Derek Blasberg insists that he has nothing to do with SocialiteRank.com. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that Mr. Blasberg—he’s a sort of fashion-writer/socialite-walker hybrid who has oft been accused of being behind the dishy, girl-ranking Web site—went to India. To prove, once and for all, that he’s not behind the site.
“Going to India for a month without phone or Internet access was even more appealing as I could finally escape any association with that site,” he wrote in an e-mail on Nov. 28. Mr. Blasberg said that he was now in London, where he’d stopped off for a few days after traveling in India with his friend, the model Jacquetta Wheeler.
The plan didn’t go quite as smoothly as he might have liked. Days before his trip, he sent out a mass e-mail informing his many friends that he would be out of e-mail and phone contact. One recipient, Lauren Davis, mass-replied, according to socialiterank.com, inquiring “how Socialite Rank would be updated now that he is gone in Taj Mahal land.” The site went on to speculate that the slight would set off a feud of epic proportions.
Indeed, in today’s socialite milieu, there are few worse things than to be fingered as the author of the anonymous Web site.
“It’s become something that is pitting friends against friends,” said a certain “It” boy who asked to remain anonymous. “You see someone you know and you like, and you have to wonder: ‘Wait, can I talk to that person? Is he involved in the site?’ It’s made going out much less fun.”
Bring on the suspects!
“I am a full-time publicist, not a part-time blogger. I don’t even have a computer at home,” said Bonnie Morrison of KBK, who has also been named as a suspect. “My friends and I are always hazarding guesses about who’s behind it. One time a friend had a laptop sticking out of her bag at a dinner party, and we all started make jokes that she was doing socialiterank.com.”
So who is behind the site? The Web site only conducts interviews by e-mail “due to our strict confidentiality,” someone wrote from its e-mail address, and its proprietor signs its e-mails “SR Team.”
“It really has become the best parlor game of the season,” said Ms. Morrison. “I’ve heard people say Peter”—that’s Peter Davis—“but I’ve also heard people say Hud Morgan. And he always accuses me of doing so, so I’m going to give it right back to him and go with Hud.”
Men’s Vogue writer Hudson Morgan would not comment for this article.
“All I know is that I don’t do it,” said Peter Davis, a fashion features director at Fashion Week Daily. “I heard that it’s hosted in Germany and registered in Pennsylvania, so whoever’s behind it has obviously gone to lengths to cover their tracks.”
“People think that it’s me because Tinsely [Mortimer] is rated No. 1 and she’s my sister-in-law,” he said.
“Derek Blasberg is the kind of talented Mr. Ripley who would write this,” said one boy about town.
“I don’t even know how to blog,” said Douglas Friedman, photographer and regular partygoer. “It’s a ridiculous site to begin with; I have nothing to do with it.”
Faran Krentcil, a Fashion Week Daily chick, is another suspect. Some believe she writes another anonymous socialite blog. “You can polygraph me and make swear to every deity in the world,” said Ms. Krentcil. “I think if you read everything, you’ll see it’s not my style.
“Plus,” she said, “I would have ranked Julia Roitfeld a lot higher. She would have been my No. 1. I think she’s fabulous.”
“It’s a great, great guessing game,” said full-time hostess-helper Andrew Saffir. “They very nicely profiled me. They just e-mailed me from a nebulous e-mail.”
“What I think is kind of cool is that they’ve kept it anonymous,” said Olivia Palermo, 24, who, when she is not wearing expensive dresses, is studying history at the New School. “You’ve got to give them props for that.” Ms. Palermo is currently lurking at No. 25 on the list.
Mr. Davis recently attempted to clear his name by offering an expensive group meal to the individual who outs the Socialiterankers.
“Dinner for 12 at Waverly Inn to whoever outs SR. XXOO. Let the game begin,” he wrote in an e-mail subject line. The text in the body of the e-mail was a recent Radar Online article titled “Poorly Ranked Socialite Hires P.I.”
But was she really so poorly ranked? Multiple sources have said to The Transom that Lauren Davis had indeed hired a shamus, a bloodhound, a flatfoot to investigate the site. “It’s pretty much common knowledge that she’s the one who hired the private investigator,” said one source.
“I have absolutely no comment about it,” said Ms. Davis, when asked whether she’d hired the P.I. “I feel bad for you and your editors and your readers. There are much more important things in the world.”
Ms. Davis did, however, reveal an up-to-date knowledge of the postings on socialiterank.com. She did not wish to comment on the site further.
Ms. Davis is currently ranked at No. 12, down from her earlier ranking of 7.
“It’s almost good that I offered this dinner, ’cause people are really turning up the heat,” Mr. Davis said. “I just thought it was funny to raise the stakes.”
Controversy centers on the talkback section, in which readers are allowed to post their comments. For instance, the Oct. 20 “Blasberg and Davis Exchange Nastiness, Start a Huge Feud” post received 124 comments.
“I can’t fault him for disliking Lauren, though … who doesn’t?” wrote in someone calling herself (or himself) Caroline Bingley.
The nastiness of the comments has weight for these gal-abouts, because many of the people reading and possibly commenting are members of their social circle.
“I think it was kitschy and sort of fun in the beginning, but the person or persons that started it have allowed the site—particularly the comments boards—evolve into something hurtful and, for a forum that reports and prides itself on being connected to the upper echelons of American society, completely classless,” said Mr. Blasberg.
“Everyone reads it, of course,” said Fabiola Beracasa. She is currently ranked at No. 2 on the site.
“Paris Hilton brought to light the existence of the socialite to Middle America and the world. Before, it was either models or actresses—but socialites were, most times, born into this lifestyle. That’s what fascinates people. It’s a continuous lifestyle that people are fascinated by. But it’s not all the media’s fault,” she said. “You know, it’s us posing for the cameras and going out and exploiting the spotlight for our careers.”
It was a rough holiday for Fabiola Beracasa. New York’s No. 2–ranked socialite recently lost her right-hand man, a longhaired Chihuahua named Alfonso, when he was struck by a car at 64th and Lex.
The accident happened on Nov. 14. Alfie was two years old. The family butler had been transporting him to the vet. He had Alfie cradled in his arms as they approached the doggie hospital’s entrance.
“I guess when Alfie saw that they were going to the hospital, he squirmed and tried to make a run for it,” said Ms. Beracasa, who is the creative director for Circa, an antique-jewelry firm. “What happened was he ran into the wheel of a passing car and broke his little neck.”
Ms. Beracasa has spent the last week recuperating at the family house in Palm Beach. She had been planning to go to Japan, but she was too distraught and canceled the trip. “For a while, I couldn’t get out of bed. There’s such an incredible bond you make with a dog.”
“He was the sweetest dog,” said Ms. Beracasa. “I would be just holding him and I would tell my boyfriend, I would be like, ‘Jason, I want to change his name to Neo because he’s like the One. He was like a person, not a dog.”
Ms. Beracasa holds no ill will toward the butler, who has been with the family for over 15 years. “It could have happened to anyone,” she said.
By random coincidence, her boyfriend, Jason Beckman, had only recently bought a longhaired Chihuahua for himself. “He’s been trying to give her to me. He sees me crying and he’s like, ‘I don’t want you to be sad.’ We might name her Anouk. There’s a model named Anouk, but it’s not after her. I just like the name.”
The Trump family deviated from tradition this year and spent Thanksgiving dinner at the Mar-a-Lago clubhouse. It wasn’t the same as Grandma Trump’s famously enormous home-cooked turkeys—“Sometimes they wouldn’t fit in the oven, they were so big,” said Eric Trump—but the vast buffet at the Palm Beach club had its advantages.
“We always joke that our family are all big saucers,” Mr. Trump explained. Eric, 22, is the youngest of Donald and Ivana’s brood, the little brother of Donnie Jr. and Ivanka. “We love drowning our food in gravy, so we were grateful that it was buffet style—otherwise we’d constantly have to be ordering more gravy, which would be kind of embarrassing.”
“We’ve got a phenomenal chef down there,” he said. This was by phone, on Nov. 28. The Transom is pretty sure that his mouth had begun watering and that he licked his lips at least once while talking turkey. “It was delicious. There were yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, delicious peas and carrots, cakes—and they’ve got one of the best pastry chefs in the world at Mar-a-Lago. It was just an amazing, amazing meal.”
There was no mention of wine. The Trumps don’t drink.
Rounding out the Trump table in the main dining room that night was 8-month-old Barron, in a “standard baby outfit,” and Donald Sr. and Melania. All were in formal dress. Ivanka was off traveling in Chile. Donnie Jr. and his pregnant wife, Vanessa, were celebrating their one-year anniversary in Mexico.
They were there in spirit. “There was a lot of talk about the baby. You know it’s certainly going to transform the family. You know he or she is going to be the first in a whole new generation of Trump. We’re all very excited.”
But on that night, it was just two half-brothers of the same generation, the original baby brother and the new baby brother, all going head to head against the gravy boat.
“He’s a typical Trump: He was slamming down those mashed potatoes,” said Eric of his new little brother. He was about to walk into a meeting on a building or a new project or some such. “We’re all big eaters in our family. I can tell that Barron’s going to keep up that tradition. My mom used to joke that it was more expensive to feed me than to pay for my education.”
Oh, you know you’re curious!
Eric graduated from Georgetown last May. He took a couple months off to travel and, just a couple months ago, quietly started working for dad. It’s what he’s always wanted to do. He feels it in his veins.
“I always say it’s the Trump gene. As far back as I can remember, I loved Legos, and I’d always erect the most elaborate Lego cities,” said the bright-eyed, baby-faced new executive when The Transom ran into him at one of his first public events earlier this month. Like Donnie, he has an ample head of hair, but his is blond and he spikes it up. “It’s just something that’s in our blood.”
He said he’s currently working on projects in Chicago, Dubai, Las Vegas and Mexico. “I’m constantly traveling, and I really enjoy it.”
And he’s thrilled to be working side by side with his big brother—particularly now that he has the advantage when it comes to horseplay. “Donnie, being six years older, beat me up all time and, you know, I loved it and we’re still best friends to this day.” Today, li’l bro has at least three inches and 20 pounds on Donnie Jr. “It’s a lot of fun now that I’m bigger than him. We still push each other around a little bit. It’s great, it’s healthy, especially when we work together 24/7.”
All the young Trumps have their defining interests and characteristics: Donnie enjoys the outdoors and rock-climbing, Ivanka likes clothes and stuff, and Eric has his tool collection.
“I was always fascinated with tools. I still love tools. I always tell people: ‘For Christmas, I want gift cards for Home Depot,’” he said.
It wasn’t easy for the young lad to choose a favorite amongst his vast collection. He said it would definitely have to be a woodworking tool. He hemmed and hawed for a nearly a minute. “I really like my chisels,” he said.
The Transom Also Hears ….
On Monday night, outside Lovely Day on the Lower East Side, Mary-Kate Olsen and her scruffy arm candy, Max Snow, were having a private party in her enormous blacked-out S.U.V. A witness reports that the couple were acting about as sloppy as one of those awesome bag-lady dresses the diminutive twin favors.
“They were yelling stuff and laughing,” said the observer, who also noted that Ms. Olsen was wearing a fur coat, a fedora and some Balenciaga boots. “Then four of her girlfriends came out of Lovely Day, and they all got in the S.U.V. Before leaving, they threw a bunch of crap out the window—some cups and bags, but also a whole roasted duck. Like the kind you see in Chinatown. It was totally gross, but also kind of funny, because of course what else is Mary-Kate going to do with a roasted duck?”
Out west on Saturday night, the Spur posse was once again regulating on La Cienega. The über-bachelor crew of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Connolly and Lucas Haas showed up at Hollywood’s AREA after 1 a.m. A guest reports: “Leo and his friends acted like they owned the place. They demanded a booth and had Lily Semel kicked out of hers so they could sit. Her dad runs Yahoo! Those guys need to check their egos. They’ve gone from being the cute young actors that are the life of the party to a few old guys trying to score with young babes. It’s kinda pathetic.”