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Ashley Greene Steps Up for Avon

The Avon Foundation for Women Global Voices for Change gala was musical, inspirational and packed with talent.

November 03, 2011

Ashley Greene

A funny thing happened on my way to the Avon Foundation for Women Global Voices for Change gala on Wednesday. I happened to grab an elevator at the Marriott Marquis with the contestants for the international Avon Voices contest. For most of the seven-floor ride I thought, "Wow, the Avon sales team sure is slinky and hot these days." The ladies wore black feather earrings and rich-girls prom dresses, but they also had swagger like youthful MTV VJs.

As it turns out they are all enormously talented singers and cutting an album for Avon soon. Cissy C., an American, wore a bouffant that had a kind of Mohawk stiffness. Jaclyn D., also from the US, worked a dirty-blond shag. Others included Joy L. from the Philippines, Natalia T. from Russia, and Canada’s Selena G., who ended up nabbing the Avon Rep title. Boy, did she deserve it. She blew everyone’s socks off with her version of "Midnight Train to Georgia" complete with high-altitude gospel flourishes.

Back in the elevator, some dude (not me) couldn’t help but ask the gals, "What event are you all attending?" (Implying, "And can I go?") Pant, pant. "Avon," was the right answer. On floor seven we also encountered Avon Voices judge Natasha Beddingfield, who said she was wearing DVF. Ashley Greene, the new face of DKNY jeans, wore a sizzling custom Donna Karan cobalt satin dress with one strap and material bunched in waves on the front that matched the screen-siren waves in her luxuriant chestnut coif. She is so pale in person. The camera loves her—she lit up the video screen onstage.

The winning and lovely Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon, which has donated $860 million to women’s issues, including the fight to eradicate breast cancer and to end violence against women, informed the audience that Greene is global ambassador of Avon’s affordable Mark brand and in that capacity has admirably taken on the fight to end dating violence and partner abuse. Nice work. “I was initially drawn to Avon’s Mark brand because I thought the products were great,” said Greene. But ultimately what drew in the young star, she said, was the fight to “end violence against women.”

She then introduced an award given to Glamour’s inspiring editor Cindi Leive for the magazine's controversial, comprehensive, and hugely influential survey that ran in June on dating violence. Greene mentioned the story of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old political science major at the University of Virginia who was killed by her partner. Shockingly, according to Greene four American women a day are killed by men in their lives.

At the end of the night, a super-animated Fergie, who put on an amusing mid-Atlantic accent, announced the winner of the real people contest, Evelina A. from Lithuania. “Wow, listen to that falsetto,” Fergie yelled out onstage after A. sang “I Will Always Love You," hitting impossibly high notes with astonishing force. “Damn!” offered a flabbergasted Fergie. Facing a dreamy landscape of crystal chandeliers, the young Lithuanian star drew tears when she thanked Avon and said, “I was dreaming about such a moment since I was 14.”

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


Halloween Hijinks

The celebrities came out in full force—and in full costume—this Halloween night.

November 03, 2011

Katrina Bowden 

There were two can't-miss Halloween bashes this year. The first was dGi Management’s bash held on Friday at the Hudson Hotel. Thrown by Yoni Goldberg and Damon DeGraff (who dressed up as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, respectively), the fete got underway early at Good Units with some help from the Svedka Fembots, who passed out vodka shots and glowsticks to costume-clad guests.  

The real treat of the night came courtesy of MC Hammer, who hopped on stage and belted out a few of his hits. The best was “2 Legit 2 Quit” because Hammer dusted off all his original dance moves and showed the crowd his fancy footwork hadn’t diminished over the years. Reverend Run and Pete Wentz were also in the house.  

Happy Halloween Heidi Klum
At Heidi Klum’s Halloween party at PHD at the Dream Downtown, the celebrities poured in dressed to the hilt in fantastic costumes. British singer Natasha Bedingfield channeled her inner hip-hop backup dancer with pants pulled low and a white tank top, and told us her scariest Halloween memory was the year her parents decided not to give out any treats. “In England people think more about the trick than the treat, so I remember hiding and turning off all the lights hoping no one would see me because I was sure everyone was going to trick us.”  

Jersey Shore castmate Vinny Guadagnino came as Zoolander and admitted to us that, “I’m not looking forward to washing off this eyeliner because I don’t know how to do it and it’s supposed to stay on for a week.” We’re sure you can find a lady to help you with that, Vinny.    

Actress Michelle Trachtenberg, done up as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, quipped, “Every year, I go with the crazy getups and none of my friends recognize me. I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s me!’ and they’re like ‘No, go away.’ But random people on the street are like, ‘Hey, it’s Michelle Trachtenberg.’ How can they tell!?”  

kept her answers in character—a beauty queen à la Toddlers & Tiaras—when we asked for her favorite thing about Halloween: “It’s Halloween everyday for me because I’m, like, number one!” she said before batting her eyelashes at us and blowing a kiss. You have our vote, madam.  

Tyson Bedford, dressed as a US Marine, summed up the night best. “The worst is trying to figure out how to get all your friends to one party, and try to get to the next party," he explained. "Trying to corral everybody... there’s someone who got drunk, somebody’s costume fell apart, and this person is stumbling.”

Hijinks Around Town
Elsewhere in the city, Katrina Bowden, Matthew Settle and Christian Siriano joined Malibu Black for its Skater Zombies and Surfer Chicks extravaganza, which featured a performance by Salt-N-Pepa. At The Electric Room under the Dream Hotel, Mark Ronson hung out with Orlando Bloom. And at V Magazine’s Halloween party co-hosted by Terry Richardson, Victoria’s Secret angel Candice Swanepoel was spotted chatting up Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes. 

—sean evans
photograph by gettyimages.com


New Yorker to Know: Chrissy Crawford

Meet a member of APrivateClub.com, New York’s most elite social networking site.

November 03, 2011

Photograph by ElkStudios.com

When the economic downturn dealt a crushing blow to the art market, Chrissy Crawford, a then independent curator for prestigious galleries and collectors, took her passion for art to the digital space. Armed with the belief that everyone should be a part of the conversation on contemporary art, and a desire to expose young collectors to emerging artists, Crawford founded ArtStar.com, an online gallery of sorts that curates a collection of affordable, limited-edition prints and original works by new and established artists. Similar to ArtStar, Crawford also helms LittleCollector.com, which specializes in contemporary prints for children. Contributing artists include Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf and Cynthia Rowley.

What has been your proudest moment?
Launching ArtStar and LittleCollector. I completely underestimated the challenges associated with starting a company, raising money and seeing something through. It took years to get both projects off the ground. 

What about New York inspires you?
This city is Darwinian. You have to be smart, talented, hard working or have some edge to make it here. I love talking to people with vastly different backgrounds and experiences and learning as much as I can. Living here challenges you every day.

What was your childhood ambition?
To live in NYC, work in art and dress like Madonna, circa 1986.

What do you love best about living on the Upper East Side?
Central Park is so convenient. Also, proximity to great museums, classic New York restaurants—and the people watching! The women in my neighborhood take it to a whole new level and I admire that.

What is your wildest dream?
Backup dancer for Beyonce.

What was your last purchase?
A Brendan Carroll Polaroid work with text.

Describe your perfect New York day:
Sleep in. Take a walk along the High Line with my husband. Visit the new gallery shows in Chelsea, and then wrap up the day with dinner and drinks with friends in the West Village—preferably somewhere cozy.

Chrissy Crawford's City Picks


Bar: Soho House


Restaurant: Red Rooster


Spa: Cowshed


Boutique: Dagny & Barstow
















To learn more about A Private Club, visit aprivateclub.com


New Fragrance: Gant Pour Homme

Gant's new men’s fragrance conjures scents from the seashore.

November 03, 2011

Gant Pour Homme Eau

Inspired by the leisurely New England lifestyle, GANT Pour Homme Eau (from $65) combines the talents of perfumer Pierre Wulff and perfume bottle designer Pierre Dinand, who crafted the bottle for Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium in 1977. The resulting scent evokes crisp sea air and wood and tar qualities reminiscent of weathered shipping boats. Refreshing hints of lemon, lavender, coriander and sandalwood cut the woodsy, nautical notes for a refreshingly masculine drydown. The ocean blue bottle, a molded glass design mimicking wicker transport baskets used on olden cargo ships, echoes the maritime theme of the fragrance. 645 Fifth Ave., 212-813-9170

—Steve Hagendorn


Heidi Klum's Haunted Halloween Bash

Heidi Klum hosted her annual Halloween party and wowed (as usual) with her costume choice.

November 02, 2011


Heidi Klum and Seal 

Every year, as Heidi Klum's Halloween costume takes on a greater degree of difficulty, drama ensues when she shows up late to her ever-popular Halloween fete. Last year she kept fans waiting in the freezing cold. This year she and Seal arrived as Planet of the Apes-style primates, but the makeup took forever and she didn’t arrive until after midnight. It wasn’t even Halloween when they walked in the door.

HobNob Wines and Smartwater sponsored the fun party held at the PH-D Rooftop Lounge at theDream Downtown hotel. When the dream couple finally showed at nearly 1 AM, they were clad head to toe in fur fabric. Klum had realistic-looking fake primate boobs with big nipples; Seal was oddly anatomically incorrect, like a G.I. Joe doll. How long did all of this take? "Six hours,” said Klum. “It was supposed to be two-and-a-half, three hours. But you know how that goes.” And what will it be like to get all the makeup and hair off? “Oh my God,” said Klum, her ape lips moving like a Caesar. “It’s going to be awful.” She explained that she had a "prosthetic” glued to her face. Was Seal cool with this look? “Yeah, well, I had two ideas because I had two parties [another in Vegas on Saturday]," she said. "He could only come to one party because he’s on tour, and he picked the monkeys.”

Klum wasn’t the only animal on the red carpet. Jessica White carried a snake, which got oddly close to this reporter's face. Was it tricky to walk the red carpet with the reptile? “Well, if you know how to handle a snake it’s just like dating a man,” said White. “It’s when you stop controlling them-—that’s when they bite.”

Kyle MacLachlan
, dressed in orange, offered me a Ritz cracker with spray cheese (a welcome snack even though his finger touched the cheese). “It’s actually Easy Cheese,” he indicated. “They don’t make Cheese Whiz anymore." He picked up his orange Crocks at a celeb golf tournament with Mario Batalli.

Fergie, who arrived carrying a trophy and wearing a tiara, refused to break character. How long did her getup take? “Oh, this is normal for me,” she said, insisting that she was Stacy Ann Ferguson from Toddlers & Tiaras. “I’m number one. I got the crown.” Doutzen Kroes said that she had on a latex Catwoman suit made by a designer who does a lot of work for Gaga. Meow!

Usually when one waits so long for the guests of honor to arrive, a party is dead by the time a worn-down journalist gets inside. But this party had legs--models in bunny outfits and sexy bejeweled costumes. There were superheroes and aliens. And in the back UNICEF had a computerized photo booth which sent pics directly to guests' e-mail addresses. Want a fun Halloween fete? Ape Heidi and Seal’s... but be on time!

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


The King of Barolo Comes to A Voce

Winemaker Franco Conterno will be the guest sommelier for one night only at A Voce Columbus Circle.

November 01, 2011

Vintage Aldo Conterno Barolo

A Voce continues its Guest Sommelier Nights with a visit from Franco Conterno of Aldo Conterno winery, often referred to as Italy’s “King of Barolo.” Conterno will be at the restaurant’s Columbus Circle location this Friday (November 4) to offer wine suggestions and insight on the nuances and delights of his family’s Barolos. For the occasion, select Aldo Conterno wines normally offered by the bottle will be available by the glass so diners can fully explore the fruity breadth of Conterno’s Barolos. Adding another layer of luxury to the evening is the restaurant’s ephemeral burrata con tartufi bianchi special, a dish of flown-in-weekly Puglian burrata and intoxicating white truffles that is available on weekends only for a limited time. 10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-2523   


From Boyz II Men to Bubbly and Back Again

A week that included Boyz II Men, plenty of Champagne and movie stars galore.

October 31, 2011

Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman 

The screams of joy when Boyz II Men took Hammerstein Ballroom’s stage the other evening were deafening. Partially headlining the OpenSky Presents Perez Hilton's "One Night in New York City!" event, the Boyz—now fully men—proved they still have the vocal chops.

Down one member, the group's three remaining singers (Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman) sounded as on as they did when they recorded their hits back in the day. They opened with “Motown Philly,” which compelled everyone to rap and sing along. A few new songs off a forthcoming new album were decent, but the real treat was the select number of Boyz II Men classics including "End of the Road," "It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," and the ladies' undeniable favorite, "I’ll Make Love to You." With a dozen roses in their hands, each member hopped up on the monitors during the tune and tossed the flowers to eager, outstretched arms. One lucky recipient hugged her rose close to her chest and cried as another yelled to her friend, “The seventh grader in me just died of happiness!”  

Bring On the Bubbly
Last week also saw a battle of luxe Champagne brands. Louis Roederer’s Frederic Rouzard hosted Cristal’s 135th anniversary bash uptown on 72nd Street, where select invitees sipped flutes of the pricey bubbly. Downtown, Dom Pérignon launched its new Luminous in a private Soho loft. Guests including Carmelo Anthony, André Balazs, Alan Cumming, and Leighton Meester came out to toast the launch of Dom's new bottle, which features an electrically illuminated crest activated by a button. The party was so popular that mere minutes after midnight, when DJ Swizz Beatz had just taken to the turntables, the fete ran out of its debut product. Additional cases were swiftly procured and the party raged on into the morning.  

One Hot Ride
Across town Hyundai kicked off its first-ever RE:MIX LAB event series, which revealed three custom-built Hyundai Velosters designed as the ultimate representations of "Music," "Gaming" and "Technology." Dedicated to a specific category, each car boasted its own style, top-of-the-line modifications and most current gear available in the industry. The "Music" ride featured a full DJ setup that most modern clubs would kill for, while the "Gaming" car’s plasma TV and Xbox Kinect had revelers with goofy grins bowling into the back of the car for the bulk of the night.  

Meanwhile Madonna turned nearly every head at Double Seven when she showed up for The Cinema Society and DeLeón Tequila afterparty for the film The Skin I Live In. Her Madgesty joined director Pedro Almodóvar and the flick’s star Antonio Banderas, as well as Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein and Martha Stewart. It was the second Cinema Society event of the week. A screening of Footloose happened two days before, and at the afterparty at Catch Roof stars Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough toted Svekda cocktails as they actually danced in a back corner. Their fancy footwork continued unabated until the party wrapped up late. Watching Hough’s flowing hair and carefree smile, one onlooking gent murmured to his pal, “I wish she’d be my dance partner for a night.” 

—sean evans
photograph by gettyimages.com


Jack Spade's Dandy New Design

The Jack Spade fall collection is as smart looking as its redesigned Soho space.

October 31, 2011

Known for its perfect totes in fabrications ranging from waxed canvas to boiled wool, Jack Spade also offers an array of basics extending far beyond its coveted shoulder bags. Carrying oxford cloth shirts, nautical-inspired leather wallets, and impeccably patterned scarves, Jack Spade is the gentleman’s one-stop shop. This fall, the brand’s Greene Street location reopened with a Steven Sclaroff-remodeled interior reminiscent of a bon vivant’s library, complete with a rolling ladder, exposed brick walls, and a corner spiral staircase. 56 Greene St., 212-625-1820

ABOVE: Stapleton top coat ($1,295) from the Fall collection


Blain|Di Donna Gallery Debuts

Magritte comes to Madison Avenue in the exhibit “Dangerous Liaisons” at the new gallery Blain|Di Donna.

October 28, 2011

Harry Blain and Emmanuel Di Donna

As the great Belgian artist René Magritte sought to challenge the perceptions of reality, gallerists Harry Blain and Emmanuel Di Donna are challenging the traditional boundaries of the art world with their new gallery, Blain|Di Donna. After parting ways with his London gallery, Haunch of Venison, and its partner, Christie’s, Blain, one of London’s foremost art dealers, paired up with Di Donna, a former vice chairman of Sotheby’s. Both bring separate but equally formidable backgrounds to their newly minted, 2,800-square-foot space located on the second floor of The Carlyle.

With Magritte on the walls and Gagosian Gallery across the street, Blain and Di Donna have opened their sleek glass doors (by appointment only) to the upper echelon of New York’s most elite art crowd. Their inaugural exhibit, “Dangerous Liaisons,” comprises 25 Magritte works, most of which are making their New York debut. “Some of these works haven’t been seen in New York in 25 years. That’s an achievement in itself,” says Di Donna.

The show sets the foundation for their plan to focus on secondary market sales of museum quality modern, impressionist and select contemporary art. “People might come once because they know you,” says Blain. “But if you want them to come back, you have to be sufficiently fresh and interesting. You’re only ever as good as what you’re doing now.”

How did this partnership come about?
EMMANUEL DI DONNA: We’ve been friends for over 15 years, both in the art world and out but on different tracks. We’ve always known and respected each other. When Harry decided to take a new direction, it just made sense.
HARRY BLAIN: I think we’ve been friends for 18 years? Emmanuel is so well respected, knowledgeable and trusted. All of these components together don’t come along very often.

Why did you choose to launch with Magritte?
HB: He still feels so incredibly fresh and relevant. The work feels completely contemporary. Thankfully, we had the support and goodwill of some very important collectors, which made this exhibition possible.
EDD: Magritte is very much in everyone’s mind. His market has been getting stronger the past 10 years, but there hasn’t been a show of this magnitude in the past 15 years in New York. The work is very rich. Very eclectic. And just being confronted with a work of art you’ve only seen in a book—to see it in person, it completely changes. The dynamic is totally different.

Emmanuel, why did you want to leave Sotheby’s to work in the private market?
EDD: I was at Sotheby’s for 17 years. I worked in Paris, New York. I saw most of the universe Sotheby’s had to offer. I was ready to tackle a new challenge. And going into partnership with Harry meant more access to the top modern and contemporary art.

How is your workday different at Blain|Di Donna compared to Sotheby’s?
It is only geared toward speaking to clients and doing research—no more meetings, no more administration. The machine here is must faster. I just need to decide what I want to do next. We can dream up exhibitions we want and see how long it’s going to take to get there and that is fun.

Harry, what did you learn from your partnership with Christie’s?
HB: You never stop learning, really. That’s one of the exciting things about life, isn’t it? It was a great team of people. I made some great friendships. I gained an understanding of that business. We remain on good terms, as Emmanuel is with Sotheby’s.

Why did you choose to launch in New York?
HB: New York City is a personal favorite of mine. I met my wife at the MoMA. It is one of the most dynamic, most important cultural centers of the world. There is an incredible understanding and respect for art here.

What do you hope to bring to the New York art world that isn’t already here?
HB: New York already has so much here, but we hope to bring together exhibits that haven’t been seen for some time. We’re lucky enough to have great relationships with collectors, so if we can add to what is here in a positive way, then we’ve done what we’ve set out to do. 

What art do you have in your home?
EDD: My favorite might be a Webster multicolored neon heart. You switch it on and the outside world disappears.
HB: My wife and children.

981 Madison Ave., 212-259-0444

—michele s. brown
photograph by richard giles


The Book of Chanel

Assouline releases a Chanel box set clad in tweed.

October 28, 2011

Assouline’s special limited-edition Chanel book sleeve comes, appropriately enough, in the label’s signature tweed. The luxe slipcase ($2,500) holds a three-book set on Chanel fashion, jewelry and perfume by François Baudot and Françoise Aveline. Only 30 of these handmade covers are available, exclusively at Assouline. 768 Fifth Ave.

—perry santanachote

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