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Gift of the Day: A Marchesa Clutch

A handbag as precious as this needs no wrapping or ribbons.

November 15, 2011

Inspired by the French Riviera and A Place in the Sun by Slim Aarons, Marchesa’s Resort 2012 handbag collection is a kaleidoscope array of sea foam, fuschia, teal, tortoise shell and animal print designs. This Calf Half Envelope Clutch ($1,895) strikes a balance between feminine and ferocious with leopard print pony hair and the line’s signature rock crystal enclosure. It’s envelope design and versatile print will fold seamlessly into any wardrobe, making it the perfect fashion gift. Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave., 212-872-2700

See all of Gotham's 2011 Gifts of the Day here.

—April Walloga


A Night at the Museum

The American Museum of Natural History’s annual gala was filled with star-studded fun.

November 14, 2011

Nancy and Jimmy Fallon

Ever since Peter Lyden, the chief philanthropy officer of the American Museum of Natural History (carved MVSEVM in stone out in front of the building), defected to the museum from American Ballet Theatre, the gala benefits have been much brighter, more rockin’, and full of socialite life. Seen this year: Muffie Potter Aston, Steve Martin, Bill Cunningham, Jodie and John Eastman, and Emma Stone (not chatting). I also noticed Jason Sudeikis grabbing a drink with Kristen Wiig.

Last year Elton John performed. This year Coldplay played. I brought the wrong glasses and misread the press notes. Where it read, “…joining the Museum gala chairs are: Jimmy and Nancy Fallon…”, I read, “…gala chairs are Jimmy and Nancy Fallon.”  Wrong.

You’re the hosts, right? “No, am I?” answered a perpetually upbeat Jimmy Fallon. “God, I hope not.” “Oh, gosh,” he added. “Do I have to sing Coldplay songs? I can do “Yellow,” that’s about it.”

The big draw for Fallon at the gala? “You’re under the whale. You hear great music. It fires on all cylinders.”

Even less informed than Dispatches was Bobby Moynihan, who plays Newt Gingrich on Saturday Night Live. He told me that Brian Williams was hosting. “No, I’m merely the co-host of the auction phase,” Williams updated me kindly. “[The SNL cast] are constantly blowing things out of proportion.”

But Moynihan was correct about Williams having played a fireman on SNL. “Yes, I used to be one so I still had the equipment,” he explained. “That’s the only reason.”

Altitudinous Arianna Huffington was on fire in a floor-length skirt by Ports 1961. “You enter a different world,” said Huffington of our night at the museum gala. “I always find it very majestic.”

Bill Hader, who plays General Custer in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, claimed that Ben Stiller told him that after seeing the film, Martin Scorsese actually spent a night at the museum (on uncomfortable cots) with his daughter, who is a fan of the series. So cute.   

After dinner Coldplay with lead singer Chris Martin rocked with “Yellow,” “Clocks,” “Fix You,” and “Viva la Vida,” and came back with an encore of “Paradise.”

“In 1,000 years Alec Baldwin [in the house] is going to be stuffed in that closet over there,” said Martin, pointing to the dolphin diorama in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. “I can never get enough of my son-in-law,” Blythe Danner gushed to me about Martin, who is married to her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow. “I took the grandchildren to the Today show when he was there and we were a couple of feet from him. The kids loved it.”

Nibbles at the museum that night? Pepper-crusted beef filet with Barolo sauce, truffled mashed potatoes, asparagus, and loads of desserts. Crazy fun auction items included dinner with the cast of SNL as well as having your moniker put on the newly restored black bear diorama in the museum’s Hall of North American Mammals. The latter lot (grrr) went for $100,000.      

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


Gift of the Day: Crème de la Mer, Deluxe

The skincare brand offers a weighty jar of its luxe cream for the holidays.

November 14, 2011

Buying in bulk has never been more glamorous than with this Crème de la Mer Legendary Luxury Set ($1,650, 16.5 ounces). The set includes more than a pound of Crème de la Mer packaged in a limited-edition case with a silver-plated spatula. The cream’s formula—primarily bio-fermented sea kelp—took twelve years to perfect and has a cult following that includes Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, who reportedly slather the cream over their entire bodies every night. Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave., 212-872-2700

See all of Gotham's 2011 Gifts of the Day here.

—April Walloga


Pavilion of Art & Design Arrives in New York

Don’t miss an impressive display of art, design pieces, furniture and more at Pavilion of Art & Design.

November 11, 2011

Having shown in Paris for 15 years and London since 2007, Pavilion of Art & Design (PAD) has finally made its way to New York. A well-edited collection of modern art, design pieces, decorative arts, photography, jewelry, and tribal art from the 1890s to today, PAD New York had its exclusive, stateside debut at the Park Avenue Armory on Wednesday. Guests including Reed Krakoff, Charlotte Sarkozy, and Carlos Mota previewed the fair before it officially opened to the public today. (The show continues through Monday, November 14.)

Built on the heritage of its Parisian and London predecessors, PAD New York has both a European and American feel thanks to the presence of New York dealers. “We always try to bring in 50 percent of so-called ‘local’ dealers, even if they’re major, major international dealers,” Patrick Perrin, who co-founded PAD with Stéphane Custot, told Artinfo. Paul Kasmin Gallery, Stellan Holm Gallery, and L&M Arts are just a few New York-based dealers that give the fair its local influence.

With its expert selections from 52 international galleries, PAD New York boasts an exceptional collection of jewelry, sculpture, paintings, and more. And though Harry Bertoia’s lethal necklace at Didier LTD is gorgeously nerve-wracking, what might be most coveted is the furniture and decorative arts. Gerrit Rietveld’s sleek “Red and Blue” chair, Ron Arad’s beveled bookcase, “Restless,” and Beth Katleman’s dark-humored 3-D wallpaper are all worth a close look.

—meghan gleason


Angels in America: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show lived up to its super-sexy reputation.

November 11, 2011

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on November 9 took place at New York’s musty-historic Lexington Armory. Glass cases of Army memorabilia lined the way to the steamy hair and makeup triage. Imagine a room the size of a football field streaked with row after row of folding tables covered with hair spray, powder brushes, and foam makeup sponges. An army of curvy models clad in scarlet silk milled around in clouds of hairspray.

May we begin with Candice Swanepoel turning her back to this writer and retying her robe? The pulchritude backstage grows exponentially every year. There were 12 new women walking in wings this year. “God keeps making them,” explained executive producer Monica Mitro, who has managed all 17 seasons of the show. Dispatches met Mitro at The Plaza during season one. “Frederique Van der Waal and Stephanie Seymour were the big models,” she recalled. The present prep work is extraordinary. “A lot of them are boxing,” says Mitro. “There is some [spray tan]. The skin needs to be flawless, muscle-toned, perfect hair… it’s a very difficult casting.”

“Some outfits are really sewn on,” explained model Joan Smalls between eye touchups. “It’s part of the excitement.”

What about the $2.5 million bra that Miranda Kerr would model that night? “Three-thousand-nine-hundred stones, yellow diamonds and pearls,” Sharen Turney, Victoria’s Secret CEO, informed us. “One-hundred-forty-two carats,” said Candy Udell of London Jewelers. “The yellow diamonds are over 14 carats.”

As always, the show attracts well-known dudes. “What guy hasn’t bought lingerie for his wife or girlfriend?” said Gossip Girl dad Matthew Settle on the pink carpet. “I’ve dated three [Victoria’s Secret] models,” admitted Tyson Beckford. “One is still in the show.”

Angels on the Runway
The extravaganza opened to a coliseum-scale set of arches with tile mosaics. At 8:15 PM, just before the first model walked out, Orlando Bloom (Kerr’s man) appeared from backstage to sit. A low camera at the side of the runway sped back and forth on tracks. Then one at a time out stepped Swanepoel, Anja Rubik, and Lily Aldridge, fingers pointing up in the air as they treaded the runway atop pencil-thin heels with ribbons snaking up their legs.

“I was supposed to perform this song on this show,” said Kanye West when he took to the stage, referring to 2007, the year his mother passed away. “And I lost my superhero. Now she’s my super angel.” He wore a Versace for H&M jacket with colorful sleeves. Models—“Super Angels”—covered the runway in superhero getups with silver wings and flowing capes. Jay-Z, who had joined West, exhorted the audience to put their hands up and down in unison. (Beyoncé and her baby bump sat in the front row; Jake Gyllenhaal did, too.)

With glass buoys hanging overhead, Kerr set off the “Angels Aquatic” section of the show in the treasure bra. Maroon 5 jammed in front of stairs covered with giant roses. Models wore seashell wings. Adam Levine, his arms covered in tattoos, bussed one. Another model appeared in a getup topped with spinning parasols attached to her back. Disco balls and mirrored dogs overhead made the stage sparkle for Nicki Minaj’s performance for the “Club Pink” portion of the show. Male dancers wearing neon colors lined the runway. Models, meanwhile, wore neon angel wings and bulbous mirrored-butt skirts. The costumes of Village drag queens on Halloween have nothing on these super babes.

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


A Victoria's Secret Angels Afterparty

The Angels took some well-deserved downtime at the 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show afterparty.

November 10, 2011

Adriana Lima

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show afterparty was chock full of… dudes. The Gallery at Dream Hotel was so packed with guys craning to get a glimpse of the beauties that it was nearly impossible to move. No wonder—the Angels put on quite a show at the fete.

Miranda Kerr danced and gyrated atop a banquette, hands in the air and singing along to the music, while Alessandra Ambrosio shimmied in the corner surrounded by friends and family. Adriana Lima and husband Marko Jaric danced with each other goofily to Foster the People, and Jaric stole affectionate kisses whenever he could from his beautiful wife.

Adam Levine led his girlfriend, Anne V, by the hand through the packed event before settling in at a table. A heavily bearded Jake Gyllenhaal—who seemed better suited for a camping trip than a party given his sweatshirt, wool hat, and boots—was also at that table. The music was apparently too loud for the actor, who spent a large portion of the time with his fingers plugging his ears and screamed “What?” whenever his male friends tried to talk to him.

Though the treat for the testosterone-filled room was seeing the models in the flesh, the Angels were looking forward to a pleasure of their own: food. “I can’t wait to eat Joe’s Pizza,” said Lily Aldridge. “I just want a regular cheese pizza.” The whole pie or just a slice? “I’ll probably get a whole pizza and eat as much as I can,” she said with a grinned.

Ambrosio had similar fare on her mind. “I won’t have much time to eat, so pizza’s the easiest and the most delicious,” she told us. Unlike Aldridge, she has no favorite pie place. “Anywhere in NYC is good pizza,” she laughed.  

For Kerr dinner would be business as usual. “I really don’t deprive myself with a diet. If I want something, I’ll have it,” she said. So no favorite post-show meal? “Nope,” she cooed. “I just love my food. All of it.”

—sean evans
photograph by gettyimages.com


Pumpkin Sweets at Payard

Delectable Thanksgiving treats arrive at the lauded patisserie Payard.

November 10, 2011

Pumpkin macarons at Payard

How does Francois Payard say “Happy Thanksgiving”? With exquisite pumpkin pastry, of course. For holiday travelers, an airline security-friendly sleeve of Payard’s pumpkin macarons makes a lovely homecoming or hostess gift. The luscious pumpkin tart, made with spiced, roasted pumpkin and topped with a soufflé of orange blossom marshmallow meringue, will instantly elevate any holiday table. Pick one up, or have one delivered straight to your door. 116 W. Houston St., 212-995-0888    

—April Walloga


The New York Times Presents “Fifty Photographs”

Five fashion designers partnered with the The New York Times to curate a special kind of photography exhibit.

November 09, 2011

The New York Times has partnered with five fashion designers for its “Fifty Photographs” exhibit. Diane von Furstenberg, Prabal Gurung, Zac Posen, Michelle Smith, and Vera Wang delved into the newspaper’s photo archive and selected the images that most closely resembled—and inspired—their own sense of style. The result is on display at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street through November 26. Below, Zac Posen discusses his photo choices, his fashion sense, and the influence New York has had on his lines.

How did you choose your 10 images? What drew you to them?
ZAC POSEN: I started by pulling different topics of the moment that interested and inspired me. I followed up with a trip and sifted through the amazing New York Times archive. I was interested by the idea of focusing on abstract and ethereal imagery of the universe and its similarities to close-up and detailed shots of our own planet’s imperfections.

What is your relationship like with New York? Does it inspire your fashion sense?
ZP: As a born and raised New Yorker, it’s in my blood. I have drunk the water everyday. I love interacting with the people of my city, and am inspired daily by their energy and creativity. I think New York is the greatest city in the world.

What is the future of fashion? Where do you see the business going?
ZP: I believe that the inevitable advancements in technology and machinery will create a higher quality, more imaginative, and quick-to-market products. I love the highs and lows of fashion and its ever-evolving conversation with the times.

The Fifty Photographs collection is available for purchase at fiftyphotos.com.

—anna ben yehuda


Jennifer Lopez, We Love You

Notes from the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards and the Accessories Council's Ace Awards.

November 08, 2011

Jennifer Lopez

Busy month. Not only was Dispatches invited to the Accessories Council's Ace Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on Monday, he caught (that same night) the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards sponsored by L'Oréal Paris.

At the Ace Awards, Coco Rocha wore a necklace with claw-shaped crystals that she designed for Senhoa, an organization that employs and benefits young women caught up in human trafficking in Cambodia. Designer of the year milliner Philip Treacy mentioned that when he came to America some 20 years ago, people would say to him, "You make what? Like I was committing a crime." Award presenter Christian Louboutin said he was traveling with Diane von Furstenberg the next morning at 5 AM to Brazil. "We travel all the time together," he said. "We're best mates."

Glamour-ous Women of the Year
Dispatches then raced across town to Carnegie Hall for the Glamour Women of the Year Awards. I arrived so late the will-call window was closed, so I watched from the uppermost balcony in a sea of youths. T, a woman who had experienced human sexual trafficking firsthand in California beginning at age 10 and now fights to end it, spoke on stage. "A part of me wants to break down and cry," she said. "But I cannot mess up this fabulous Tory Burch dress."

The memorable moments didn't stop. "Egyptians are a very great people who deserve to be known," said Esraa Abdel Fattah, the architect of the Egyptian revolution, who waged a war on Facebook and was at one point jailed. "This honor means that the Egyptian people deserve freedom and democracy." She received a standing ovation.

Condoleezza Rice introduced Laura Bush and her daughters. Young Barbara said that she learned in Glamour that seven out of 10 women try to give their men serious makeovers. "I tried," deadpanned her famous mom.

Presenter Jennifer Aniston swept onstage in a black number with a sheer train. "Um, I rarely comment on my personal life," she said. "But I am here to tell you I'm madly in love with the one and only Chelsea Handler." "Like most logical people in the entertainment world," Aniston quipped. "I only appeared as a guest on her show at first so she wouldn't talk shit about me." Handler then exhorted us gals in the balcony. "You really can do whatever it is that you want," she said. "You just have to get out there and f-ing do it." I felt empowered. 

Tears flowed when Diane Sawyer introduced Commander Mark Kelly, husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot on January 8 in Arizona. "As the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, I know what it takes to be a woman of the year," he said. "Somebody with her perseverance to get better, her will to recover, who reminds me every single day to deny the acceptance of failure."

Donatella Versace also took to the stage with her trademark voice."I sent her several dresses for the evening," she said of Jennifer Lopez before her appearance at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards in her infamously sexy jungle print Versace dress. The designer added that she had thought, "She's never going to wear it..."

"You're beautiful!" the gals surrounding me yelled out to Lopez. "What?" she yelled back. "You're beautiful!" they all shrieked. "I had an incredible year of ups, and some not so ups," she said. "But the one thing that got me through were the women in my life... all the way down to my daughter Emme."

"I love you," screamed the shrill 20-somethings. "I love you guys!" Lopez yelled back in my general direction.

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


Alicia Keys and Friends Keep a Child Alive

Alicia Keys' Keep a Child Alive Black Ball was a showcase of hot musical talent.

November 07, 2011

Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz

Getting blackballed usually means you don’t get into the club. But not when Alicia Keys hosts her impossibly starry annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball charity gala (held last Thursday), which posthumously honored George Harrison for his 1971 Concert for Bangladesh. “You gonna know my name by the end of the night,” is a line in the song "Bright Lights" by Gary Clark Jr.—who performed the track at the gala—and Keys wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“I don’t know if you’ve heard of him,” said Keys, sparkling in Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, of Clark as she made her way into the event. “But hurry up and Google him before you’re late.” “We’re doing a version of “My Guitar Gently Weeps,”" she added. “I mean rrrrr!” (Clark’s guitar sure did sing like Harrison’s onstage.)

Keys' Keep a Child Alive charity fights to get medicine, care, and support to children and their families living with AIDS in Africa and India. Through her efforts, she has already raised $16 million for her cause and is basically considered a saint. The foundation supports 11 clinical and orphan care centers in five countries. The fabulously talented performer-composer also produces her impossibly wonderful Black Ball benefit concerts, where she gets her well-known friends to sing along with her—for example, unexpected guest pal Usher.

Alicia Keys' Star-Studded Lineup
On his way into the Hammerstein Ballroom, Richie Sambora told Dispatches, “Alicia and I are going to do some George Harrison stuff [a sweet version of Harrison’s "My Sweet Lord"]. I walked into rehearsals the other day, and when she opened up that voice of hers the angels were in the room. It’s beautiful. I get a rush right now thinking about it. And the things she’s does with this charity. I just can’t speak enough about her as a human being.”

“I’m going to be singing "Something,"" said Jay Sean, an ambassador for the foundation, on his way inside dressed sharply in D&G. "I love the song anyway. And then to be able to sing it with Alicia... incredible.”

Later, Will.i.am and Keys performed “Tonight's Going to Be a Good Night” with their fists pumping. His tux featured a large polka-dot pocket square flapping like a flag. “I’ve loved her since I was a child,” said model Chanel Iman, who made her shimmering silver Naeem Khan dress look even better than it had on the runway. “Oh, my God,” she told Dispatches. “I love Alicia Keys’ music, love what she does.”

At one point Sambora worked a double-necked guitar onstage. The killer star combos included Usher and Sambora jamming back to back. Keys and Olivia Harrison, George’s widow, embraced poignantly onstage. Towering supermodel Tyra Banks, in a floor-length purple gown, gave an assist to the auctioneer; the gala raked in a whopping $3 million. “I am overwhelmed by the kindness,” said Keys on Friday.

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com

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