's a flying pig as long as it's in first class! HA) "singing" Bad Girl RiRi's latest "Bitch Better Have My Money."

- Laurel Marcus

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

In the Market Report

A New "Slant" On Heels

Gucci Arielle eel slingback pump with Kangaroo lining
and satin finished half moon shaped heel with Swarovski

While I love the summer, I am much more of a cold weather person, and now am eagerly awaiting the advent of fall. Of course, at this time of the year, it’s virtually impossible to escape the barrage of daily emails from myriad online websites advertising their new fall arrivals. And because I am basically always on the hunt, and never want to miss something, I invariably click on in hopes of finding something I simply can’t live without

Miu Miu red patent slingback with white buckle and  blocked heel fall 2015

For the most part, my every day sartorial choices are defined by a rather simple, classic ‘uniform’ (which varies depending on the season and the weather), so my choice of accessories is all the more important. There is no question that the right shoe (or boot) can be a game changer and make all the difference in the world (don’t most of us dress from the feet up?) There’s something so chic about wearing distinctive shoes while being otherwise rather simply and classically turned out. Also, I love to walk briskly and I prize my comfort (I myself wear very high heels only occasionally), I am always on the lookout for great looking AND practical footwear. I don’t just mean sneakers, (which are indispensable but let’s face it, they have their limitations), or even flats for that matter.

One of the best ongoing 'trends', is the merging of form and function within the footwear arena; across the board: for both day and evening. There’s been no shortage of distinctive looking shoes and boots featuring ‘manageable’ low heels. Specifically, low blocked heels which are made even more interesting and arresting by virtue of their sculptural shapes, and the employment of metals (and other materials and finishes).

Among the standouts:

Gucci Arielle ankle boot with Swarovski encrusted  gold slanted heel    

Gucci’s ‘Arielle’ tall leather boots ($1650); ‘Arielle’ side zip ankle boots ($950); ‘Arielle’ kangaroo lined eel pump ($1200), all of which feature a 1.5 inch satin finished half-moon shaped heel punctuated with a black Swarovski crystal (

Gucci Querelle sling back sandal

Gucci’s ‘Querelle’ slingback sandal with wide lamb straps, Velcro closure, and a 1 inch gold satin finished heel, ($1850,

Jimmy Choo Mercer black textured over the knee  boot

Jimmy Choo’s ‘Mercer’ textured leather over the knee boots with 2.5 inch silver block heel, ($1450,

Miu Miu suede ankle boot with jeweled heel

Miu Miu’s dark navy suede side zip ankle boots with 2 inch jeweled heel, ($1100,

Nicholas Kirkwood Prism polka dot flocked satin  pump
with pale gold tone triangle block heel

Nicholas Kirkwood’s ‘Prism’ polka dot flock satin pump with his signature 1.8 inch pale gold tone acetate triangle block heel, ($760,

Robert Clergerie Patsy black patent leather loafers
with gunmetal tone metal heel

Robert Clergerie’s color blocked ‘Patsy’ patent leather loafers in black and ivory with a metal block heel, ($575,

Stuart Weitzman Discopoco pumps with glistening  
diamante encrusted block heel

Stuart Weitzman’s ‘Discopoco’ lame pumps (available in black or gold) with a 1.8 inch rounded rubber capped Diamante glitter lame heel, ($498,

- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid™

"Uniformly Challenged"

Lately I've been reading and thinking a lot about uniforms and how easy it would be to reach for the same thing or same type of thing day after day. For all of you indecisive clotheshorses (whinny if you hear me) a uniform is something that would enable us to get out of the stable and trot around the pasture a lot sooner.

True, we would not necessarily be showing the world our most scintillating sartorial side but sometimes having a go-to outfit or outfits can be liberating, or so I would imagine.  Many cliques already have a de facto "uniform": artistic types and downtown denizens tend to favor all black apparel, well-to-do Upper East Siders can be ID'ed by their Birkins, Brooklyn hipsters by their eyeglasses and hats; but what do young executives newly entering the workforce wear? (Yuppies are so last century). Again, it depends where the work place is, and what type of work.

I was recently faced with this dilemma when my daughter graduated from college and took a job in finance. According to a June 2015 study performed in the UK, women ages 18 to 65, spend a full five months of their lives (approximately an hour a week) choosing outfits for work, evening or weekend wear. I'm almost willing to gloss over the fact that this study was done by British uniform company Simon Jersey and is therefore biased towards selling uniforms, because, even if these numbers are somewhat exaggerated, the point is indeed taken and overall rings true.

In response to this ticking clock phenomenon, especially for those in corporate America where there may be an almost unwritten dress code to decipher as well as the written one, many women have adapted a "uniform" of sorts which they keep on rotation in one section of their closet. This is basically what I've tried to facilitate by organizing my daughter's closet with a "professional clothing" section in which no party or play clothes need apply. This begs the question, If the denim and flannel of my daughter's college days are out of sight, will they be out of mind? Unfortunately, work attire doesn't "work" that easily when dealing with someone who willingly admits she is more Bonnaroo than Brooks Brothers. Despite having interviewed for and held former summer office jobs requiring business attire as well as the ridiculous college business presentations, in which one is required to dress professionally, there is no slow immersion; no spoonful of sugar that makes this medicine go down in the most delightful way.

In addition to the painful realization that T-shirts and sweats will not cut it  when you oversleep (no doubt after a long night spent at the office rather than the frat rager), the problem becomes even more, well, problematic.  Where to buy this "uniform" while retaining some level of age, comfort and cost appropriateness? Bloomingdale's Y.E.S. (Young East Sider) department which features their contemporary designers is mostly lacking. I propose they add on a Y.E.S. which stands for Young Executive Style. If you've ever tried to outfit someone for their first job, you know what I'm talking about. This market is so underserved that I cannot think of one store or brand to recommend. My daughter and I first realized this problem at least a year ago when she needed a serious, yet stylish suit to wear to interviews. She had gotten by with a black pantsuit from Comptoir des Cotonniers during her early college years along with various black pants and H&M or Theory blouses.

Nanette Lepore suit

When it came time to interview for that all important post-college job, incredulity followed by panic set in. I got the dreaded phone call that I had anticipated for months..."Mom, I need a skirt suit ASAP!" The non-dowdy yet not "slit-up-to- there" skirt suit or dress and jacket combo is a rarity harder to lay claim to than a unicorn sighting. Ann Taylor was proclaimed too boring, BCBG too slutty, Theory (even on sale) too expensive, ElieTahari expensive and matronly, Express has a few good basic pant styles and maybe a pencil skirt but not much else, and the beat goes on. Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I needed smart professional clothing, Nanette Lepore carried some stylish career wear, now not so much. I managed to find a skirt suit and a dress with a short jacket on sale from Nanette at as well as a drastically reduced Albert Nipon black and white herringbone suit from the back of Neiman's catalogue where lesser brands go to die. Amazingly, these served their purpose as interview suits and second interview suits for the same company (unlike a man, heaven forbid you can't wear the same suit for both!) and in them, my daughter miraculously landed her dream job. Whew! I felt every bit as victorious as she did!

Albert Nipon Houndstooth suit

What came next reminded me of the conclusion of the 1972 movie "The Candidate," in which, once Robert Redford's character has expended all of his efforts campaigning to be likeable rather than endorse policies that he really believed in, he is elected to the Senate. "What do we do now?" he asks his aides. In our existential crisis of sartorial proportion, now that the interview suit had served as appetizer, what would we serve up for regular fare? Everyday attire must still read corporate but less so, requiring an entirely new wardrobe known as business casual. This seemingly easy-going phrase sounds harmless enough, but is, in actuality, a virtual land mine to navigate.

Quite possibly this is where the extended closet time happens. Not only is it a tightrope act to walk that fine line between over and under dressed, regarding both propriety and climate in the work place, but according to the aforementioned study, some women will even return home later in the day to change if they don't feel like they nailed it. Arrivederci sandals, Ciao pumps (I told my daughter to invest in Band Aid Friction Block and keep it on her at all times) although I believe she defaulted to flats after not heeding my advice during week one. The trouser/button down blouse combo (make sure the buttons don't pull or gape) are fine but if you go for a more form fitting pant you better be certain that it won't be mistaken for a legging. A cardigan or blazer topping it off makes it more businesslike assuming that the skinny legged pant is even alright? A skirt can't be too short, or too tight and sitting must be possible with ease and modesty. It bears mentioning that if you are on the tall side, the right skirt length just doesn't exist--they are only made to hit mid-thigh or well below the knee. Dress Down Fridays (DDF's) may as well have been called WTF, as in Wear That Friday? Not willing to be tripped up so early in the game, my daughter ignored it altogether her first week and dressed in usual corporate attire. As the lone holdout, she now knows that sandals and dark jeans are fine as long as you feed the $5 office kitty. Sweats are of course, verboten...

Banana Republic offerings

In my constant role as self-proclaimed wardrobe stylist to the next gen, I am now resigned to trolling the sale rack at Banana Republic as well as H&M for summer dresses that can be worn in an office environment. It's truly amazing to me that so many ads and emails tout "wear to work" items that are cut-out in the back or on the sides, short enough so that several inches of thigh are exposed, or feature a model wearing them on a yacht in the south of France.  I always want to know where these people work because it certainly isn't corporate America! I also check online sites such as Rue La La, My Habit and Haute Look which I will occasionally order from just as long as nothing is final sale.

Amy Schumer in a Blazer

I found it entertaining that Comedian/Actress Amy Schumer deals with the corporate closet issue in her new film "Trainwreck" as well as in another potential real life role. Her thinly veiled character, a writer at a men's magazine amusingly named "S'Nuff," dresses in office attire in her work scenes. In an interesting twist, Ms. Schumer herself has gone on record as saying that she was one of several candidates considered to replace outgoing Jon Stewart at "The Daily Show" however something stopped her: she was not a fan of the possible wardrobe. Turning down the job, reportedly saying: "I just pictured all the fittings -- all the blazers I would have to wear. I was like, 'I don't want to do that!" she joked. (Apparently Trevor Noah, who was ultimately selected as the replacement host, didn't have a problem with it).

Amy Schumer "almost a blazer"

Obviously, the "blazer" excuse was not the real reason yet I would have to say in her defense that female comics don't really do the lapelled jacket thing. Even when paired with jeans comediennes may see blazers as too restrictive, too structured, off putting and unfunny. Truth be told, I can't remember ever seeing Chelsea Handler, Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman or Lena Dunham quite so conservatively dressed. I suddenly sense a new comedy troupe forming. Upright Citizens Brigade could become Unite Contra Blazers. Or as a homage to SNL, I suggest "The Not Ready For Professional Tailoring Players."

- Laurel Marcus

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Southampton Shelter Sixth Annual Gala

Sharon Bush, Oscar Plotkin & Lady Cavendish

The Southampton Shelter held its sixth annual unconditional love gala at 6:30 PM this past Saturday. The event's theme was the "Great Gatsby" and the home where the event took place was nothing short of Gatsbyesque. Being a Jewish Sabbath observer, I was confidently told by the manager at the hotel that Gin Lane, the address of the soirée, was a ten minute walk. However, three miles later I arrived at my destination dripping sweat from my face and sequined dress and an "ohmigod your makeup is smudged" reaction.

Jean Shafiroff in Oscar de la Renta

The venue for the event was nothing short of spectacular, with acres of land on the water and big white tents set up with chandeliers and white flowers. The chair of the event was Jean Shafiroff who has become the "first lady" of the Hamptons. It is nearly impossible to open up a Hamptons magazine or newspaper without seeing Jean on the pages, either running the event or being interviewed about her charitable causes. Jean is an ardent animal advocate and has adopted numerous dogs from various shelters, appearing at the dinner with her husband, daughter, and two of her dogs. Jean, wearing a vibrant Oscar de la Renta gown replete with a floral pattern and pink bow, managed to keep her hair tidied to perfection; while my frizzy confection left me embarrassed and hopeless. Jean spoke enthusiastically of the shelters' importance in finding homes for animals and for employing a "no kill" policy, ranking it among the top ten percent of shelters in the United States.

Margo and John Catsimatidis

The event was emceed by Chuck Scarborough who is paradigmatic of the Hamptons man- tan, svelte, and educated. Some other notable attendees were John Catsimatidis, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Southampton mayor Mark Epley and Sharon Bush. I had the privilege of sitting next to Bush, ex wife of Neil and sister-in-law of W, and bonding over our mutual admiration for Joel Osteen, whom she counts as a close personal friend. Sharon's radiant complexion and demeanor were inspiring and she led the dancing with her boyfriend Oscar.

Mayor Mark Epley

Another glowing skin attendee was Mayor Mark Epley whose tan would incur the envy of George Hamilton, proving that being mayor of Southampton is a rewarding endeavor as he was able to meet all three Kardashian sisters last year as well as mom Kris (the mayor commented that Kris was more attractive than he expected). The mayor said the Kardashians presence last summer was a "nonevent" as Hamptonites are used to seeing famous people and were unimpressed.

Melissa and Laura Pashayan

The mayor estimated that there were at least 20 billionaires in Southampton and that prices had risen about 25 to 30 percent in the past year. The mayor extolled the eclecticism of the Southampton community but the only diversity I viewed was that of the village's Ferrari collection.  The mayor has built up Southampton village by installing dog parks and boardwalks and continually developing the town, which is both immaculate and mobbed.

Ladies in Gatsby attire

As the guests returned to their seats for dinner and an auction I noticed the dinner was meatless, as expected at an animal loving event. The live and silent auction offered numerous goodies including a stay at the Golden Door Spa and the Fairmont hotel in Washington and bidders bid enthusiastically. While it was evident from the money raised that this was a well heeled crowd, most of the attendees appeared understatedly elegant wearing monochromatic colors and plain dresses, except for those in flapper dresses and gowns who adhered to the Gatsby theme. As the crowd began to dissipate at the early hour of 10:00 PM the Alex Donner orchestra continued playing Elvis and Sinatra songs.

As I exited the tents to the tune of "start spreading the news", I wondered why no one had spread the news that the Hamptons is one of the great playgrounds for the rich and famous and worthy of at least one anthem paying tribute to its preeminence.

- Lieba Nesis