TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Ever since reading Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, I have secretly harbored a desire to meet "a social X-ray" and to attend the kind of posh parties that were part and parcel of New York's A-List Crowd in the 1980's.
My wish became a reality and was granted as the net sum of two specific occasions.
The first [Social X-Ray part] came true when friend, author and PR dynamo, John Tiffany, invited me to attend a round table at "The New Traditionalists" a to-die for design space in Soho during the Holiday Season. Fashion Icon, Iris Apfel was there, talking about her many collections but most importantly [to me] was that Carolyne Roehm [formerly Kravitz] was there, AND I got to meet her and have a conversation while she signed a copy of her latest book, A Passion for Interiors.
I learned a few things that evening: she's reinvented herself into a well-regarded interiors author, she's an avid Francophile, she's collected some of the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette's letters, the item that launched her passion for collecting was a Verdura bracelet [actually two, she bought the pair] back when she was a design assistant for Oscar de la Renta. Add to that: she also lives in CT., and she loves her Terrier dogs to the point of distraction, just as I love our Cairn.
The second part of my wish was granted during this NYFW when I stepped into the Payne Whitney Mansion at 972 Fifth Avenue with one of my BFF's, www.cafleurebon.com, Mark Behnke, their Managing Editor. He'd already sampled and written the review, which you can read about on his post which went live on February 9, 2011. I have always deferred to him in all matters fragrance and thus, went into the event with the intent of getting "the vibe" of the launch. Cafleurebon's Editor in Chief, Michelyn Camen,
also wrote an article announcing the fragrance's debut on January 8th.A fragrance launch is A HUGE deal for any designer. It is a seminal moment that either breaks or makes you. In New York Society, everyone is far too polished and polite to tell a designer the bare knuckled truth if something doesn't come up to snuff.
In this case, no way. This was "a fashion moment" and the triumphant vibe was more intoxicating than the champagne that flowed on the second floor. If you succeed, everyone's more than happy to thump you on the back and party with you. By the tone at the Payne Whitney Mansion and the level of excitement, this launch was an "over the moon moment" for one of my favorite NY designers.
Douglas's partner, Frederick Anderson, pulled-away from the festivities to talk about how meaningful this collaboration is to the brand they've worked so hard to build for the past 15 years.
Score one for "the little guys" who are on their way to the big pond.