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Friday, March 31, 2017

Balls & Billionaires

Mini BLTs and potato chips were among the light bites served to the Trumps’ besties in the State Dining Room after the president was sworn in. And yes, Ivanka, Jared, Tiffany, Eric, Donald Jr. and the kids all had a sleepover in the White House. With 16 guest rooms in the family quarters, they didn’t even need air mattresses. (I knew you’d want to know.) As for best-dressed Melania, “Her next four years as first lady are going to be like this gown: straight to the point,” said her designer Hervé Pierre of the elegant dress she wore to the balls. Melania told Hervé, “I want the dress to be sleek, modern and form-fitting.” After reviewing the comments on social media, Melania smiled and told him, “I guess we nailed it.” The designer, who wears a signature white daisy in his lapel, and Melania have become pals. He is already working on new dresses for the Washington social whirl. Wisely, Hervé is staying out of politics, saying, “I’m not doing politics, I’m doing dresses.” He adds, “You can’t have an ego designing for the first lady.” His former boss Carolina Herrera, who has dressed several first ladies including Jackie Kennedy, created the sparkly confection Ivanka Trump wore to the ball. She said, “It is an honor to dress the first ladies of the country. I do it for the United States, not for myself.” Hilary Geary and Wilbur Ross led the parade of billionaires from NYC to Pennsylvania Avenue for the festivities. Others in the mix were Suzanne and Woody Johnson, the composer Karen LeFrak and her husband, Richard, Michael and Howard Lorber, Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg, Felicia Taylor, Steve Witkoff, Margo and John Catsimatidis, Edward and Tricia Nixon Cox, Ambassador Mary Ourisman, who hosted a private postball party at Café Milano, Steve Roth, Jean Shafiroff and society orchestra leader Alex Donner, who sang “My Way” at the Moblze Ball. Melania says that she will be an “active” first lady and that she will be “inviting friends” from the city to the White House. I can wait if you can.

Kykuit, The Rockefeller Family Home

It was practically a Rockefeller reunion when nearly 20 members of the clan, known to their intimates as “The Rocks,” gathered from hither and thither to attend the opening of photographer Mary Louise Pierson’s show, “Nelson’s Legacy” at Galerie Mourlot. Pierson is the late Vice President Nelson Rockefeller’s granddaughter. The exhibit documents the Rockefeller family home Kykuit and its residing masterpieces. This is a world where sculptures by Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Gaston Lachaise, Aristide Maillol and Max Bill collide with each other in nature. Pierson, whose great-grandmother Abby Aldrich Rockefeller cofounded the Museum of Modern Art in 1929, confided, “When my grandfather was 13 he asked his mother, ‘When you die will you leave me the Bodhisattva?’ and she did.” Pierson pointed to her photograph of the seventh-century Chinese sculpture, saying, “It was his favorite piece. When I was little I used to run around these sculptures, it was my playground.” Among those at the exhibition, knowledgeably curated by Thomas Knapp, were the shipping heiress Karen Goulandris; Charles Leslie, who cofounded the Leslie Lohman Museum in SoHo; and Pablo Picasso’s mistress, the painter Françoise Gilot, who was famously depicted multiple times by the master. The galleries owner Eric Mourlot revealed how his grandfather, the renowned printmaker Fernande Mourlot, was the only person allowed to work with both Picasso and Gilot after the couple broke up. Over dinner Françoise recounted stories of her friendships with Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Claude Monet. Pierson said she developed a passionate awareness of the placements of these works. Her remarkable pictures capture their magical transformations in the changing light and seasons; some of the most striking images were taken in the snow. She has produced two books, Kykuit: The Rockefeller Family Home and Mr. Rockefeller’s Roads: The Story Behind  Acadia’s Carriages Road. Kykuit, located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, is open daily except Tuesdays.

Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary

Art world and social luminaries Tommy Hilfiger, Gigi and Harry Benson, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Kara and Stephen Ross, Regina and Rainer Greeven, Mai Hallingby, Tony Ingrao, Randy Kemper, Candy Hamm and Jacqueline Weld flocked to the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary Art Fair. Founder Nick Korniloff and his wife, Pamela Cohen, presented a check to the Palm Beach Zoo during the opening. Works by Andy Warhol, Josef Albers, Keith Haring, John Chamberlain and 1,000 other artists represented by 50 international galleries were on display. Among those checking out the blue chip art were visual artist Bernie Taupin and NFL legend Joe Namath, who was there to support his son-in-law, street artist Edwin Baker III. Also on hand to honor Bruce Helander, the painter and former White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, were Pamela O’Connor, Tom Schaeffer and Anka Palitz. Korniloff also partnered with the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens to present Sophie Ryder’s monumental sculptures. They will be exhibited through April, courtesy of Waterhouse & Dodd.

Broadway to the West End

Cate Blanchett is electrifying the Great White Way in The Present, an adaption of Anton Chekhov’s play Platonov by her husband, Andrew Upton. The show runs until March. And if you and the kids can’t wait until 2018 to see J. K. Rowling’s two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, why not hop across the pond to see this historic theatrical event on the West End? Although this pair of mesmerizing performances can be seen individually, they are best seen back-to-back. For maximum effect, catch the matinée, and then head to the St James Club and its Michelin-starred restaurant Seven Park Place. Ask chef William Drabble to dish out his delectable tasting menu, but please don’t drop your fork into your griddled cod if Halle Berry pops in, as she stays at the charming club (it’s also a hotel). After your poached Granny Smith apples, head back to the play, which has some drop-dead special effects that I won’t spoil for you. No doubt these magical shows will be sold out for eons. Watch out, Hamilton: the wizard is on its way.

The Year of the Rooster

The New York Philharmonic celebrated the Chinese New Year with an extraordinary concert under the direction of maestro Long Yu. Soprano Sumi Jo was an inspiring surprise. She stunned the audience with her coloratura and command of the stage, while wearing two extravagant gowns. Adding to the night were brilliant violinist Julian Rachlin and the sensuous trumpet player Alison Balsom. Leading the applause were the cochairs, Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Shirley Young, Angela Chen and honorary chair Maurice Greenberg. Part of the $1 million raised will fund the Phil’s programs at P.S. 120 in Queens, an elementary school that is attended by recent immigrants from China. Starr International Foundation was the evening’s principle sponsor. 


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