Tusk, Tusk: Designers, Billionaires and Animal Lovers Seek to Save the Elephants

“It’s the one animal you can devote a lifetime to looking at and you never quite get the full story,” he continued. “They love, they mourn, they remember, I think they even laugh—although that’s not scientific.”

What was scientific: Shindigger was out of wine, and so we moved on to explore the possibility of refreshing our glass at the library bar. Which was where the star power was hiding, remaining low-key, if not evasive. Tommy Hilfiger and wife Dee Ocleppo chatted up friends, Departures editor in chief Richard David Story held court at a small bar-side table and legendary fashion designer Valentino Garavani’s saddle-hued tan bordered on fluorescent.

A few moments passed, and then a blonde siren shifted our way. ’Twas model Dree Hemingway, great-granddaughter of Ernest, the legendary explorer of both word and world. She was a first-timer at the Explorers Club and was already enamored. “It’s one of the most unreal, epic buildings,” she said.

An ardent supporter of the elephant, Ms. Hemingway told us she had fallen in love with the creature nearly two years ago, during a trip to Borana Ranch & Safari Lodge, a luxurious safari outpost on the equator in Kenya’s Laikipia District.

“They’re the most unbelievable animals: they’re huge, and they’re sensitive and beautiful. They’re also really protective,” she said. “I love Kenya more than anything.”

(Shindigger loves red wine more than anything, and so we poached another glass.)

Nearby, we found Lauren Bush Lauren, who was way ahead of the curve, having already seen parts of the film.

“It’s an important cause,” she said, and then: “Watch out!” as some queen unmindfully careened past us in search of a refill. On impulse, Ms. Bush Lauren grabbed Shindigger’s arm, preventing us from tottering into a pastoral oil on canvas.

Having been saved from embarrassment, Shindigger headed gracefully toward our seat for the screening. After the documentary, there was a brief discussion with the filmmakers and producers, including staunch elephant devotee Kristin Davis, who spoke passionately, with tears in her eyes.

“It’s just such a shocking, shocking thing to think that elephants could be extinct. It’s not acceptable,” she said. As the panel discussion concluded, Ms. Davis grabbed the mic one more time. “We’re in America! We’re Americans … We can do what we can! Where’s that American spirit?” she yelled with a fist pump.

And on that note, the event came to an end, and we were all sent back out into the cold city night, ready once again to brave the concrete jungle.