By Jennifer Wright
2008 was quite a year. You may note that I am refraining from applying too many glowing adjectives to describe it. That is in case you worked for Lehman Brothers, or Citibank, or Bear Stearns. Or on the off chance that you are a staunch Republican. Or, alternatively, that you are Bernie Madoff. Taking those situations into account it probably wouldn’t be fair to call 2008 a really great year.
However, like every year, it had its moments. And by “moments,” I mean bodacious parties. Here are eight of the great parties of 2008, or at least, some that I really loved:
8: The Screening of Hamlet 2 : It was August 19th, but people dragged themselves back early from their summer houses to be rocked by Sexy Jesus. It was worth it. Focus Films provided miniature champagne bottles with straws as well as a variety of different, absurdly delicious popcorns. The crowd was peppered with notables, including producer Eric Eisner, film star Phoebe Strole, and Focus Features president Andrew Karpen. But what about other screenings, you ask? What about Doubt? What about W? What about . . . yes, you could certainly inquire. But Hamlet 2 gets extra points for being a party that happened during the summer and, yet, did not require me to sit on the Jitney next to a screaming baby for approximately 10 million years. Unfortunately, it is the only party I went to this summer of which that can be said.
7: Escada Event at Saks: It would be great to go out, sometime, and see a movie star who was not even more beautiful in real life than on the screen. It did not happen at the Escada event on October 30th. Hilary Swank looked impossibly gorgeous – and was lovely as she commented on the fantastic “architecture” of her one shouldered dress. And Amy Sacco was there! Of course, Escada’s creative director Damiano Biella was there too – Duffy even dedicated one of her songs to him.
6: Times Square on November 4th (If you were the aforementioned staunch Republican, just skip this one): It may not qualify as a traditional party, but at least every New Yorker was able to attend. And besides, how can you really define a party? Is it defined by wild dancing? Because that was happening on Times Square after the election results were announced. Cartwheels? Check. Wild screams of joy? Strangers embracing strangers? Check to all merriment. If you needed celebrities, well, Barack Obama was beaming down from the overhead screen.
5: Cookie Magazine’s Kidfest Benefit to aid Free Arts NYC: I spend a lot of time wishing that I’d grown up in New York. Because if I’d been raised here, rather than being taught to paint by my second grade teacher, Donald Baechler would have been helping me out. At least, he would have if I was a child who attended the Kidfest Benefit on November 16th. Meanwhile, Patrick McMullan would be taking family photographs, while Brooke Shields, Kim Raver, Cynthia Rowley and Nigel Barker milled about. As it was, I felt like it was too late to try to learn how to paint with Donald Baechler. Fortunately, it was not too late to take advantage of their “decorate your own cookie” stand.
4: The Plaza Retail Collection Presents Maggie Norris Couture: When I was a kid, not living in New York, I spent a lot of time reading Eloise, about the little girl who lives at The Plaza. However, these days, I am savvy enough to know that Maggie Norris is giving Eloise a run for her money. After all, Eloise’s mother simply “knew Coco Chanel” while Maggie Norris’s gorgeous and simple yet impossibly elegant designs rival Chanel’s own creations. It was never more apparent than on November 13th, when models including Fatima Siad, Marcia Mitchell and Hayley Finklestein appeared in her creations. Onlookers included Devorah Rose, Alex McCord and Anthony Nicola, the general manager of The Plaza’s Retail Collection.
3: Kelly Klein and Andre Balazs Celebrate the Publication of HORSE: Rachel Zoe was there. She was there, and she was nice, and she took pictures with Melissa Meyers and me. That alone is enough to make Kelly Klein’s book party in Miami on December 3rd a memorable party. However, it becomes more memorable when you factor in the fact that Ivana Trump was there too. So was Julian Schnabel along with his son Vito and Calvin Klein. The book was beautiful, too.
2: RFK Bridge Naming Ceremony: You may have heard the name Kennedy mentioned in the news lately, and if you were at the RFK Bridge Naming Ceremony November 19th you’d certainly have had a chance to see the clan as well. Ted and Kiki Kennedy were in attendance as were a host of luminaries who graciously paid homage to Robert F. Kennedy. Some of those notables included Melissa Meyers, Sarah Jessica Parker and Alec Baldwin. Senator Clinton was also in attendance, as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Speaker Pelosi.
1: Young Lions Disco Ball: Edward Albee and Salman Rushdie aren’t generally the first thing you think of when you consider Disco, but they were in attendance for the Young Lions Disco Party at the New York Public Library on November 3rd. Bohemian It girl Arden Wohl was twirling wildly on the dance floor, alongside Stephanie LaCava and Ivanka Trump. Philanthropist Steven Schwarzman was also there, dancing exuberantly to Disturbia. And, like every party, it had its party animals, in this case, the giant NYPL lion’s mascot.
So, from a purely party based standpoint, it was kind of a great year after all. And if you weren’t out on the scene in 2008, I will be looking for you in 2009.