“Pretty much every gay man in fashion is here,” a guest remarked at the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America’s “Cocktails at Sunset” benefit on Saturday evening.
And so it seemed. The air was heavily perfumed, and well-fitting white jeans abounded in the backyard of Ross Bleckner’s Sagaponack residence. Despite some wild weather earlier in the week—a smothering heat wave followed by a severe summer storm—the sky had cleared and the beach breeze was cool.
Photographer Stewart Shining expressed his relief at this, telling The Observer that, as the vice president of ACRIA, he’d been running around all day getting things ready and having nightmares about the rain. And with good reason—Kelly Klein told us that she’d attended the annual kickoff at the Bridgehampton Polo Club earlier that day, only for it to be canceled because of Friday’s harsh weather. “But everybody still showed up, so it was a bunch of people with nowhere to go,” she explained, a little exasperated.
But the grass was dry as Jeffrey Bilhuber, Tomas Maier and David Kleinberg milled around the tented lawn, sipping champagne and taking in the silent auction featuring Robert Mapplethorpe’s Fang (1987) and a Robert Longo portrait of Cindy Sherman, which sold for $9,000 and $11,000, respectively.
Mr. Shining assured us he was starting to relax, but his party-organizing duties were not yet over. “People keep texting last-minute, you know, ‘Where’s the party?’” he laughed.
Not long after Mr. Shining’s arrival, Mr. Bleckner strode out his back door and down the lawn, accompanied by his dogs. “My evening’s just beginning,” he told us. “I will say that my dogs seem to be having a good time, though,” he said, gesturing to his three dachshunds.
Stefano Tonchi, the editor of W, was lamenting the summer crowds (“even in my spinning class,” he moaned), when something behind us caught his eye. “Oh my god, you are bright!” he exclaimed. “Wow … wow!”
A neon-clad Peggy Siegal had just appeared on Mr. Bleckner’s doorstep, where she posed proudly for photographers. “I’m wearing Nanette Lepore,” she informed a throng of admirers, gesturing to her vibrant papaya-colored skirt and revealing a leg through an Angelina Jolie-inspired slit.
“Did you know that neon doesn’t photograph?” Mr. Shining asked his companions. “I keep doing covers for Seventeen magazine—they love neon—and I shoot it, and then it comes up on the monitor and I go, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll make it painted,’” he laughed bemusedly.
Jill Stuart arrived with her daughter, Chloe Curtis. Patrick McMullan rushed up to her. “You’re here with your babies!” he exclaimed. “I’ll make you look beautiful.”
Ms. Stewart told us that her daughter, who recently graduated from Cornell, would be moving to London in a few weeks to study at Sotheby’s in the fall and, in the meantime, catch the Olympics. “Chloe and Sophie,” Ms. Stewart said, referring to the youngest of her three daughters. “They’re going to go to the finals of gymnastics,” she added, which she told us was one of her own favorite sports to watch.
We ran into Julie Macklowe, who eagerly gave us a sample of vbeauté—her recently launched specialty skin care line—anti-wrinkle serum. “It’s the best thing you could ever use,” Ms. Maclowe’s companion, Oliva Oluck, informed us enthusiastically. “You will be impressed.”
Yet Ms. Macklowe revealed that vbeauté might not be the entire secret to her own youthful complexion. “This morning I ran eight miles barefoot!” she reported excitedly, referring to her jogging footwear of choice as “condom shoes.”
“I feel like I have some aches and pains going on,” Ms. Macklowe admitted.
“Last night we went to Papa John’s Café for dinner, and I introduced my daughter, much to the chagrin of my husband, to deep-fried mozzarella sticks!” she elaborated. “Of course, I proceeded to eat half of them. Needless to say, that’s how the eight miles came about.”
Ms. Macklowe was not the only one taking advantage of the weekend to catch up on exercise. The belle of the evening, the young art director Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, told us she’d been paddleboarding all morning, demonstrating the required motion with her arms. We asked about her plans for the rest of the weekend. “More paddleboarding,” she told us definitively. “And I’ll probably be doing a lot of eating,” she added, unprompted.
We wandered over to speak with Shelly and Vincent Fremont, who came with their daughter, Casey Fremont Crowe, and spent much of the evening conversing with Bob Colacello. “I have a new grandson who’s five months old, so that’s all I really care about,” Ms. Fremont told us. “We took him to the beach today, which was really fun. He just loved it! It was great.”
Bruce Weber told us he’d been busy working most of the weekend, but he’d be taking time later in the summer to head up to the Adirondacks. “So I’ll be swimming in a lake,” he said, explaining why it was preferable to the beach. “I swim, but I swim now with six dogs,” he explained with a crinkly grin. “They try to keep up and I have to carry them.”
Francisco Costa, the Women’s Creative Director of Calvin Klein, had just returned from a trip to Santa Barbara and was eager to tell us about a new hobby he’d discovered. “For the first time, I did—what do you call it, arch?” He mimed shooting a bow and arrow. “And I hit the bull’s-eye every time!” he exclaimed. “It was so beautiful.”
Mr. Costa told us he’d been spending time barbecuing at his house in Bellport but explained this was his last weekend of the summer. “Summer’s over!” he exclaimed. “This is it for me. I’ll be at home all week and then all the way until the end of August I’ll be in the office, working every single weekend,” he explained, alluding to fall’s looming fashion weeks.
We asked how he’d been dealing with the hot weather. “I love it,” he told us earnestly. “I’m Brazilian, so I keep telling people to just enjoy it.”