In The Magazine

Friends and Fetes

Friday, April 1, 2016

Gosh, I love my friends. They are madly talented, productive and loving, and they host killer parties to celebrate all of that.

Nicole Miller and Kim Taipale were married 27 years ago, on a leap year. So, they only celebrate their anniversary every four years—just the right amount of distance to make it an eagerly anticipated event. It’s always at Indochine, and many guests have been there from the get-go. And they have managed to collect an assortment of friends who neatly comprise all the worlds New York does best: from the art world, there was Mary Boone, Ralph Gibson, Nathan Bernstein and Jean Pagliuso. The entertainment/film group included Karen Duffy, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, John Loeffler, Dirk Wittenborn, Ann and Keith Barish, Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox. From my world of letters: Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst McInerney, Richard Cohen, Candace Bushnell and Bettina Zilkha. And of course, the finance firmament, represented by Peter Schulte, Jay Snyder, Gary Cohn, Tom Edelman, Sam Waksal and all the other guys in good shoes. Those too broadly gifted to be categorized included Katie Ford, Bo Polk, Patricia Duff, Felicia Taylor, Richard Mishaan and Debbie Loeffler. Kim toasted Nicole, and since the leap bit makes it only their fifth anniversary, he said he’d be giving her “wool.” Guests corrected him—“the fifth is WOOD, not wool!” Nicole said, “Forget wood. I’ll take sable.”

Firooz Zahedi’s critically acclaimed book, My Elizabeth, was already in its second printing when we feted him in New York, after his Los Angeles round of events! Margaret Russell and Tomas Maier hosted the cocktail-hour signing at his eponymous boutique. Firooz had bonded with Margaret years before, when he was tasked with shooting his beloved Elizabeth Taylor’s home for AD, the day after she died. “It was hard to see through the lens, through my tears,” he told me. His friendship with Elizabeth had started through her relationship with his uncle, who was the ambassador to Iran.

For 37 years, she was his “fairy godmother, mentor and dear friend.” Pictures, many never before seen, and stories documenting this special friendship fill the book. After the last copy was signed, we crossed the street for a dinner, hosted by George Farias, at the Carlyle. George had taken Beth Rudin DeWoody to a dinner in Los Angeles. “She was seated next to me, and now she sleeps next to me,” Firooz toasted. They are married now. He compared Elizabeth and Beth—“Both are generous, loving, and great supporters of young artists. And they both have beautiful eyes.” Beth told us she had actually won a family portrait by Firooz, to benefit the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, 17 years before. It’s come full circle, and the ETAF will receive proceeds from the book sales. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Elizabeth’s grandson, Quinn Tivey, who has carried on his grandmother’s AIDS activism and has just become a trustee of ETAF. He’s also a talented artist. When he showed his work (on his phone) to Leila Heller and Richard Mishaan, a playful bidding war began! I was too busy looking into his blue-violet (yes, like his grandmum’s) eyes, to bid.

The place cards were photos of Elizabeth from the book, and we were treated to a side of her favorite dish: Chasen’s chili. And if this all wasn’t glorious enough, we also celebrated the arrival of two new Rudin grandchildren! Swollen hearts belonged to Kathy and Billy Rayner, Rachel Hovnanian, Estrellita and Dan Brodsky, Alex Papachristidis and Scott Nelson, Sheikha Paula al-Sabah, Lisa and Alexander Vreeland, Shelly and Vincent Fremont, Sara Dodd, Frédéric Fekkai and Shirin von Wulffen. In closing, Firooz told us: “Talent is God-given: be humble. Fame is man-given: be grateful. Conceit is self-given: be careful.” Amen.

Photos by Neil Rasmus/; Jared Siskin/PMC.


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