Friday, July 21, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

"Jewels" Dazzles at 50th Anniversary Lincoln Center Gala

The ballet Rubies
All photos Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

While George Balanchine may have died in 1983, his legacy has only strengthened as the years have passed. One of the greatest choreographers to have ever lived, he has remained the father of American ballet cofounding the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet (NYCB). "Jewels" is a ballet which celebrates his iconic status and pays tribute to this heterogeneous genius. Balanchine trained as a dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre in his birthplace of Saint Petersburg, Russia; had an artistic breakthrough when he departed for Paris in 1924 and was appointed choreographer of Ballet Russes; and, finally settled in America in 1933 to found his two famous ballet companies.

Bolshoi Ballet Director Makhar Vaziev, Paris Opera Ballet Director Aurelie Dupont, and Lincoln Festival Director Nigel Redden"

How seamless it was that the three greatest ballet companies in the world - Bolshoi, New York City Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet - joined forces on this Thursday evening July 20th to dance the monumental ballet "Jewels" in a historically unprecedented night as part of the Lincoln Center Festival being held from July 10-30.

Hal Witt, Olivia Flatto, Dana Cowin and Peter Martins

This Russian-American collaboration did not appear on CNN's Breaking News; however, it was no less noteworthy as these countries got together to stage one of the most exhilarating nights I have experienced to pay homage to the world renowned Balanchine. Many Ballet enthusiasts commented they could feel Balanchine in the room and Creative Director of NYCB Peter Martins who danced this piece in 1968 under Balanchine's tutelage told me he was feeling extremely nostalgic.

 Sam Hunley, Vanessa Zahorian, Cathleen Hribal, Denise Sobel, Roman Gronkowski, Michael Manning (Standing) and Glenn McCoy

There were others who felt similarly wistful as indicated by the sold-out tickets with decent seats starting in the $450 range and a pre-dinner held which cost $2,500 per person. This was an evening for ballet lovers many of whom paid a $1,000 fee to join the Producer's circle so a premium seat could be bought. Expectations were high and there were those who flew in from France, Russia and elsewhere to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Bolshoi dancers left to right Katya Zavadina, Victoria Litvinova, Daria Bachkova and Alena Kovaleva

"Jewels" which premiered April 13, 1967 in this theater, now called the David Koch theater, at Lincoln Center was inspired by Balanchine's visit to Van Cleef & Arpels where he posed for pictures with ballerinas wearing gem-encrusted tiaras. "Jewels" is a plotless ballet where the audience's interest must be sustained without the assistance of a storyline. Tonight, the three dance companies had no trouble holding the audience's attention especially with the varied styles with which they executed the ballets.

Brian and Joanna Fisher with dancer Harrison Ball

While, it would be unfair to view this as a competition, if it was I think the United States and Russia nailed it with the NYCB putting on a spectacular performance the likes of which I have rarely seen. I would bet there was an element of rivalry spurring on each company as they performed their pieces with an alacrity and enthusiasm that dazzled.

Australian Columnist Leo Schofield and Bolshoi Director Makhar Vaziev

The first act entitled "Emeralds" was performed by the Paris Opera Ballet in green costumes designed by Christian Lacroix with the music of Gabriel Faure. This act was pleasantly melodious and lulled me into an anodyne state - something I wish more dance performances would do. After a lengthy intermission, the dynamic part of the evening began, with NYCB dancers clothed in red tutus wowing in the Stravinsky piece entitled "Rubies."

Bolshoi dancers Angelina Karpova, Vlad Kozlov and Anna Baranova

Joaquin De Luz regaled the audience with his soaring jumps, replacing the formerly inimitable Edward Villella, by dancing this part with an enthusiastic ease. Megan Fairchild and Teresa Reichlen gave one of their most astonishing performances to date with Fairchild's growing confidence placing her amongst New York City's top dancers.

Angela Zhan, Toby Milstein and Julia Loomis

Tonight I was proud to be an American but was anxiously anticipating what the Bolshoi had in store with its new director Makhar Vaziev being heralded by the press for his exacting eye. It is safe to say the Russian's were great and had the best costumes of the evening, designed by Elena Zaitseva.  The white sequined tutus and headpieces were reminiscent of "Swan Lake" and I felt they were given an unfair advantage with their placement at the end of the program and their over-the-top costumes.

  Orchestra Manager David Titcomb, Piano Soloist Stephen Gosling, orchestra violinist Helen Strilec, and Director of New York City Ballet Peter Martins

I hope Putin and Trump did not collude on this one. All joking aside, the ballet was entitled "Diamonds" and given that those are the most precious jewels-surpassing emeralds and rubies - I felt the Americans were once again slighted. Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin were out of this world. Chudin did stationery fouette turns and pirouettes that floored the audience - the effortlessness was incredible.

Meryl Rosofsky with former soloist Jacque d'Amboise,
and Principal dancer Joaquin Deluz

As the ballet concluded with a lengthy standing ovation for the Russians, guests headed to Tavern on the Green for an after party with most of the Bolshoi, the New York City and Paris Opera Ballet dancers in attendance as well as Peter Martins, Jacque d'Amboise and Festival director Nigel Redden. Redden told me he has been working on putting this together for the past five years and this was a tribute to Balanchine who has changed the world of ballet with his fast technique and laser like focus on the body.

Left to right: Eric Cabezas, Ben Cubenas, Christian Zimmermann and Richard Kielar

He also said Balanchine had a musicality that was second to none. Reiterating the preeminence of Balanchine, was legendary dancer Jacque d'Amboise who first danced with Balanchine in 1942 and then joined as a lead in the production of "Jewels" 50 years ago. The most notable characteristic of Balanchine, d'Amboise told me, was "his exquisite manners."

Sheila Rosenblum, Janna Bullock and Heather Randall

If Balanchine was sitting at a table instead of just saying to Jacque grab a chair he would go and bring a chair to the table for him. Balanchine's diffidence extended to the dance arena where he would politely ask Jacque if he would rather dance with Allegra Kent or Suzanne Farrell giving him the choice despite the fact that he needed Jacque for a specific partner. This side of Balanchine is scarcely known and it was riveting.

Jacque sadly recounted arriving at Roosevelt Hospital minutes after Balanchine died with doctors later discovering his life had been taken by mad cow disease. At that moment Creative Director of the Bolshoi Makhar Vaziev, who has the demeanor of a Russian movie star, took to the microphone to thank everyone for participating. He later told me how excited he was to bring these three companies to Moscow and Paris to perform this dance tour de force for a global audience.




- Lieba Nesis

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New York Fashon Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

Attack of the Killer Accessory



Newsprint pants 

I often tell a story about a member of my family (ok, it was my dad) who once strode jauntily through the airport, holding a copy of the New York Times. Nothing remarkable there except that I couldn't help observing that each stride brought the newspaper in contact with the leg of his heretofore pristine white pants. Later, as he noticed the fresh ink stains, I couldn't resist adding insult to injury. Why hadn't I told Houston we had a problem? My inexcusable excuse: someone twice my age (54 to my 27), should surely have been aware of the dangers of newsprint.

Since that fateful day I have had numerous regrets which, although I'm sure my father has long forgotten this relative non-event, I regard as "payback." Admittedly, this is a first world problem yet I always think there is some sort of karmic retribution at work in the universe when it happens to me, especially when, rather than through the fault of a newspaper, it is some of my favorite accessories which are responsible for ruining some of my equally favorite articles of clothing.


Figue Tuk Tuk Evil Eye bag

Exhibit A -- One Figue Tuk Tuk Evil Eye bag, a courtesy replacement generously offered from Figue for a previously purchased "eye-less" bag which had quickly lost its irreplaceable beads. I wore the mirrored and bugle beaded evil eye bag intermittently this past winter sans incident, always receiving numerous compliments from strangers -- it is a true conversation starter. Fast forward to the first warm day of this spring/summer when I fatefully paired it with a colorful print silk dress. Bag over the shoulder, off I went about my appointed morning rounds. By the time I stopped for lunch it became clear that the "eye" had been extremely "evil" ripping the side of my dress to shreds and giving new meaning to the word "eye-catching. I considered throwing the offending bag on a sacrificial bonfire to appease the revenge of bad juju from the fashion gods. Instead I kept it in rotation -- I "eye" it warily, taking great pains to keep it at arm's length if I'm wearing anything more delicate than a suit of armor.



John Hardy Cobra Multiple Coil Bracelet

So, what happens when your husband comes home with a fabulous piece of jewelry from your favorite jewelry designer? After marveling over how well I had trained him -- the John Hardy wrap-around coil cobra bracelet was truly "me"-- I soon realized that this bauble provided a little more than I bargained for. Unfortunately, no one had bothered to train the sterling reptile -- his fangs are a menace and a constant source of ripped garments. So far Mr. Hungry Sneaky Snake has "bitten" the loose weave on a knit suit jacket (unworn with tags). The garment was attacked as it lay resting innocently in the closet, a victim of circumstances, as my bejeweled wrist reached for the coat just to its left. I know my fanged frenemy has been up to no good with other garments as well but I'm trying not to let it "poison" our relationship. It's an uneasy truce. As long as I keep him from temptation, he holds his venom.

Pant leg stuck in shoe

Footwear is another source of constant fashion emergencies, if not actual trip ups. I remember well my first post-college job interview when, already in an anxious state, my heels sabotaged me further by forming an undeniable attraction to my wide trouser legs. As I walked I felt my pants legs being seized and tugged under the heel portion of the foot bed of my mules. (Don't judge -- it was the '80s!). Since then I have occasionally relived that experience always bringing back PTSD. While "Never let them see you sweat," was the advertising tagline of the day, I was clearly sweating it out as I tried to get my ridiculously shod foot in the door as a junior copywriter.

Marni slide minus stones

If there's anything that out rankles me even more than the embellished handbag it's embellished footwear. Shoes with tassels, stones or any other applied ornamentation are things I love in theory but hate in practice. There's nothing like losing a stone (or several) from a pair of barely worn shoes and being unable to replace it.  Case in point -- a pair of Marni slides, worn exactly twice, purchased from TheOutnet but still setting me back more than a pair of plastic slides should.  At the Marni boutique I was hoping I could obtain a few extra gemstones for what will obviously be a recurrent problem. Instead I was met with utter disdain from the snooty saleswoman. "Those are old --maybe you need a new pair," said the HBIC. Another "helpful" recommended I go hunting for stones in the trimmings stores.

A few other accessory items which don't play well together include Velcro and knits, silver necklaces with light colored tops, delicate legwear and boot zippers, rings with missing or protruding prongs and silky duvet covers. That last one was actually a blessing in disguise. Who knew that the simple chore of making the bed would alert me to the fact that a prong on my engagement ring had worn away and I was in peril of losing the diamond?




- Laurel Marcus

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Summer Survival

The Fourth of July has passed and that means that, before you know it, Labor Day will be here. Summer is flying by, so get out there and enjoy those warm, lazy days while you can.

Herschel



A little rain must fall. Be ready for summer showers with the Forecast Poncho from Herschel. It’s made of a waterproof, coated, polyester stretch fabric that will keep you comfortable on damp, humid days.  The poncho has an attached hood and two front pockets and slips easily into your tote or travel bag. This fun polka dot pattern will brighten any rainy day and it comes in nine additional colors.

Available at: herschel.com, $99.00

Buxton



Keep your clothes wrinkle free when you are traveling this summer with the Chevron Travel Convertible Garment Duffle from Buxton. Simply unzip the side panels and it opens into a handy garment bag, complete with a convenient hanging loop. The synthetic leather bag has two exterior slip pockets and a detachable shoulder strap.

Available at: buxton.co, $55.00

WowWee



Keep little hands busy on long voyages with WowWee Magnaflex creative construction kits. Magnaflex building pieces allow kids to build 2D or 3D creations anywhere. The high-quality Magnaflex strips have Neodymium rare-earth magnets safely enclosed inside so that the pieces adhere firmly together. Kids can combine pieces of different colors and pieces from different sets for more complex projects. The Magnaflex pieces stack together for easy storage and transport.

Available at: toysrus.com, Starting at $19.99

Medicé



Cracked, dry heels and calloused feet will ruin the look of your strappy, summer sandals. Medicé Foot Cream will rescue your rough, tired feet and get them in shape for summer. It’s loaded with Shea Butter, Eucalyptus and Manuka Oil to hydrate and renew skin’s tone and texture. The luxurious formula helps to heal splits and cracks, leaving your feet cool and comfortable and it even controls foot odor. They’re so sure that you will love it that Medicé Foot Cream comes with an unconditional, money-back guarantee.

Available at: medicehealth.com/, $25.00

Teavana



This is the easy way to enjoy refreshing, flavorful iced tea on a hot summer day. Teavana’s new, bottled, Craft Iced Teas are ready to drink blends of teas, botanicals and premium, natural fruit flavors.  Choose from Passion Tango Herbal Tea, Peach Green Tea, Mango Black Tea or Pineapple Berry Blue Herbal Tea, for a thirst quenching summer treat with just the right amount of sweetness. Each bottle contains 100 calories or less.

Available at: Starbucks locations nationwide starbucks.com


For more Better Bets visit: http://betterbetsny.tumblr.com/


Monday, July 17, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Sold-Out Parrish Museum Gala Takes Art World By Storm

The crowd
All photos Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

The Parrish Art Museum held its midsummer party on Saturday July 15, 2017 with cocktails beginning at 7PM. This is one of the premier art events of the year with superstars Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Clifford Ross being just a few of the luminaries in the sold-out record breaking crowd.

Co-chair Ronald Lauder

Honorary co-chairs Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder and Dorothy Lichtenstein joined more than 14 co-chairs including Emily Mortimer, Fred Seegal, Joey Wolffer and Debbie Bancroft to pay homage to this incredible museum which has been in existence for a mere 5 years. During that short period, more than 300,000 people have visited and more than $5 million has been spent on enhancing art education.

Honoree and artist Clifford Ross with Theatre Director James Lapine

The Parrish has become the leading cultural institution in the South Fork. With over 570 people gathered at the Museum this evening, the cocktail hour was almost unmanageable with the Hampton's elite gathering to pay homage to honorees Clifford Ross and Agnes Gund. Clifford Ross's "Digital Waves" adorned the walls of the museum and guests were marveling at the creation.

Nate Freeman and Director of Parrish Terrie Sultan

Ross began his career as a sculptor and painter after graduating from Yale in 1974. In 1994, after years of painting and sculpting he became interested in photography and in 1996 he produced his well-known "Hurricane Wave" series where he entered the surf in extreme weather, often up to his neck, and took photographs. His technique began to expand and he started using digital methods, inkjet printing and developed a unique method of printing on wood. His work has been featured at the MOMA, the Philadelphia Museum of Arts and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Honoree Agnes Gund and Ruth Miller

His good friend and co-honoree was Agnes Gund, who is a philanthropist, art patron and collector and advocate for arts education. She recently achieved fame and accolades for selling her prized 1962 Roy Lichtenstein painting entitled the "Masterpiece" for $165 million to hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen and donating $100 million to the "Art for Justice Fund". This charity will make grants to organizations and leaders to safely reduce jail and prison populations and strengthen education and employment opportunities for former inmates. Gund said this was "one thing she could do before she died" which had me wondering if she was sick as she is only 78 years old.

Theatre Director James Lapine and Artist Jeff Koons

"Aggie", as her friends call her, was the talk of the evening and Jeff Koons told me he drove from his farm in Pennsylvania to pay tribute to the amazingly generous Gund who he admires for her support of humanistic causes. Koons also said one of his artistic inspirations was the 16th Century Italian painter Titian.

Art Collector Tony Shafrazi and Model Karolina Kurkova

Aside from Koons most of the cocktail crowd was unfamiliar; however, I did recognize model Karolina Kurkova who looked fashionably chic in a Veronica Beard skirt and straw hat. She revealed that she often gets dressed in under 15 minutes preferring to be a supermom as opposed to a supermodel. She also enjoys working out and eating a healthy well balanced diet.

Co-Chair Debbie Bancroft with Richard and Kim Evans

At 8PM it was time to enjoy one of those meals as the dinner commenced in the main room, which is outdoors, allowing the light breeze and beautifully lit sky to fill the room with a magic that was indescribable. The ocean-themed event had many of the guests wearing blue attire while blue streamers and lighting hung from the ceiling. As I walked to the restroom, I heard the staff rehearsing how to place the food on the table in perfect synchronization. The more than 40 servers executed this task masterfully as we received our burrata and pesto first course and branzino and tomato entree simultaneously.

Jean Shafiroff in a Caroline Z gown with Chairmen of the Board Frederic Seegal

As the program began, we were treated to a speech by three-time Tony winner James Lapine, for Best Book of a Musical for "Into The Woods", "Falsettos" and "Passion". Lapine flew in from Martha's Vineyard to pay homage to his close friend Clifford Ross. Lapine, who is a theatre director, joked that he wanted to change the lighting of the darkened room and then went on to praise Clifford's imagination "despite the fact that he doesn't drink or do drugs."

Brooke Neidich and John Waddell

Lapine said that unlike Clifford who was a "social animal" Lapine's idea of a good time does not include putting on a suit in front of distinguished guests. Lapine who arrived on a 30-minute chopper ride from Martha's Vineyard was praised by Ross who was in shock that his friend spent a summer night in the Hampton's to honor him. Ross also thanked the crowd for allowing him "to bring big nature across to this room on Route 27."

The dinner

Another erudite speaker was Dorothy Lichtenstein, wife of famed Jewish painter Roy Lichtenstein, who spoke of her lengthy friendship with Gund and donated $100,000 to a program connecting artists with the broader community. Moreover, Gund announced she was donating $500,000 in honor of Dorothy Lichtenstein and thanked Dorothy for being so supportive when she decided to sell her Roy Lichtenstein painting. Gund recounted how difficult it was for her to sell "The Masterpiece" as she frequently becomes friends with her paintings and cares about them weirdly.

Sean MacPherson, Rachelle Hruska MacPherson and Janet MacPherson

In order to raise more money for the Museum, a live auction was held where an 8-person dinner on a Thursday night at Rao's was auctioned for $8,000 as well as a ten-person dinner at the Wolffer Estate. After all the excitement had concluded, guests headed to an adjoining room for dancing and dessert. If this extravagant evening was a harbinger of the upcoming Hampton's summer season then it is safe to say we are in for a spectacular two months.




- Lieba Nesis

Friday, July 14, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Jean Shafiroff Celebrates Bastille Day at Le Cirque

Jean Shafiroff with Zang Toi
Photo Marilyn Kirschner

Jean Shafiroff held her annual Bastille Day luncheon at Le Cirque beginning at 1PM. While most New Yorkers are away during the summer months, Jean was able to gather a crowd of 41 people on a hot summer day to congregate in midtown Manhattan - a difficult feat. The attendees included: Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Zang Toi, Geoffrey Bradfield, Margo Langenberg, George Gurley, Frederick Anderson, Maggie Norris, Nina Burleigh, Rachel Hirshfeld, Sharon Bush, Victor de Souza and so many others. Prince Dimitri is the paradigm of elegance, and comes from lineage so regal that he is related to every royal in Europe and 1,000th in the line of succession to the British throne.

Marilyn Kirschner with Natalie Ross in celebratory red, white & blue
Lieba Nesis

Some other good friends of Jean at the luncheon included the whole Lookonline/DFR: Daily Fashion Report staff with Marilyn Kirschner, Laurel Marcus, Jill Golden, Rhonda Erb and the publisher Ernest Schmatolla enjoying the afternoon reunion. While recent reports stated Le Cirque is bankrupt, I have had a number of delicious meals there recently. Today was no exception, with a delicious lunch of tuna tartare and bronzini culminating with a dessert consisting of beautifully constructed chocolate soufflé and cream brûlée.

The Long Table!
Photo Marilyn Kirschner

The hostess Jean Shafiroff, looking svelte in a pink and yellow Zac Posen dress, spoke of the need for our country to unite and avoid divisiveness in our tumultuous times. She said our enemies would want to see us disagree and therefore, it was necessary to come together. Jean has held this luncheon for five years and this year she honored the victims of terrorism and singled out those in Nice who suffered a horrific attack one year ago.

Dawn Marie Grannum, Laurel Marcus, Katlean DeMonchy & Marilyn Kirschner
Photo: Lieba Nesis 

Jean has been on the board of the French Heritage Society for six years and made a donation to the Society in honor of Bastille Day while stressing the need for camaraderie. Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th's Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol the people signaled that the king's authority should be limited by a separation of powers.

Couri Hay, Roy Keane, Janna Bullock and Frederick Anderson
Photo: Lieba Nesis

Commemorating this auspicious day, was a wonderful way to kick off the summer and guests were toasting Jean enthusiastically. Janna Bullock who wore an orange silk Chanel dress, told me she was excitedly anticipating her upcoming cruise to Alaska. Janna is involved in a number of great charities, promoting the arts and culture, and frequently hosts events at her magnificent beachfront Southampton home. I also had the opportunity to speak to Frederico Wasserman, a Frenchman, who follows a spartan diet in order to maintain a body fat percentage of 8 percent. Frederico is a marathon runner finishing his recent race in three hours and twenty minutes - the top 5 percent in his age group. Frederico, who looked trim and fabulous in a dark blue suit, did not dissuade me from digging into my dessert- hey it might be Bastille Day but I'm still a gluttonous American.




- Lieba Nesis

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Lookonline Editorial by Marilyn Kirschner

Reflections on Lucinda Chambers: Remembrances of My Firing Past


All the recent publicity surrounding the firing several months ago of Lucinda Chambers from her post as Fashion Director at British Vogue (and more recently, the firing of Deputy Editor Emily Sheffield), has brought back memories of a day (many moons ago). Been there, done that! I had what I thought was a very secure position as Senior Market Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. It was a job I loved and I had been there for about two decades. Anthony T. Mazzola, the Editor-in-Chief since 1972, was basically the only Editor-in-Chief I would ever come to know. When I was hired as an assistant fashion editor to Rachel Crespin in 1971, Nancy White was still at the helm but was soon to retire. James Brady was next, but he didn’t last too long.

As is the case within the hallowed walls of publishing, (especially where drops in circulation and ad revenue is concerned) there had been continuous speculation with regards to Tony’s tenure there, with ongoing rumors about various and sundry high ranking people who had been approached and interviewed for his job (Liz Tilberis and Suzy Menkes among them). It was during the course of a staff meeting on December 11, 1991 that Tony announced that he would be stepping down (he said he wanted to pursue “other things” and would relinquish his post to become a consultant to the Hearst Corporation and to edit the 125th Anniversary Special Edition). He said he would remain at the helm for other two or three months (until a successor could be found).

Finally, in 1992, “ending what was perhaps the longest-running rumor in the fashion industry”, in the words of the late the New York Times reporter Woody Hochswender (“Media Business; Editor Quits at Harper’s Bazaar”, December 12, 1991), there was a formal announcement that Liz Tilberis would in fact take on the position as Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar. In what seemed like a proverbial ‘Dog and Pony Show’, she was brought up to the Bazaar offices (back then, we were located at 1700 Broadway) to quickly meet the staff. And I mean quickly: she briefly stopped into each editors’ office to introduce herself. At the time, we were repeatedly reassured by top brass (I can’t recall who exactly), that our jobs were safe and the Tilberis era would be defined by a smooth transition. Yeah, right. And if you believe that, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

Not too soon after that, (and once again, it’s so long ago I can’t recall the exact timeline), the telephones began ringing in each senior editors office and we were summoned to report to human resources at what seemed like half hour intervals. By the end of the day, almost every editor with a senior title had been told their jobs were terminated. You know the ending of “The Godfather”, when Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) “settles his score” with the heads of all the 5 ‘families’? This was fashion’s version of that: a veritable blood bath lol!

While I wasn’t happy about this (why would I be?), I couldn’t take it personally because I never really got to meet, know, or work with Liz Tilberis (though I did bump into her from time to time as she lived down the block from me). Intellectually, I understood that someone being paid well into the 7 figures to ‘re-do’ a major magazine, would naturally want to bring in their own ‘dream team’ and thus, would need to sweep the slate clean and start fresh with his or her own staff. As they say, “A new broom sweeps clean”. This is precisely what has gone down at British Vogue with the replacement of longtime Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman (the longest serving in their history) with Edward Enninful (the announcement came in April). I know it’s hard, and a rude awakening, but you get over it and you do get on with your life. It might even be a blessing in disguise.

Being fired certainly didn’t hurt Anna Wintour. Look where she ended up.

While some of the negative comments Lucinda directed at the fashion industry and magazines that went viral were valid, mostly, they seemed to be her way of getting revenge and a case of sour grapes. I had to laugh when I read what she said about that “cheesy” June cover on Alexa Chung, where she used a “stupid Michael Kors T-Shirt” which was “crap”. As a market editor, I always had to be mindful of using designs from companies that were big advertisers (they were on what was called a ‘must list’). But you can’t honestly tell me that it’s difficult to find something decent designed by Michael Kors to use for a Vogue editorial. Gosh, with some of the companies I had to use (they shall remain nameless), it was truly a challenge, but that was part of the job, and I looked at it as a creative challenge.

As for her contention that magazines are irrelevant and overly trend driven? I don’t just blame magazines, but so called fashion ‘experts’ who constantly talk about one thing or another being ‘on trend’. You know the ones; they go on TV and tell the audience that 'yellow' is on trend, or 'leopard', or 'snakeskin' (as though they are only on trend right now lol!) The focus should be on what’s timelessly good, what's great. I remember when Mirabella Magazine (which was geared for smart stylish women) had an ongoing feature which they aptly called ‘Just Great’, featuring fabulous pieces that simply transcended trends. There should be more of that sort of thing. And there should be more stories on really great, affordable fashion.

As for the relevancy of fashion magazines, and their ridiculously high priced items? Well, sure it would be nice to thumb through a magazine and be able to find something on a page that is under $1000. Usually it’s just a belt or a t shirt; for many high ticket items with heart attack inducing astronomical price tags, they don’t even print the price but rather say, ‘Price upon request’. And anyway, does that mean you won’t go into a museum to look at the art, because you can’t afford to buy any of it? Not that I’m necessarily comparing fashion to art (though in some cases I could).

Lucinda Chambers
Photo: Getty Images 

As for the notion that magazines bully and cajole their readers into buying: does Lucinda really believe that women are so pathetic, insecure, and impressionable that unless they look like one of the Hadid sisters and have the spending allowance of First Lady Melania Trump or Amal Clooney, they are destined for a life of despair? That's insulting, plus things have really changed since the editor began her career some 36 years ago. We are at a time when it’s all about the celebration of imperfections, individuality and uniqueness, and the acceptance of who we are: warts and all. Women are less harsh on themselves these days and they understand that they don’t have to live up to a preconceived notion of who they should be. More and more editorials reflect this.

But please, give credit where credit is due. Most smart women are using magazines as a tool or reference point. Rather than buying everything they see, it’s a way to perhaps be inspired and then move things around in your own closet, or find similar pieces at less expensive price points. As a longtime fashion editor, I am and always have been highly visual and I still consider myself to be a ‘magazine person’. And I pretty much read them all: fashion magazines, home décor magazines, travel magazines, news magazines, etc. While I do get most of my information on the Internet like everyone else these days, it’s not the most relaxing thing to be constantly hunched over a computer or looking at an IPhone. There’s something relaxing about actually sitting down with a stack of good reads, even though some are admittedly better, more inspiring, and more informative than others.

If there’s one lesson I learned from 21 years as a fashion magazine editor, it’s that inspiration is all around, and sometimes, it comes from unsuspecting places. If I find just one thing that piques my interest, if I get one great styling trick, find a resource I didn’t know before, or learn something new, I consider it a worthwhile read.




- Marilyn Kirschner

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Hampton's Season Starts with a Bang

Cassandra Seidenfeld, Dawn Bodenchak, Amelia Doggwiler, Randi Schatz, Ruth Miller, Maria Fishel, Elizabeth Lesar, Tony Bowles
All photos Lieba Nesis
As the Hampton's season begins, the crowded parties are rendering transportation nearly impossible. Since the town prohibited official events during July 4th weekend, July 7th marked the official start to one of the busiest summers; with over nine food events taking place and dozens of charitable galas quickly selling out. Making my way to the July 7th Mission Society event was no easy feat as taxis were unavailable and Uber was not answering my desperate pleas.

Maria and Ken Fishel

Finally, Uber arrived and charged me $150 for a ten minute trip from Southampton to Bridgehampton. Arriving at the beautiful home of Katrina and Don Peebles, where cocktails were served from the hours of 6:30-8:30 PM, the vast crowd comprised of photographers Patrick Mcmullan and Lenny Stucker who took their place among guests including: Maria and Ken Fishel, Randi Schatz, Jean Shafiroff, Robin Cofer, Ruth Miller, and Cassandra Seidenfeld.

The weather had just settled down after an interminable period of rain, and guests were socializing enthusiastically as "cocktails and conversations" ensued.  This year's host committee was comprised of Peggy and John Bader, B. Michael and Mark Anthony Edwards, Missy Kilroy and Jay Moorhead and Leah and Stanley Rumbough. The Rumboughs are the offspring of Dina Merrill and were still sanguine over her recent passing.  Cole, her grandson, was tearful when he spoke of her beauty and recounted the moving memorial services that were held in her honor.

The Rumboughs and Dina Merrill have been actively involved in the Mission Society for decades and continue to support this pivotal organization. The New York City Mission Society has been in the frontline of the war on poverty for more than 200 years helping more than 13,000 underserved children through programs, supportive services and community events.

This past year's Champion for Children's Gala, held in April at the Mandarin, was a great success with honorees Katrina and Don Peebles and Diahann Carroll wowing the crowd. Don Peebles is founder, and CEO of the Peebles Corporation, one of the few privately held real estate companies with projects in New York, Boston and Miami Beach. He and his wife, Katrina, donate generously to the YMCA, Women's Cancer League and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Tonight they were kind enough to open their lavish summer home for the benefit of the Mission Society. Katrina is a striking blond glamazon who had a successful marketing career and spoke movingly about the organization and how critical it is. Elsie McCabe Thompson, the head of the organization, also gave an informative speech highlighting the progress of the students and the new projects they would be embarking on. The event concluded with guests heading to Bilboquet in Sag Harbor to continue drinking and enjoying the festivities.

Southampton Mayor Michael Irving, former mayor Mark Epley, Jean Shafiroff , John Catsimatidis and Rep. Carolyn Maloney

The next evening Saturday July 8th, I participated in the Southampton Animal Shelter's Eighth Unconditional Love Gala" at a magnificent home on Gin Lane. The beachfront property was breathtaking, and the crowd this year was bigger than ever. This year's honorees were Jean Shafiroff and Sony Schotland both of whom have ensured the survival of thousands of animals who have been placed in this no-kill shelter - which is ranked among the top ten percent in the country. Jean in particular was instrumental in raising close to $4 million for the Shelter. Some of the Shelter's crucial initiatives are: maintaining the low cost spay neuter mobile van granted by the ASPCA, rescuing enslaved animals and caring for rescues within the shelter.

Wendy Wegner, Chuck Scarborough and Jill Rappaport

Event chairmen included Andrea Greeven and Alex Douzet, Missy Hargraves, Antonella Bertello, Michael Katz, Marcy G. Warren, Mollie Ruprecht Acquavella and Ellen Scarborough. Regal emcee Chuck Scarborough, praised the honorees remarking that Jean Shafiroff increased fundraising fourfold since she became active in the shelter. Scarborough, is a phenomenal host and joked that Donald Trump tweeted a congratulations to the animal shelter at three this morning.

While a number of Trump's billionaire friends such as Howard Lorber and John Catsimatidis attended the dinner Georgina Bloomberg was an unfortunate no-show. However, incoming and former Southampton mayor Michael Irving and Mark Epley, respectively, both attended as well as Representative Carolyn Maloney. There were also many dogs in the audience who were up for adoption and Scarborough spoke of the Shelter's program which trains them to be service dogs in order to give them a mission. Jean Shafiroff, in a magnificent yellow and black Oscar de la Renta gown, similarly encouraged the audience to adopt and help these wonderful dogs.

Southampton Board President Jonathan McCann

In order to help these beautiful animals, a public auction was held where Scarborough volunteered a private tour of the NBC studios and a Turks and Caicos trip and sapphire ring were auctioned for reasonable prices. Moreover, a cash call was held which raised $100,000 for the animals. In total, about 300 were in attendance including many notables and the event raised about $700,000. After a delectable vegetarian meal of cod and salad was served, Jonathan McCann, the founding board President since 2010, and newscaster Jill Rappaport, introduced us to a beautiful dog in need of a home.

The guests then headed to the dance floor to work off the meal. A table was even set up to distribute cookies and bones to the animals - a nice conclusion to another perfect Hampton's evening.





- Lieba Nesis