So every year I promise myself I’m never going back to this totally intimidating but really-for-a-good-cause luncheon of women with endless resources to spend on hats. And each year, like a drug addict drawn to a fix, I’m back gawking at the crowd of ladies who don’t know from the word recession, or the fact that the U.S. markets are dropping triple digits.
Do you know what it’s like to get dressed up in a vintage salmon pink Courreges dress and a 1984 black Lanvin hat with a multitude of roses (albeit kind of pooped ones) under the brim and feel really old hat? But God bless these ladies who have spent the last year employing souls to create designs that must cost into the thousands. So what if the money spent could plug a few holes in the City’s budget–more after school programs, fewer teacher lay-offs?
Nothing could possibly be worse than having photographers ignore you as they rush towards hats more expensive coming carefully down the 105th Street Conservatory Garden steps. Of course, the best way to have your picture taken is to arrive in groups of two or three looking like expensive dollies with hats like topiaries. Unlike the Easter parade where there’s a loving hands at home feel with bunny rabbits and glued on jelly beans, these were probably home made at Bergdorf or those bespoke milliners tucked into tiny shops off Madison.
The New York Times’ uber society photographer, Bill Cunningham, and David Patrick Columbia, editor of the New York Social Diary, didn’t even bother to look my way, which used to bother me. I’m not insulted because I’m prepared to be ignored. I’m lying, of course, because it does hurt to be elbowed aside when I thought I looked quite delicious. Also I’m on the social scene not as a participant but rather a chronicler, not climbing any social trellis. Nice rationalization, don’t you think?
What is great fun to watch is the parade up and down the stone entrance steps by those ladies who keep hoping to have their picture taken. At least I think that’s what they’re doing, unless it’s some kind of exercise routine, which I doubt. There are those who remember the year Ivana Trump did her step aerobics while we all stood at the bottom watching and rooting for her until photographers finally got the picture, or rather her picture.
Of course on the very day of this gala, which by the way raised $2,450,000.00 for the Central Park Conservancy and packed in over 1,250 of New York’s prettiest, the stock market lost over 200 points.
The only sign there was something amiss during the luncheon was the glum table of husbands sitting together. And now I know why they looked that way.