Christmas at Ciprianis

image001 1 Christmas at CiprianisIn New York City certain restaurants cater to a sophisticated European crowd, where droves of cashmere turtleneck-wearing men and beautiful women in tight black trousers seem to be transported for the night (you never see their kind on the subway). The Cipriani restaurants are the mothership and eating there means that you will dine in splendor, surrounded by gorgeous décor and food. So, when The Observer was invited to a Christmas dinner at Cipriani downtown in celebration of Miral, a novel by Rula Jebreal that is the basis for Julian Schnabel’s latest film, we jumped at the opportunity (Mr. Schnabel also moonlights as Ms. Jebreal’s boyfriend). Matilde Carli, the Cipriani PR said, “I tried to organize a small private dinner and I hope it was cozy. Rula is a very good friend.”  
 
Mr. Schnabel was seated by Ms. Jebreal, stretched out on a gray banquet in a fetching pair of purple jeans. Throughout the night various people came up to the artist and practically bowed to him, Godfather-style. He seemed relaxed and easy and grabbed our bag for a quick inspection. “Can I look inside?” he asked. Ms. Jebreal, wearing a short lace dress that showed off her excellent legs, talked about her new projects. “Miral is actually my first novel, I’m now at work on my fourth book which will be about the relationship between the media and power.”
 
Santo Versace’s son Antonio made an appearance and was warmly greeted by the handsome Ignacio Cipriani, son of the restaurant’s owner. Artist Arturo de Modica, whose sculpture Charging Bull briefly adorned the New York stock exchange, was there. As was powerhouse producer, Anadil Hossain, who co-produced Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited. Stavros Niarchos, son of shipping magnate, Spiros, arrived fashionably late but settled right in. A bevy of beauties surrounded the young heir, who has clearly moved on from his days of dating Paris Hilton. Bellinis were downed with alacrity and the crowd feasted on fresh mozzarella, a variety of antipasti and delicious pasta, topped off with an array of melt-in-your-mouth deserts.
 
At 11:30 Ms. Jebreal jumped up saying she had to race home to watch herself on the Jimmy Fallon show. She and Mr. Schnabel bid their good-byes to the crowd before heading out into the cold, cold night.