A busy week on the New York party circuit kicked off Monday night with every dance enthusiast’s favorite fete, the School of American Ballet’s Winter Ball. For nearly a decade, the primary underwriter has been Van Cleef and Arpels. Rumor has it that SAB founder and dance legend George Balanchine was chums with Van Cleef co-founder Claude Arpels. Despite the evening’s heritage feeling however (it does take a certain demographic to raise $1.2 million at a single party, after all) the SAB’s younger patrons brought a breath of fresh air to the Koch theater, SAB Young Patrons chairmen Noreen Ahmad and Amanda Brotman Schetritt among them.
“The necklace I want is covered in emeralds,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Lara Devgan, pointing to some models dripping in Van Cleef. “It’s only three million dollars…too much?”
The evening began with a performance from two-dozen or so of the SAB students. When finished with their Peter Martins-choreographed routine, they took a bow and invited the audience to join them on the dance floor for spirited twirl to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Talk about a dance party.
Wednesday night was another anchor of the spring party calendar, the Art Production Fund’s annual gala, this year held at the Diamond Horseshoe nightclub underneath the Paramount Hotel. “It’s a beautiful space, as soon as we did the site visit, we just knew,” said APF co-founder Doreen Remen. “And not many people have been here.”
Little did she know, the Diamond Horseshoe has served several strange and unique purposes over the years. Of course, it was the venue for the Queen of the Night performance art show that ended last month, but more interestingly, over the last two years or so it has also hosted the raunchy “Pretty Ugly” gay party on Saturday nights, and also, believe it not, Andy Warhol’s wake in 1987. The problem with Diamond Horseshoe, however, is that between the arched ceilings, lurid lighting, and history, it demands a deeply chic audience to not feel like a hokey film set. Luckily, this year’s APF crowd rose to the occasion: Laure Hériard-Dubreuil, Arden Wohl, Mia Moretti, Cleo Wade, Chloë Sevigny and Petra Collins were all in attendance. Collins, for one, looked splendid in a black lace Gucci dress with a beaded coral snake slithering up the back. “I know so many cool girls who are starting to be interested in fashion again, and it’s because of Gucci,” she told me.
And no matter where you were or what you were doing this week, all roads converged Thursday night at the much-awaited opening party of Barneys Chelsea. Simon Doonan, Mark Lee, Dennis Freedman, Tomoko Ogura, Susanne Bartsch, Gabriela Hearst, Kelly Bensimon, model Garrett Neff, Narciso Rodriguez, Joseph Altuzarra, Derek Lam, Mickey Boardman, filmmaker Julia Loomis, Hellessy designer Sylvie Millstein…you get the idea.
“I was so worried nobody would come because the actual store opened a few weeks ago,” confided a rep. Must have just been some PR jitters, because based on how packed the store was with fashion’s heaviest hitters, Barneys could open up on the moon and people would still be excited about it.