It felt like a huge sorority reunion at the party before Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year Awards at Avery Fisher Hall on Monday, Nov. 5—but for the comfortingly pantsuited presence of Vanity Fair contributing writer Fran Lebowitz. Did she have an opinion about her colleague Christopher Hitchens’ infamous declaration that most women weren’t funny? “Dorothy Parker was funnier than almost any man alive,” said Ms. Lebowitz, who was there to introduce Toni Morrison, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. “So what does that tell you?”
And does Ms. Lebowitz read Glamour?
“To tell you the truth, I was never that young,” she responded.
The subsequent ceremony opened with pop singer Mariah Carey emerging to shrieks from the top two tiers of the balcony, which had been well-stocked with young things from various New York schools and girls’ clubs. Ms. Carey, looking remarkably svelte and almost demure in a sleek, simple black floor-length gown with a sash, sang her 1993 hit “Hero” accompanied by a children’s choir from Africa.
Comedy Central ersatz pundit Stephen Colbert introduced Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, first telling the crowd, “This season, I love high-waisted pants. I adore Oxford pumps—no, ankle booties!” He was rewarded with an uproarious cheer. Glamour editor Cindi Lieve introduced the young actress Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), who was deemed “Girl of the Year”; Good Morning America hostess Diane Sawyer presented an award to the designer Donna Karan, her good friend; and thespian Claire Danes, blond tresses falling over one side of her face, gave a heartfelt speech about former child soldiers from Uganda.
Then the writer Nora Ephron took the podium to introduce the chef Alice Waters, but not before amending Ms. Sawyer’s paean to Ms. Karan. “She has done more for the turtleneck than anyone,” said Ms. Ephron, the authority on middle-aged necks these days. She then told the story of how Ms. Waters had changed the way we think about food, even teaching children to grow their own and cook it in schools. “It is safe to say that Alice would never, ever slip a vegetable into a brownie,” she said, to much knowing laughter. Jessica Seinfeld, it seemed, would not be winning anything that evening.