Who’s Had Work?
Alex Kuczynski had a book party on Thursday. Her book is about plastic surgery.
The Transom thought it would be funny to go up to random blondes and say, “Alex, it’s a pleasure to meet you, loved the book.” (Get it? Like she was unrecognizable from the knife?) But the first two both said, “What? I didn’t write the book.” Har har. Anyway, Ms. Kuczynski’s hair is now her “natural” brown.
And then there she was: Ms. Kuczynski’s cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Michelle Copeland.
“She did my eyes, my posterior and my Botox,” brayed Ms. Kuczynski, directing an affectionate almond-shaped gaze downward onto the diminutive doctor. The leggy author wore a red and black dress, black tights and heels that put her in line for tallest-person-in-the-room status.
“Everybody should have such a wonderful subject,” said Ms. Copeland. “Alex is a delight. It’s easy to make her look good.”
“You’re so cute,” responded her 38-year-old subject, her upper lip remaining remarkably stiff. Ms. Kuczynski, who writes the “Critical Shopper” column for The Times and is somehow the First Daughter of Peru, then turned a critical eye on The Transom.
“Have you had any work done?” she asked.
She suggested Preparation H for the eyes. “That’s what models use.”
On that note, Ms. Copeland, what was more challenging—fixing Ms. Kuczynski’s eyes, or her ass?
“Eyes are more difficult,” said the doctor, “because first of all there’s one on each side, so you have to make them symmetrical. And they’re so visible—they’re right there, up front and center, so you wanna make it look natural.”
Ms. Kuczynski later explained that while her eye issue made her look like the “cartoon character Bill the Cat”—one was prone to sagging half-shut—the issue with her posterior was less severe. Thbbbt!
“There were two teeny-tiny teaspoon-size wiggling portions in what, in the industry, is called the saddle-bag region,” she said. Despite a year of training for the New York Marathon, the “junk in the trunk” persisted. So she had Ms. Copeland liposuction it out. That was five years ago, and “the wiggly portion is generally still gone.”
Indeed, Ms. Kuczynski said, the twin themes of her book Beauty Junkies are: “It’s O.K. to be you, and watch out who does your ass.” And that “people really need to understand who is an actual plastic surgeon, and who is a dermatologist who just took a weekend seminar.”
“A few years ago,” she said, “I was on the brink of just doing every new thing, and I’m really glad I pulled back.”
She said that Senator Hillary Clinton’s Republican challenger, John Spencer, is an “intolerant asshole” for his recent charges that Mrs. Clinton was “ugly” before having “million of dollars” of plastic surgery.
Most of female guests at the party at the “21” Club were on board with her “scalpel in moderation” thesis.
“It’s not the Holy Grail. It’s more like fur—it should be done sparingly,” said Candace Bushnell.
“If I had the balls to get it done, I would—but I’m terrified of needles,” said Daily News editrix Orla Healy. “But Candace is so sweet. She’s given me the names of some good Botox people.”
P.R. princess Peggy Siegal had just arrived from the New York Antiques Show. “There’s nothing worse than bad plastic surgery, and there’s nothing better than great plastic surgery,” she offered.
Speaking from experience?
“I’ve never had any bad plastic surgery, so you can fill in the cracks or the lines or whatever,” she said, adding that the “work” around the room looked pretty good. Particularly compared to that at the Antiques Show.
“People who are confident tend to do better and have better luck than people who don’t feel good about themselves,” said Ms. Kuczynski’s mega-investor husband, Charles Stevenson. “So I think cosmetic surgery has a positive contribution to make.”
Does he ever worry about his wife’s willingness to go under the knife?
“There is a risk in every surgery,” he said. “But I try to be supportive, as every husband should.”
And what of the men in the room? Mr. Stevenson said he thought not.
Producer Brian Grazer was also against it. “I think it’s desexualizing for a man,” he said. Shortly thereafter, he asked The Transom where it had purchased its shoes.
“I thought about having my chin done,” said 60 Minutes anchor Steve Croft. “The only time I could do it would be during my summer vacation, so …. But there are probably some men on the show who have had work done.” He declined to name names.
Recently unemployed Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove is willing to try new things. “I was hoping to run into some plastic surgeons here tonight,” he said. “At this stage, I know could use some tightening around the jowls, and I’d like to get my breasts done.”
Ms. Kuczynski said she wishes Mr. Grove would give some serious consideration to at least one slice. “He’s a very handsome man, but Lloyd does have a mole on his cheek that I’ve been asking him to have removed for several years.”
Mr. Grazer’s wife, the novelist and screenplay writer Gigi Levangie Grazer, is over the whole scene. “My forte is writing about people on the West Coast who’ve had everything done and have little knots of skin in the back of their heads because of all the face-lifts.”
“I’ve had Botox, but not for a while,” she said, using a finger to indicate a few wrinkles in her T-zone. “And I’ve been very stressed out raising two boys. I think enough with the Botox, people should start doing antidepressants again. People should go back to downers.”
Ms. Kuczynski was actually surprised by how few face-lifts she’d seen that night. By around 9, as the party was starting to thin out, she was having trouble spotting anyone who’d even had a “touch-up.”
“Nope, nope, nope, nope, not her,” she said, scanning the room. “At this point in the party, anybody who had had plastic surgery has left. I think that probably is reflective of the fact that an older crowd might come earlier. Generally, older people have had some work done.”
Our Girls Are Growing Up
“I think the 20’s are for learning and figuring things out, and the 30’s are for applying what you’ve learned, no?” said Zani Gugelmann, the breathtaking socialite. She has a cleft chin that even Viggo Mortensen would envy.
So Ms. Gugelmann is 29, but already thinking like a 30-year-old. She was among several hostesses of an Avenue magazine party last week in honor of the 80th anniversary of Coco Chanel’s iconic “Little Black Dress.”
This is how she lives like an adult: “I always get up at 8:30,” said the willowy brunette. She toils as a jewelry designer. “I eat some breakfast and call a couple people who I know will put a smile on my face. Then I get started with the day, returning e-mails and going to appointments.”
Does that leave time for boys?
“I was engaged when I was 23,” said Ms. Gugelmann. She was in a black Chanel slip dress. “I was too young. And so, after that didn’t work out, from like 23 to 26, I put my little blinders up and said, ‘I am not going to let myself fall for anyone.’ Because I just wanted to enjoy myself.” But hold the phone! Now she’s nearing the big 3-0, and the blinders are off. “In the last four years, I’ve been able to take a step back and figure out what I want. It’s all about character and integrity. Even just little things, like how you treat a cab driver. The little things are a huge reflection of one’s character.”
Fabiola Beracasa, another gal-about on hand at Chanel’s 57th Street store, is off the market. “Yes, I’m taken,” she said. Ms. Beracasa had opted for one of her mom’s couture blouses and paired it with black leggings. “Nothing’s a done deal until you sign the marriage certificate, but it’s pretty serious.”
58th Street Re-Gayed
“If you live on the East Side, you don’t have to go to Chelsea anymore,” said Tom Shanahan, surveying his recently renovated Upper East Side gay bar. It is called O.W., and this was at the grand reopening party Friday. “We’re going to have all the activities they have here!”
“You know ‘Catch a Rising Star’? We’re going to have ‘Catch a Rising Queer’!” said the 35-year-old gay civil-rights attorney. Earlier this summer, Mr. Shanahan and several investors bought the bar on East 58th Street. He said the club would also offer gallery shows in the lounge area, a lecture series, a “go-go boy” night and the occasional private nudist party.
“We put in a new stage up front with theatrical lighting,” said Gordon Ahlstrom, one of Mr. Shanahan’s partners. He will run the day-to-day mechanics of the bar. “So I can do performance pieces, I can do poets, I can do comics, I can do fashion designers. It’s limitless!”
The renovation of O.W., which stands for “Oscar Wilde,” is the first step in Mr. Shanahan and Mr. Ahlstrom’s plan to return East 58th Street to its gay heyday.
“There used to be four gay bars on this street, so it was sort of like—you know Chinatown? Well, this was like the gay street on the Upper East Side. So we’re trying to bring that back,” said Mr. Shanahan. They are also looking to buy one of the restaurants on the block. At present, there is one other gay establishment on the block, the Townhouse Bar. That bar, historically, caters to the trade, if you will.
“Chelsea has its own scene going on, and it’s a very unique scene and there’s nothing wrong with it,” Mr. Shanahan said. He wore a mocha-colored leather jacket and jeans. “But that’s just not my world. Here, it’s mostly professionals.”
Aside from being active in gay land—Amanda Lepore is one of his clients—Mr. Shanahan has also been “a capo” in the McManus Midtown Democratic Association for over a decade. He provides free legal advice at the political club every Thursday night.
“What I want to do is tie in the political stuff and the advocacy stuff to this club,” he said. They’ve already held several fund-raisers. “And you know, Jim McManus is like my godfather, so I guess I’m following in some big shoes,” he said. Mr. McManus is the head of the political association, which has been running politics in Hell’s Kitchen for more than a century.
Mr. Shanahan admits he’s taking a slightly more “progressive” route than his mentor, but says Mr. McManus has been involved in backing a number of businesses, including the original Siberia bar—which, while it didn’t have official nudist parties, was known to get pretty wild.
By no small coincidence, Siberia bar owner Tracy Westmoreland is a friend and client of Mr. Shanahan and stopped by to raise a glass. He was impressed with the new digs. “This place used to be a shithole,” he said.
“The décor’s beautiful,” said Mr. Shanahan’s boyfriend, Jude Scott. “It’s an actual lounge now. It’s got like striped upholstery and stuff, and the artwork is very busy and abstract. And all the upholstery design is very geometric in shape.”
The Transom Also Hears ….
Our resident canary on the barstool at the Los Angeles hotspot Hyde reports that the nightclub’s celebrity patrons weren’t keeping up their end of the fabulous bargain last Tuesday night. First it was Scrubs star Zach Braff sitting at the bar, drooling all over a waitress.
“He was wasted and it wasn’t even midnight,” said the witness. “He kept asking the waitress what time she was getting off work. And the waitress was trying to get him to calm down and to drink water.”
Then around 1:30 a.m., Nicky Hilton—fresh off her breakup with Entourage star Kevin Connolly—arrived at the Sunset Boulevard club with a support group consisting of her sister Paris and Kim Kardashian. “They were trying to cheer her up and have fun, you know, like a girls’ night out. But Nicky looked like she was forcing it,” said the source, who is friendly with Ms. Hilton.
“You can tell she’s still really down about Kevin. You know, she thought she was going to marry him! They were looking at rings and everything. And then he goes and cheats on her like that. I heard that she’s been crying, like, a lot. You have to feel for her.”