On The Avenue

Proust, Plaza and Playful Masks at the FHS Ball

by Wendy Sy Photographed by Ann Van Ness, Elizabeth Stribling== FHS Proust Ball 2016== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 16, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== photo - Patrick McMullan/PMC== == Ann Van Ness; Elizabeth Stribling
Monday, November 21, 2016
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Forget the average black tie attire—the French Heritage Society hosted their Proust Ball last Wednesday night with a dress code encouraging guests to arrive in a festive mask and a Belle Époque style outfit. Held in honor of French writer Marcel Proust (who inspired AVENUE’s “World According To…” column), the event anticipated the non-profit organization’s 35th anniversary next year, which will be celebrated with a Gala at the historic Château de Compiègne in France.

Philanthropists and Francophiles smiled for snapshots in the photo booth during the cocktail reception before making their way into the Grand Ballroom to dance to the upbeat tunes of Alex Donner and His Orchestra. Before dinner was served, Nicholas D. Lowry took the stage to lead the live auction. “This is your chance to contribute to maintain the French Heritage Society,” said Lowry, who wore a can’t-miss silver money sign chain around his neck. “But most importantly, this is your chance to show your friends just how rich and generous you are.” Laughter filled the room as paddles were raised to bid offerings such as a luxury travel package for two in Paris and Chambord and a 5-course dinner by Chef Daniel Boulud with exclusive wine pairings.

In addition, an online auction will continue through November 30 via Charitybuzz.com. Proceeds support the FHS’s mission to ensure that the French architecture and cultural heritage in France and the U.S. live on and to educate as well as inspire future generations to preserve and build upon these historic treasures though its educational programs.

The Proust Ball was held under the patronage of His Excellency Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States; His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and Mrs. Sophie L’Hélias-Delattre; Ms. Anne-Claire Legendre, Consul General of France in New York; Mrs. Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States; and in the presence of FHS Chairman Elizabeth Stribling and FHS President Comte Denis de Kergorlay. Gala Chairmen were CeCe Black, Jean Doyen de Montaillou, Kazie Metzger Harvey, Kamie Lightburn, Ursula Lowerre, Deborah Royce, Jean Shafiroff, and Ann Van Ness, and New York Chapter Chairmen Odile de Schiétère-Longchampt and Guy Robinson. Attendees went home with goodie bags filled with hard copies of The Proust Questionnaire book.

Photos by Annie Watt, Patrick McMullan and Cutty McGill.


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