In The Magazine

New York Icons

by Amber Burton Photographed by Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This month, AVENUE is celebrating 20 years of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), which honors and preserves Manhattan’s most iconic shopping locale. In commemoration, we’re looking at 20 iconic New Yorkers:


Collins’ name will forever be imprinted on the minds of others, as she is on the masthead of Vanity Fair, where she is a tenured editor and a correspondent on fashion, culture and style. She has graced the pages of Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame (1996), and was the March 2016 cover star for AVENUE. Collins’ diverse and cultured taste has propelled her into academia as an art historian, an author and a professor at Columbia University. The daughter of a psychoanalyst and an art historian and professor, it is no surprise that Collins’ accomplishments are both multifaceted and varied. “To me, New York is the center of the universe,” says Collins. “It’s a working town also, so my iconic New York day would involve work, friendship, family and any number of cultural expeditions.”


Cavendish, who is a member of the noble British Cavendish family, has acquired fame for her taste in food. In 2010, she served as a judge on Iron Chef, though her interests and impact have reached far beyond that of fine cuisine. She is a familiar face at New York City philanthropy events, supporting organizations such as the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation at their annual dinner dance, and the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Rita Hayworth Gala.


Gilbertson has more than 30 years’ experience in orchestrating benefits and galas for the Museum of the City of New York. “I’m very interested in history,” says Gilbertson. “It’s a natural fit for me to be involved with the Museum of the City of New York.” As the head of the Director’s Council for the museum, he is perhaps best known for his unmatched ability to bring people together, and organizing the Director’s Council Winter Ball. The Director’s Council has played an integral role in raising funds for the museum and its efforts to educate the city on the history and future of New York. Gilbertson was honored in 2015.


In a family famous for its involvement in crafting American railroads, Costin has constructed a name for herself as a singer and fashion figure. As an entertainer, she has made her way as an international pop singer. Most recently, she has made headlines gracing the New York Fashion Week runway as a model. Her reverence for fashion shined through in her launch of an accessories line on HSN in 2015. With pearl earrings and “Coronation Choker,” the jewelry line, Homage, is a nod to her historic family, though her admiration for them does not stop there. Costin is also a board member of Long Island’s Vanderbilt Museum.


Gordon’s musical works has graced the television, theater and stage, inspiring both dancers and musicians alike. The Hawaii-born composer is known for her classical musical scores. In the years since establishing herself as an artist, Gordon has found the time to weave herself into the New York philanthropy sphere. She has chaired events for organizations ranging from the Women’s Project Theater, a supporter of women in theater, to the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton.


For many years, Griscom was a model signed to Eileen Ford. She famously shares that she was not scouted but rather walked into the agency and, in a sense, discovered herself. Successful, Griscom appeared on numerous magazine covers and in countless ad campaigns. Keeping up with her entrepreneurial, go-getter spirit, Griscom has transitioned into roles such as author, television personality, interior decorator and now handbag designer. Her line, Nina Griscom for GiGi New York, prioritizes both material and style, and features a variety of sizes.


Guest is the daughter of the late socialite and equestrian C. Z. Guest and Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, a polo champion and a cousin of Winston Churchill, though she has defined herself as being far more than the heir of a well-revered family. The former 1982 Deb of the Year has followed her own path as an author, vegan caterer, cruelty-free designer and animal rights activist. Her first book, a memoir, The Debutante’s Guide to Life, was published in 1986, and more recently she has written a vegan cookbook, Cornelia Guest’s Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining (2012). Her cruelty-free handbags can be found at retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, and word on the street is that she often brings her homemade vegan cookies along for customers.


Hernandez is nothing if not ambitious. She is an alumna and now trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). “FIT set me up for great success in my career and in life. I feel passionate about supporting the college so they can continue to educate and shape the leaders of so many of our creative industries,” says Hernandez. She is also an involved philanthropist in Manhattan and a passionate supporter of Latin American arts. She successfully fused her interests through her past role for El Museo del Barrio. Her galas became some of the most coveted events to attain an invite. As a patron of Latin American art, Hernandez is a collector and frequent host of an array of artists in her Upper East Side home. She is also involved on the board of her family’s real estate holding company.


De Kanavos has made a name for herself on the philanthropy circuit. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, de Kanavos was raised in Queens. She has served as a cochair for a number of charity events, including the Byzantine Ball hosted by the Young Friends of Save Venice charity. Her styled appearances have catapulted her onto the pages of fashion magazines. De Kanavos was selected for Vogue’s best-dressed list. Other organizations in which she has taken prominent roles include New Yorkers for Children, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Wildlife Conservation Society.


As a member of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, Lightburn has hosted events such as the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon. “I have enormous passion, enthusiasm, and unwavering respect for the incredible work and commitment that the Women’s Committee has achieved for the betterment of our treasured ‘backyard,’” says Lightburn. Lightburn is also president of the Couture Council of the Museum at FIT. Most recently, she cochaired the Greenwich-based Bruce Museum’s 29th Annual Renaissance Ball.


Reed is the daughter of Annette de la Renta and Samuel P. Reed, and the stepdaughter of Oscar de la Renta. Following her stepfather’s death in 2014, Reed has served as the support behind the iconic fashion house. Reed is the executive vice president of Oscar de la Renta alongside her husband, Alex Bolen, who operates as the label’s CEO. She is currently guiding the brand

in moving toward a more global direction.


An economist and a businessperson with an MBA from Harvard, Kravis runs the Robert Kravis and Kimberly Kravis Foundation with her brother. The foundation focuses on giving grants, most notably to cancer research and education. Kravis’s husband, Jonathan Schulhof, is a managing partner at REQX Ventures and the founder of Motivate, which owns and operates

bike sharing systems across North America.


The modern-day power couple holds down a number of roles. Lucy, the former fashion director of Marie Claire and Rent the Runway, is the creator of an international children’s line and an author. Her novel, The Knockoff, released in 2015, is a fictional account of an editor in chief at a fashion magazine. Euan, equally accomplished, is the cofounder and senior managing director of investment firm BDA Partners. Most recently, the M&A Advisor named him Dealmaker of the Year in 2016.


A former ballerina at the School of American Ballet and a Ford and Wilhelmina model, Rosenblum is a horse lover at heart. She is the founder of Lady Sheila Stable, where she owns and manages racehorses. She has the drive to increase the number of women involved in the sport. Rosenblum is perhaps best known for her horse La Verdad, who went on to gain fame after winning a number of races in 2014. In addition to all of her pursuits, Rosenblum remains a philanthropist and serves on the board of the March of Dimes.


Rosenshein is a philanthropist at heart, quite literally. She has played a prominent role in supporting efforts preventing heart disease, after her husband, Arnie, battled with the disease. Rosenshein most recently attended the 20th anniversary of the Hamptons Heart Ball. Active in a variety of New York City social events, Rosenshein has also served as a chair for the Open Your Heart organization.


Some know Rutherford from her acting roles in the 1990s drama Homefront and the current ABC thriller Quantico. Younger generations might even recognize her for her fictional role as an Upper East Side socialite on the show Gossip Girl. But to those in Manhattan, Rutherford is known for her entrepreneurship and philanthropy, in addition to her acting career. Originally from Kentucky, Rutherford moved to New York to start her career on the sets of soap operas. In 2011, Rutherford launched a handbag line for QVC. She is also a supporter of a number of charities that champion the causes of women and children, recently making an appearance at the New Yorkers for Children 20th Anniversary Gala.


A philanthropist and influencer, Shafiroff recently published Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give. If anyone is fit to write on the topic, it is Shafiroff. She was honored at the Hamptons Heart Ball, hosted annualy by the American Heart Association, this past summer. Shafiroff is also a board member for several charitable organizations, including the New York Women’s Foundation and Southampton Animal Shelter.


If one were to ask Seidenfeld what she does, she would likely respond saying that she is currently an actress by trade, although she holds other titles as well. The former international model is a Columbia University graduate, equestrian and active philanthropist and humanitarian. She is a board member for several organizations, including the Women’s Project and the Alliance 4 Empowerment. When not serving as an ambassador or chair, Seidenfeld can be found supporting numerous causes at galas and events around the city.


Stern does tea. She is the founder of an organic tea company, Tracy Stern Tea & Co. Originally from Miami, Stern has established herself in New York in interior design in addition to the

tea business. Also a well-known philanthropist, she was the mind behind Cuffs for a Cause. Stern is very involved with the American Heart Association, as the organization has helped her father cope with his heart failure. “The American Heart Association is such a great resource,” she reflects. This past summer, she cochaired the American Heart Association’s Hamptons Heart Ball.


Prince Dimitri holds many titles, including founder, president and creative director of his eponymous jewelry company, Prince Dimitri Company. The son of Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, and his father, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, Prince Dimitri was raised in Paris and moved to New York after law school. He has a long career in fine jewelry, working for almost two decades with auction jewelry at Sotheby’s. His own jewelry design firm began after an idea he had for innovative cufflinks. He has also made a name for himself in philanthropy as

a member of numerous boards.


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