Monday, July 30, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Watermill Center Benefit - An Ode to Robert Wilson

Art Installation
All photos Lieba Nesis - Click images for full-size views 

He is an illusionist par excellence, an icon among artists, a master puppeteer, a revered theater producer and a forecaster of trends - he is Robert Wilson. While the Hamptons is not renowned for its dynamic art scene it has over the years become a mecca of culture where artists such as Chuck Close and Jeff Koons gather to fraternize with fellow creatives; at the top of the Hampton's pyramid is Robert Wilson. Wilson could be relaxing in St. Tropez enjoying his legendary status amongst Europe’s social set but instead chooses to tend to his labor of love-the students at the Watermill Center. The Watermill Center was founded by Wilson in 1992 as an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts supporting young and emerging artists through its year-round Artist Residency Program and International Summer Program, as well as Education Programs, exhibitions and events open to the public. My friend an art aficionado said that "Watermill" was the Julliard of Modern Art. Wilson prepares for the Watermill Center Benefit all year as the money raised covers half of the annual budget. The cocktail tickets which were priced at $450 for early birds and $600 were sold out as well as the $1,350 dinner tickets with only $2,000 and $2,500 tickets available. The evening was sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels and featured installations from over 200 summer program participants from 30 nations including Laurie Anderson, Oliver Beer, Bianca Casady, Dawn Kasper, Cleon Peterson and Christopher Knowles.

Artists in Summer program 

The more than 1,000 guests who attended were an eclectic mix of artists, philanthropists, businessmen, and entertainers. Wilson looks more like a Hollywood actor than an artist attracting celebrities and luminaries from around the world year after year. Last year Robert Downey Jr. and Isabelle Huppert joined Wilson, and in years past Lady Gaga and Alan Cumming enjoyed the gala. The evening began at 6PM on Saturday, July 28th with the crowd anxiously anticipating the 25th Anniversary Gala’s "Time Bomb” theme which was a look into the future. Guests walked through the enchanted forest with artists in white masks, hanging from ropes, and naked in a rainbow pile, shocking and aweing the large crowds. Philanthropists Audrey and Martin Gruss, Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Maria Fishel, Toby Milstein and Inga Maren Otto came to pay homage to Wilson.  Peter Beard, Marina Abramovic, and Isabella Rossellini were also on hand lending star power to the evening.

Isabella Rossellini

Acclaimed architect, Campion Platt, whose family looked like they stepped out of the pages of “Vogue” called this “the best event in the country.” Platt was dressed by John Varvatos for the evening and had lost some weight since my last article where I referenced his expanding waistline. Platt cut watermelon out of his diet and recounted some of his other talents which include making raw cacao truffles, and gluten-free granola-a gift all of Palm Beach clamors for.

Campion and Tatiana Platt with son Fox 

The cocktail hour contained some other savory treats including tuna tartare, couscous and an open bar stationed in four different areas. Getting around the forest was no easy task for those wearing spike heels-my wedges were serving me well. As I made my way to the silent auction, I bumped into Belgian actor Ronald Guttman who starred in "Mad Men," "Sex and the City" and "Heroes." The role Guttman is most proud of is providing the voice of the "Prophets" for the Jewish Theological Seminary's podcast.

Cocktail hour

The cocktail hour concluded two and a half hours later, and select guests made their way into the tent for dinner which included an exciting live auction and performance art. The evening began with Wilson paying tribute to his friend of 47 years Pierre Berge who died in 2017. Berge, the co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, was a child who was always reading and loved theater, opera, journalism, fashion, and politics, according to Wilson. Berge who made a significant contribution towards the 20,000 square foot Watermill building in 1990 was "a world minister," and Wilson sent him "love for now and forever."

Martin and Audrey Gruss 

After dinner of couscous, fish, beet salad, and various meats had been served it was time for the business portion of the evening with renowned auctioneer Simon de Pury flying in from London to "perform" the Wilson auction-his 48th one. De Pury was sweating profusely on this humid evening; nevertheless, his enthusiasm was unabated as he exhorted members to bid on the pieces by Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Maria Fishel and Jane Scher 

The first item auctioned was dinner at Cipriani with "goddess" and artist Marina Abramovic who informed the bidders they could not use technological equipment during the dinner and must abstain from sex, television and talking about Donald Trump for three days prior. Despite these stringent requirements, two ladies bid $35,000 for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Abramovic is a huge fan of Wilson's and has collaborated with Wilson and Lady Gaga on numerous projects. Some other items auctioned were a huge Roy Lichtenstein painting for $95,000 with de Pury playfully remarking that "size does matter" and two "Snowy Owl" paintings by Wilson which sold for $60,000 each.

Keith Haring portrait

Moreover, the one-of-a-kind portrait by Tseng Kwong Chi, who died of AIDS at the age of 39, of Keith Haring was sold to Inga Maren Otto for $75,000 above the estimated value of $50,000. Inga Maren Otto is a major supporter of Wilson's who started the Inga Maren Fellowship program in 2016 and gave an additional $50,000 at the event. Otto is a magnificent and "impossibly chic" woman who is a mix between Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Her husband of 48 years, Werner Otto, was a German entrepreneur and Inga now spends much of her time distributing her money to charity.

Maren Otto and Robert Wilson 

Tonight, Inga was wearing a pink Chanel sweater with an Armani skirt, and Armani shoes with her hair pulled back in a bun. If I were a designer, Otto would be my muse as very few women possess her elegance. Otto, who was seated next to Wilson, clapped vociferously when Wilson asked singer Helga Davis to inspire the crowd with her haunting voice - and she did just that. At 11:30 PM guests headed to the after party where desserts and a DJ kept the crowd going until way after most Hamptonites bedtime.

- Lieba Nesis

Friday, July 27, 2018

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

Crushing It

All photos Laurel Marcus
Click images for full-size views 

In her illustrious career as an award-winning creative director, Rochelle Udell worked with some of the best photographers, typographers, designers, and writers. Her latest fine art installment of "Everyday Objects" is now on view at the J.Pocker NY Showroom on East 63rd St. I attended yesterday's cocktail reception featuring her Irving Penn inspired (she worked with him as Art Director at Vogue) collection of familiar objects namely beverage cans. I suggest that an equal homage belongs to Andy Warhol and that ubiquitous Campbell's Soup can.

"I love the concept of elevating everyday objects," Udell explained. Interestingly, the idea for the can art came about from an exercise device.  "My son got me this Fitbit," she said as she showed me her wrist.  "I was walking around outside when I started to pick up cans." And the rest is art history as the cans join Udell's gold leaf collection of various chair art, as well as bundles of juxtaposed laundry.

Added to the larger than life photos are backgrounds that are either painted or Udell's preferred medium of gold or silver leaf lending another luxe element to the common "cultural artifacts." According to the J. Pocker literature "Whether they are chairs, cups or cans, they serve to help identify us and trigger our narratives."

Rochell Udell

Udell who currently lives in Ossining and serves on the board of the Sing Sing Prison Museum has a formidable background in advertising, marketing and publishing which informs her work.  In her years at top magazines she made the Art Director rounds from Vogue to Harper's Bazaar, GQ; Editor-in-chief at SELF creative director at Revlon; President and Creative Director of CRK, Calvin Klein, Inc to Founder and President of CondeNet.

- Laurel Marcus

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Special Report by Marilyn Kirschner

The 2018 "New" Best Dressed List

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The notion of ‘Best Dressed’ is elusive and highly subjective. It means different things to different people. It means different things to me at different times, and depending on the context it’s put in. Best Dressed, like beauty, is indeed, in the ‘Eyes of the Beholder’! I’ve sometimes been tempted to make a most beautiful list, but beauty, which is both inside and out, is not just about possessing certain God-given assets (which certainly doesn’t hurt). It’s about the entire package: your soul, your essence, your humanity, your grooming, and how you present yourself to the world (in other words, what you wear). You can’t separate these elements. So you could say that my Best Dressed List is also my "Most Beautiful List." I could not agree more with Iris Apfel, who said it’s far more essential to possess great personal style than physical beauty. After all, beauty fades, but style is forever.

I try to steer clear of those who made my past lists because they would invariably be on my lists every year; so I suppose you can consider them to be my Hall of Famers. And if I do use them, it’s not in the same way. I try to vary my categories from year-to-year. See our past 2017 "New" Best Dressed List; 2016 "New" Best Dressed List; 2015 "New" Best Dressed List; 2014 "New" Best Dress List; and our first 2013 "New" Best Dressed List.

This time around I wanted to focus on diversity concerning ages, backgrounds, lifestyles, occupations, races, genders, body types, and fashion styles and hone in on specific niche categories as they applied. If there is a thread that holds this group together, it is that they each have an identifiable ‘look’ and a specific point of view, as captured in images culled from the past year.

In completely random order (click images for full-size views). Photo credits:  Vanity  Just

Best Dressed Democratic Socialist: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Less than one year ago Bronx native Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was waitressing. The 28-year-old third generation New Yorker has quickly gone from working-class activist to a congressional candidate and history-making winner of the most significant U.S. election upset of the year, defeating Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley for his seat in Congress. The woman considered to be The Next Big Thing in the Democratic Party believes firmly that “in a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live.” While fashion is hardly her primary focus, she is always appropriately turned out, looking polished, highly professional, and ready for action. She relies on a minimal, clean-lined unfussy wardrobe comprised of versatile and urbane pieces in black, navy, and ivory with an occasional hit of color. She keeps her accessories to a minimum, her hair sleek (it’s often pulled back in a low bun), and has been known to add a red lip and manicured red nails as a punctuation mark.

Best Dressed in Coats: Anna Wintour

If “fashion is the armor to get you through the paces of your everyday life,” according to the late Bill Cunningham, coats are the ultimate fashion armor. For the 69-year-old Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Conde Nast Artistic Director Dame Anna Wintour, they are as much a part of her intimidating armor as her Chanel sunglasses and her every hair in place bob and as much of a signature as her ever-present antique Georgian Collet necklaces. Ms. Wintour understands the importance of having a wardrobe of coats. She wears them well and with authority, for day or evening. Perhaps her most striking, statement-making iterations are those that match the dress beneath, creating a perfect ensemble, whether accessorized with tall heeled boots or nude Manolo Blahnik sandals.

Best Dressed LGBTQ Icon: Desmond Napoles

Desmond Napoles, whose drag name is Desmond is Amazing, is a performer, drag kid, awarded LGBTQ advocate, outspoken gay youth, editorial model, public speaker, founder of his own drag house, fashion designer, muse, an icon. Most importantly, he is amazing, and he wants kids all over to know that they are amazing too. Desmond began dressing up as a toddler and started wearing dresses by the age of six. He is now 10. One of his defining talents is his ability to work a runway and made his runway debut last February when walking the runway for the Gypsy Sport fall 2018 ready-to-wear show wearing heeled black patent boots, an oversized blazer with a ruffled Renaissance collar accessorized with black and white polka dot nails. He is launching Haus of Amazing, a drag club for ‘drag kids’ and hopes to have a fashion and cosmetics line in the future. His philosophy is “always be yourself no matter what anyone says and even if you get bullied, pay it no mind.”

Best Dressed in Thom Browne: The Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ former teammate Dwayne Wade and designer Thom Browne were sitting at Cipriani’s last October before the Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars when Browne had an idea to create custom, matching suits for the Cavaliers to wear during the NBA playoffs in the spring. Star player LeBron James, who was also a loyal client, loved the idea of the team presenting a unified front and he thoughtfully purchased the fabulous threads (the cost was approximately $5,000 per suit) for his fellow teammates. (As if at their hefty salaries, they couldn’t afford them themselves lol).

Who could forget when 33-year-old James showed up wearing Thom’s cropped shorts, striped socks, and an alligator bag that cost $41,000 right before the NBA championship finals on Sunday, June 6th? His picture was literally all over the internet, in the newspapers, and even made the evening news. Of course, last month, James announced that he left the Cavs (he signed a 4-year $153.3 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers). I wonder which team will now have ‘custody’ of Thom Browne’s gray suits! Meanwhile, it seems Thom is now onto another sport. He is reportedly partnering with Spanish football club FC Barcelona in hopes an assist from the sporting world will help fuel brand growth.

Best Dressed in Evening Tailleur: Janelle Monae

It is a  well-documented fact that women who show up at soirees wearing impeccably tailored jackets and pants can easily outshine those wearing a more predictable and traditional evening dress. One woman who knows this better than anyone is the 33-year-old singer, songwriter, actor Janelle Monae, whose uniform for high profile events almost always consists of some version of a tailored jacket and pant. Her “dedication to uniformity” (as she calls it) is also apparent in her chosen color palette. While she has begun to add a pop of color (red), she almost always relies on black and white, which for her, is a way to honor both her parents, who were working-class people.

Best Dressed in Ball Gowns: Jean Shafiroff

Nobody is as associated with ball gowns, or wears them with as much verve, enthusiasm and commitment as philanthropist, businesswoman, and author Jean Shafiroff (her first book, “Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give,” is an inspirational and comprehensive guide to giving). She wears a variety of labels, but among those, you will likely see her in quite often are Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Dolce & Gabbana, and customized designs by B. Michael and Victor dE Souza, for whom she is a muse. She is not afraid to repeat, has fun with fashion and sees fashion as an art form. Her full-on ball gowns are quite grand and entrance making, and while they are as notable as her tireless charity work, she is always quick to emphasize that it is her philanthropy and humanitarian efforts, which are her top priority.

Best Dressed Supreme Court Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The 85-year-old champion of women’s rights is the second female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (after Sandra Day O’ Connor) where she has sat for nearly 25 years, and one of four to be confirmed. Her feminist legal work in the 70’s was immortalized in the movie, RBG (she was portrayed by Natalie Portman). The Supreme Court justice has spent a lifetime breaking female stereotypes and fighting for equality, and she has a very strong sense of self. She keeps her 5’1” frame in shape through intense workouts with a personal trainer and does not shy away from fashion, either on or off the bench. Her hair is always neatly pulled back in a low ponytail, held in place by one of her many fancy scrunchies and she has apparently started a trend (Mansur Gavriel showed the much-maligned hair accessory the runway for spring 2018 and Balenciaga was selling one for $195). She has even found an inventive way to personalize her black robes: by adding an assortment of elaborate lace collars and an array of different gloves.

Best Dressed Teenager: Millie Bobby Brown

But then again, Millie is not just another teenager. The 14-year-old is not only a gifted actress, having initially burst on the scene in the Netflix series Stranger Things, but she has also attracted the attention of the fashion world owing to her excellent fashion sense, which has been apparent in her many public appearances and red carpet outings. Millie was only 12 when she signed with IMG models, and she has starred in Converse and Calvin Klein ad campaigns (she is a muse for Raf Simons). She continually proves her range and can pretty much rock anything, looking as natural wearing a sporty ensemble by Nicolas Guesquiere for Louis Vuitton (cool sneakers included), or dreamy couture like a strapless dress with full tulle skirt by Calvin Klein By Appointment. Her choices (down to the accessories) are not only exciting and varied, but informed, and most importantly, they are always age appropriate; everything has to pass muster with both her mom and dad (she said that if he doesn’t like it she won’t wear it!) It will be fun to watch as she gets older and more experienced.

Best Dressed Head of State: Theresa May

The 61-year-old Prime Minister of Britain and leader of the Conservative Party since 2016 is only the second woman to hold the post in Parliament. She may be politically conservative, but not when it comes to fashion and style. Her bold wardrobe choices exude pride and confidence and at 5’8” she has the stature to wear clothes well. She is especially known for her love of accessories, from statement-making beads and belts to her 'fun' shoes: colorful and leopard print flats and kitten heels. They not only add personality and interest to her otherwise classic and tailored ensembles, they admittedly make her happy. At the Women in the World Summit last year, she admitted, "I like clothes, and I like shoes. One of the challenges for women in the workplace is to be ourselves, and I say you can be clever and like clothes. You can have a career and like clothes”.

Best Dressed at a Movie Premier: Sarah Paulson

The award-winning 43-year-old American film, television, and stage actress is a known risk taker as exemplified by the bold roles she selects and that also holds true for her fashion statements on the red carpet. While she has always exhibited great style, this past year, she has really slain it. As one of the stars of the all-female cast of the movie ‘Oceans 8’, she has attended her share of high profile premiers as of late, and her choices have been unusual, exceptional, edgy and unique to say the least. Two moments that really stood out were the ‘Oceans 8’ New York premiere, where she literally dazzled in a fluorescent green sequined and fringed Prada dress from fall 2018 (she referred to the color as “highlighter") worn with small gold hoop earrings and a green wrist-let. For the London premiere, she went in another direction entirely and opted for a pink scalloped and asymmetrical dress from the Valentino fall 2018 ready-to-wear collection. With a red lip and her hair slicked back, she accessorized with only dangling pink floral earrings.

Best Dressed in the Same Dress: Tiffany Haddish

Even though Tiffany Haddish is riding high these days, and can well afford to splurge on whatever she wants, she is intent on getting a big bang out of her buck. The comedic host has made no secret that she is obsessed with getting a lot of mileage out of her $4,122 white Alexander McQueen halter dress. As she put it, “I feel like I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, no matter how many times I want, as long as I Febreezed it,” Haddish said of her dress. She spent a lot of money on that dress, and she won’t wear it just once. In fact, she has worn it in public four times. She originally wore it at the “Girls Trip” premiere last summer, while hosting “Saturday Night Live” in November, at the 2018 Oscars, and most recently while hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards on Monday, June 18th. I love that each time, she styled it a bit differently, changing her hair and accessories and while I applaud her commitment, I think it’s time to retire the dress and start wearing some other designs in the future.

Best Dressed in a Button Down Shirt: Victoria Beckham

Those who possess personal style don’t just look great for special occasions, but all the time. Designer Victoria Beckham certainly has many high profile soirees, but it is her laid-back off-duty style that gets my vote and really appeals to me. The busy 44-year-old mother of three and wife of David Beckham always exudes confidence and natural ease in her ‘uniform’ of slightly over-sized borrowed from the boy's button downs most often paired with slouchy high waisted pleated trousers or maxi trouser skirts. They are sometimes worn beneath a perfectly tailored jacket or worn on their own. I love their offhanded tomboyishness and the way they perfectly offset her uber-feminine visage, providing a beautiful contrast to her delicate fine-boned frame (she stand 5’4”). Regardless of which bag she carries or her choice of footwear (from ultra-elegant high heeled pumps to sturdy flat sandals and classic white sneakers), she invariably accessorizes with oversized shades and a gold bracelet watch, and always looks chic and pulled together.

Best Dressed Red Carpet Chameleon: Zendaya Coleman

Singer, dancer, actor Zendaya is just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. When you see her, it is always a surprise; she can look completely different, from the fashion to the hair, to the point of being completely unrecognizable. At 5’ 10”Zendaya can virtually wear everything, and at the ripe young age of 21, can get literally get away with anything and pull it off! She clearly loves fashion, is fashion savvy, and has great fun experimenting and she is fun to watch. Two recent examples of how she can go from one extreme to the other: she channeled Joan of Arc in a fierce armored Versace gown for the Met Gala. And just a few days prior, she looked elegantly beautiful paying homage to the iconic Tiffany & Co. shade wearing a billowing mini dress and black satin headband at the Tiffany Paper Flowers jewelry collection launch party at their Fifth Avenue flagship store.

Best Dressed in Ralph Lauren: First Lady Melania Trump

The First Lady can afford everything, and as a former model, at a statuesque 5’11” she can wear it all. She understands the power of fashion and how it can send a message (except for that Zara jacket of course), and she understands the importance of dressing correctly and appropriately for every occasion. Melania wears a variety of labels (the best the fashion world has to offer) and intuitively knows when to wear American. While she almost always knocks it out of the ballpark regardless of the occasion, I happen to really love her in luxurious American sportswear and what designer epitomizes that more than Ralph Lauren? I can’t think of another woman who wears the iconic label so well and so authoritatively.

Best Dressed Newlywed and Newly Royal: Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex

It can’t be easy to be newly married and living in a foreign country, and notwithstanding the apparent perks and advantages, it most certainly can’t be easy to instantly transform oneself from a commoner to a full-fledged royal. But Meghan Markle’s new life seems to really suit the former ‘Suits’ star. The world has been watching her every move, and scrutinizing and critiquing all her fashion choices ever since her engagement to Prince Harry was announced last year. While she shined on her wedding day and was undoubtedly a gorgeous bride in her minimalist Givenchy gown, she has had a few hiccups along the way, with clothes that were ill-fitting and too busy for her small frame. She looked as though she was trying too hard.

But Meghan has got it together and is really hitting her stride with a sophisticated look that focuses on cut, fit, and structure. She is regal yet relaxed, befitting her American heritage. She is the epitome of modern, elegant simplicity whether clad in sportswear separates, tailored pantsuits, sculptural sheaths, or perfect little black dresses from labels such as Givenchy, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Roland Mouret, Stella McCartney, Emilia Wickstead. She even manages to look fabulous in a hat (a requirement for a royal), and that is no small feat!

- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

LongHouse Reserve Gala: East Hampton Meets Brooklyn

Entrance to the Reserve
All photos Lieba Nesis - click images for full-size views

LongHouse Reserve held its annual gala on Saturday, July 21st in its Museum at 133 Hands Creek Road in East Hampton with cocktails beginning at 6 PM. The evening's honorees were Dustin Yellin of “Pioneer Works” in Brooklyn and Joe Melillo of Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)-two of the hippest and most influential Brooklynites.

Inga Maren Otto, Robert Wilson, and Fern Mallis

This gathering contained an incredible mix of artists and their patrons including Cindy Sherman and Dorothy Lichtenstein; mega Real Estate developers: Brian Fisher and Ziel Feldman; and influencers: Fern Mallis and Terrie Sultan. Sultan is the director of the Parrish Art Museum and is always impeccably dressed. She revealed her go-to designer is Morgane Le Fay who has been dressing her for nine years. Sultan likes Le Fay’s designs because they are minimally structural much like the art Sultan curates. Sultan said she visits the LongHouse at least once per season and loves the landscaping of the vast 16-acre space which is currently a Living Museum featuring pieces by Buckminster Fuller and other luminaries.

Helene Feldman and Jackie Yellin in front of a Dustin Yellin Sculpture

Jack Larsen, the owner, allows lectures funded by Hampton’s staple Toni Ross, to be given on his property in August, and art displayed on his estate, which will eventually become a permanent museum upon his demise. Larsen noted that people used to be embarrassed to have Brooklyn as their mailing address whereas, it is now one of the hippest and youngest neighborhoods attracting talent from near and far. Just then I spotted super hip Hamptons couple Ziel and Helene Feldman who are experts in amassing Real Estate and Art. Tonight they were excitedly viewing Dustin Yellin’s two sculptures one of which made from a garbage can materials and the other which was constructed from bathroom tiles and mimicking rockets.

Dustin Yellin and Joanna Fisher

Another Real Estate family that enjoys collecting Yellin’s pieces are Joanna and Brian Fisher, from the Fisher Real Estate dynasty, who were there to pay tribute to Dustin someone they have enthusiastically supported since he started “Pioneer Works” in 2012. Joanna, a VIP Gucci, and Hermès customer was wearing a bright blue Peter Hidalgo suit that she designed coupled with a multicolored Dolce & Gabbana bag. Joanna is a life force, and when she enters the room, the crowd pays attention.

Artist Nathan Joseph

A real attention-grabbing attendee is Robert Wilson “The King of the Hamptons” art scene who is renowned globally for his masterful works. Wilson was discussing his upcoming “Watermill Center Benefit”- one of the premier events of the summer where 25 art installations are presented from around the world. He revealed that many luminaries would be attending this year including Robert Downey Jr. and Sharon Stone as well as numerous surprise guests. Wilson counts Lady Gaga and Kanye West as friends, and his impact on the arts over his lengthy career has been immeasurable.

Left to Right: Jackie and Dustin Yellin, Robert Wilson and Inga Maren Otto 

Another great friend of Wilson’s, Inga Maren Otto, who looks like Grace Kelly and dresses like Audrey Hepburn, wore a black Akris dress with a matching Chanel bag.  Maren and her two children are head of a Real Estate Empire which recently went public. Maren blissfully recalled the 48 years she spent married to her husband, German entrepreneur Werner Otto, who died at the age of 102. She attributed her husband’s longevity to his no-fat no-sugar diet and daily exercise routine, a regimen Inga adheres to. Inga is a lover of fashion with some of her favorite designers including Akris, Chanel, and Armani. She noted how special this year’s LongHouse event was in providing an arts education for more than 3,000 students and teachers over the years.

After guests enjoyed hors-d'oeuvres and specialty cocktails sponsored by “Heavens Door,” an award-winning collection of whiskeys produced in collaboration with Bob Dylan, attendees were treated to a 40-foot wooden table of grilled vegetables, cheeses and bread along with an enormous BBQ pit comprised of a whole roasted pig and lamb.

Jackie Yellin, Helene and Ziel Feldman and Dustin Yellin 

The evening’s theme was blue, and the Reserve went all out with an entranceway draped in blue fabrics reminiscent of Mexican prayer flags and dunes dyed in varying shades of blue. Moreover, there was a specially scented bubble installation entitled “Blue Yonder” by scent artists Julia Davis and John Zinonos. Guests then headed to the ornate tent for dinner as acoustic musicians from “Revel in Dimes” and “The High and Mighty Brass Band” played delightful tunes.

Honoree Joe Melillo 

As guests munched on Swiss chard salad and strip steak, the Auctioneer exhorted attendees to show their neighbor they were richer and more generous by bidding higher. The first item he auctioned was an apple for $2,200 followed by a bottle of bourbon for $950, and he then asked the audience to donate money for student scholarships. David Lang, who will be producing an opera for 1,000 singers to perform on the High Line in October, introduced honoree Bob Melillo who has transformed BAM into a behemoth in the world of theater, dance, music, and art.

Melillo said BAM and LongHouse were both destinations that seek to embrace humanity. Well known astrophysicist Janna Levin, who is head of Science programming at “Pioneer Works,” introduced honoree Dustin Yellin, whom she called “insane” by living each day like it was his last by jumping out of a plane and asking everyone to come with him. She said she felt she was a part of his hallucinations with her terming “Pioneer Works” his most ambitious hallucination ever.

 “Pioneer Works” is its own universe in Red Hook Brooklyn which contains educational programs, residencies, performances and exhibitions to make culture accessible to all. Yellin accepted his award with his typical boisterous enthusiasm and thanked his Momma, Jackie, and the animals, aliens, and plants for “giving us good feelings.”  The band then sang Happy Birthday to Yellin who was turning 43. Guests then headed to the after party where the revelry and music continued.  This incredible event was primarily put together by publicist extraordinaire Jonathan Marder - one of the best kept secrets in New York. His valiant efforts to make the night a smash success was abetted by the Gods who delayed the rain until the evening had nearly ended.

- Lieba Nesis

Monday, July 16, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The Parrish Gala Goes Posh

Whitney Director Adam Weinberg and honoree Chad Leat
Photos Lieba Nesis - click images or full-size views

The Parrish Art Museum held its annual Midsummer Party in Water Mill, New York, this past Saturday, July 14th with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM. This is one of the premier Hampton events of the summer that gathers over 500 art collectors, curators, philanthropists and business leaders. The event honored Trustee Chad Leat and Artist Keith Sonnier with honorary Co-Chairs Milly and Arne Glimcher and Fern and Lenard Tessler paying homage to their friends.

Honoree and Artist Keith Sonnier 

Some other philanthropists and industry leaders who joined included: Campion and Jane Platt, Ziel and Helene Feldman, Sana Sabbagh, Larry Milstein, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Tony Shafrazi, Kim Evans, Debbie Bancroft, Geoffrey Bradfield and dozens of others.

Jean Shafiroff in Oscar de la Renta
Photo: BFA

Campion Platt, a renowned architect who has designed the homes of Meg Ryan, Conan O'Brien, and Anne Hearst, said this was one of the two Hampton events he will be attending (the other is the Watermill Center Benefit.)  Platt was reminiscing about the first time we met at the John Varvatos store opening where he was gifted with a Varvatos studded jacket, shirt, pants, and shoes. He joked that with his expanding girth the only pants that fit are $300 Prada stretch pants which his tailor is unable to replicate.

Airplane from Net Jets at Gala

The evening's sponsors were J.P. Morgan and Net Jets, and a mock airplane was cleverly placed on the Parrish lawn by the Jet company allowing guests to pose with the aircraft throughout the evening. While this evening is usually sold-out months in advance this year's festivities were slightly less well attended, and tickets for $2,500, $1,500 and junior tickets for $500 were readily available.

Larry Milstein, Warren Elgort, Toby Milstein and Michael Xufu Huang 

The crowd ranged in age from twentysomethings to octogenarians with a multifaceted eclecticism that was noteworthy. There was a palpable excitement in the air as legendary photographer Patrick McMullan and numerous other photographers took pictures of enthusiastic guests who were excited to see their friends after a long and arduous winter and spring. The event which is held in the outdoor part of the Museum consistently gets perfect weather as a swift breeze blew right in time for the dinner.

Robert Wilson And Maren Otto 

Terrie Sultan, who has been the Museum's director for the past 10 years, proudly noted the Parrish welcomed 70,000 people last year with more than 700 artists who lived and worked in the Hamptons. She also proudly announced they had raised two million dollars toward the capital campaign which seeks to expand the Museum and its exhibitions. The Parrish was founded in 1897 and has grown into a major art museum with a permanent collection of more than 3,000 works by such contemporary artists and sculptors as Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

One of those artists, Keith Sonnier, whose neon installations were being exhibited at the Parrish, accepted his award by acknowledging that despite having battled numerous illnesses "as artists we don't retire we work until we drop"- to which the crowd responded with boisterous applause. There were neon lights placed on the table in an ode to the work of Sonnier. After Sonnier admonished Trump for not giving the proper import to art that it deserves a fellow Trump naysayer, Don Lemon, headed to the stage to introduce honoree and friend Chad Leat.

Don Lemon and honoree Chad Leat
Lemon asked the audience to give him their rapt attention remarking that he likes attention since he is a news anchor. He also said that Leat, who was the former Vice Chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup, was one of the wealthiest and most successful people he knew. Lemon noted that Leat was most worthy of this honor and he would be happy to accomplish half of what Leat has.

To raise more money Leat auctioned off a three-hour cruise on his new yacht which sold for $15,000 to two different bidders. Moreover, an intimate wine dinner for ten at the Wolffer Estate was auctioned for $10,000. After desserts of min Oreos and donuts were served, guests headed to the after party, hosted by Larry Milstein, where they danced and drank until after 1 AM. For the price of $200, hundreds of attendees were given the opportunity to experience a taste of the Parrish on one of the most spectacular summer nights of the season.

- Lieba Nesis

Sunday, July 08, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

The Elephant in the Room

Malcolm Starr for Rizkallah elephant and rider wool felt skirt

No, not that one (whichever one you are thinking about, and yes, there are many right now).  I’m actually referring to elephant themed fashion items. And naturally, not those that are garden variety and run of the mill, but elegantly sophisticated and chic. Because regardless of the fact that the CFDA created the 2018 Fashion Influencer Award for Kim Kardashian, a woman who is the epitome of common, vulgar and tasteless, looking at recent images from the couture shows in Paris, we are thankfully at a moment which is celebrating elegance and chic. Well, I guess I got that off my chest lol!

In any event, in Hinduism, elephants are sacred and considered to be the representation of the living incarnation of Ganesh, the elephant-headed deity. In India, they are worshipped, seen as a symbol of strength and good luck and symbolize mental strength, earthiness, and responsibility. It’s no wonder that through the years, this highly recognizable and beloved mammal has been featured in art, folklore, religion, literature, and popular culture, and has also served as inspiration for fashion designers. One of the best pieces I’ve ever come across is the Rizkallah for Malcolm Starr felted wool maxi skirt featuring an umbrella-carrying man astride a large elephant, part of a circus-themed collection from the 1970’s.  It’s a collectors’ item and a true work of art and though it is rare, it is available from time to time. (I actually bought one from a vintage dealer years ago).

Most recently, elephants have struck the fancy of Jonathan Anderson, the creative director for Loewe since 2012. Drawing inspiration from his time spent in Ibiza as a child, he has been instrumental in the brands’ reinvention. His highly coveted, playful collection of elephant-shaped bags, bag charms, and coin purses is illustrative of his style, which is described as “forward and free” and proof of his desire to combine the work of craftsmanship with a fun design. Highlights from the collection:

Click images for full-size views:

Loewe silver leather mini elephant bag, $1290. More info/purchase

Loewe mini elephant bag in rainbow-colored leather, $1314. More info/purchase

Loewe python elephant key ring, $750. More info/purchase

Shoe brand Dorateymur, founded in 2012 by Turkish designer Dora Teymur, flawlessly combines a vintage inspired aesthetic with a smooth and sculptural silhouette that is completely modern. I love the charm and whimsy of a sculpted elephant heel and the way it unexpectedly adds a surprise twist to her classic, timeless footwear. Among my favorites:

Dorateymur silver leather pumps with an elephant shaped heel, $465. More info/purchase

Dorateymur black suede pumps with an elephant shaped heel, $320. More info/purchase

Dorateymur pink leather backless pumps with an elephant shaped heel, $435. More info/purchase

Dorateymur red leather ankle boots with an elephant shaped heel, $580. More info/purchase

In addition to leather accessories, there are also noteworthy pins and earrings which pay homage to the ‘gentle giant’.Yvonne Leon 18-karat gold and diamond elephant shaped earrings, $785. More info/purchase

Philippe Ferrandis Magic Circus Elephant resin brooch with Swarovski crystals and glass pearl, $475. More info/purchase

Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane elephant brooch decorated with multi-colored stones, $210. More info/purchase

Last but not least is Arthur Elgort’s photograph, ‘Keira Knightley with Elephant’. This iconic photograph showing actress Keira Knightley bottle-feeding a baby elephant with a Louis Vuitton-style saddle pad in the green woods, wearing a dress and boots is a wonderful combination of nature, animal, and celebrity photography. Price upon request.

- Marilyn Kirschner