on 10 July 2010

Away We Go

St. Petersburg, the Venice of the north, is one of the cultural capitals of the world. Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin helped the city celebrate its 307th birthday. The most glamorous event was the Illusion Ball, held in President Yeltsin’s Library.

The magical night featured 30 pairs of white-tied ballroom dancers who waltzed with guests in the historic building’s Grand Hall. The party was the highlight of the Musical Olympus Festival which was founded by noted concert pianist Irina Nikitina to showcase prize-winning young musicians. The festival celebrated its 15th year by gathering 27 artists from 14 countries with the help of Vontobel, the Swiss investment bank, and BMW. The dazzling pianist, Ilya Maximov, who won the Audience Prize, will perform under the Olympus Festival’s baton in London, Berlin, Zurich and at Carnegie Hall in 2011 (www.musicalolympus.ru). The smart set, including Prince Charles, Presidents Clinton and Jacques Chirac, Placido Domingo and Kim Cattrall all stay at the city’s best address, the Grand Hotel Europe built in 1875 (www.grandhoteleurope.com).

Drew Barrymore, Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek are all fans of the Turkish jeweler, Gilan (www.gilan.com). This summer, its Fifth Avenue store is trumpeting their Heritage collection, which revives the use of historical rose-cut diamonds. Samir Tahan, who worked for Gianfranco Ferre in Paris, is the jeweler’s new U.S. Ambassador. Hunt Slonem unveiled his portrait of Josephine Baker at Chez Josephine, the restaurant owned by the legendary singer’s son, Jean-Claude Baker. Dr. Paul Cotterill (www.drcotterill.com) attended the publication part of The Bearded Gentleman, in which he’s quoted as the world’s foremost hair transplant surgeon. Artists Terri Lindvall and Michelle Marie Heinemann chaired a benefit exhibition of their work for the Yorkville Common Pantry at the National Arts Club. Ashley and Sharon Bush were among the players who had the courts at the Southampton Racquet Club (www.Southampton-racquetclub.com) looking more like a Voguespread than a tennis match. The private club’s director, Diego Vallone, has played with everyone from Oscar de la Renta to Tom Brokaw.
Richard Mishaan christened the model apartment he created for Greystone Property Development’s 180 East 93rd Street (www.180e93.com) with a party for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Developer Doug Benach asked the designer to make the pages of his book, Modern Luxury, come alive. Mark Rose (www.markroseevents.com), who is our town’s «Master of Event Decor», created breathtaking arrangements of White Delphiniums flown in from France for the occasion and Mock Orange Blossoms, only in season for three days. Taking the tour were Cornelia Guest (who served her signature chocolate chip cookies), Jamee and Peter Gregory, Marcia Mishaan, Christopher Spitzmiller, Ashley and Andrea Stark, Jonathan Farkas, Nicole Miller, Janna Bullock, Pamela Fiori and Albert Hadley, who admired the chic lucite nesting tables by Monique Breaux of Posh Exclusive Interiors (www.buyposhrooms.com). Richard Steinberg, the exclusive broker for the seven apartments, spoke about the care that was taken to make the building LEED-certified.

Date: July 2010