In The Magazine


by Debbie Bancroft Photographed by Clint Spaulding/PMC
Monday, May 30, 2016

What’s new: burgeoning mad season, buds, brides, conservation, royals and TildaOceana’s annual New York gala takes on the big issues. Andy Sharpless, CEO of the organization, told us: “We pride ourselves on winning and effective policy changes that protect key habitats and species, allowing the oceans to flourish and fisheries to recover. Together we can save the oceans and feed the world.” They exceeded their goal of raising $1 million, and had a rousing auction that saw a cruise on Frank Gehry’s sailboat, Foggy (his design for Richard Cohen, who then gifted it back to him) sold two times. While the noisy primary raged outside, we applauded, as if in contrast, the honoree, soft-spoken, the accomplished Dr. Kristian Parker. As cochair Susan Rockefeller said, “You felt the love in the details, from the ocean photography, to the blue cotton candy, blue lagoon drinks, even the salmon—all consciously done, with purpose and joy. It’s often said it takes a village—we liken our community to a school of fishes.” Longtime supporter Jeff Goldblum and his jazz band, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, delivered silky smooth music to a crowd that included David Rockefeller, Dede McMahon, Violaine (cochair) and John Bernbach, Lyor Cohen and Xin Lee, Amy Fine Collins and Jerry Speyer. We sat by the bubbling, beloved pool of the soon soon-to to-be be-relocated (at a much buzzed about spot very close by) Four Seasons.

There are few actors whose work almost never misses, and so, when we were invited to Cinema Society’s premiere of A Bigger Splash with Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, we ran (or should I say swam) over to MoMA. Director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) gave us a sexy, lush, luxurious film with brilliant performances. Later, at Sant Ambroeus, I commented to Ralph Fiennes how much he seemed to be enjoying his exuberant, often naked character. “You have no idea,” he purred, and kissed my hand, then pulled my quivering paw to his chest four times over. Tilda rocked an off-white pleated trench by Maison Margiela (from the Artisanal Collection designed by John Galliano) then at the after party, changed into a purple bomber jacket from the brand—a color several of us sported—in honor of Prince. She is as warm a person as she is cool, and told me how, in between movies, she created a Waldorf School in Scotland for her twins. Otherworldly perfection.

The Versailles Foundation’s New York fundraiser has become a three-day event, featuring royals who, as president Barbara de Portago says, she “imports” as honorees. Often they are friends of hers who harken back to her days living with her late parents, the Van der Kemps, in the west wing, as they restored the Chateau de Versailles. She has continued their legacy, and has added many a project, French in origin, whether in France or here. Invited this year, were the charming Duke and Duchess of Braganza, the royal house of Portugal. Their whirlwind included lunch at director Gillian Spreckels Fuller, the “100” Gala Dinner at the Lotus Club, where cadets from the Valley Forge Military Academy escorted single ladies to their tables (“in lieu of a bevy of hairdressers,” noted Barbara). The last night, and my favorite, was intimate—just 26 of us, so I could chat with the duke and learned, among other things, that the Portuguese brought tea, marmalade and the fork to the Brits. Elbrun and Peter Kimmelman not only hosted dinner in their grand, candlelit hall under a Medici bust, they made the soup and hen as well!


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