Party People: Best Guests of 2013

  • With all due respect to Salman Rushdie, some party guests are just better than others, and it’s not just about good looks and stylish clothes. To be a must-add to any NYC guest list, you must be witty, you must be smart, and you must be nice. Here are the people we spent 2013 hoping to snag a seat next to at any table.

  • If you’re lucky enough to be at a party Karlie Kloss has attended, you’ll find that the conversation always turns to how much people “love, love, love her.” The newest Victoria’s Secret Angel, Ms. Kloss has lost none of her Midwestern charm. What other supermodel will talk to you about cookies? Cookies! Better than angelic, she’s downright wholesome.

  • In a world where power players come and go, André Balazs endures. More than 20 years ago, the hotelier purchased the Chateau Marmont, and now, he’s redeveloping the historic TWA terminal at JFK. Through it all, he has remained calm, relaxed and downright regal—unlike some other, more highly strung players we could mention. Perhaps we like watching him so much because we so badly want to be him.

  • You may know him from Wes Anderson films, but that’s just a sideline. The jewelry designer-turned-actor-turned-brand ambassador is one of the most civically minded people in the fashion industry, and he makes us feel better about humanity’s chances just by hearing about his many projects. Mr. Ahluwalia debuted a collection for Forevermark called “Waris in Africa” and posed for the “Make Love” ad campaign for Gap.

  • The society world always needs a rebel. And while Ms. Von Thurn Und Taxis may be a princess, you won’t find her in a boring bob and pearls. She’s much more likely to be sporting a Mohawk at the Met Ball. Someone has got to stir the pot.

  • Whether she’s at Westway, the Jane, Avenue or Le Bain, Ms. Viera Newton knows how to get a party started—and how to keep it going until dawn. The model-turned-deejay is refreshingly self-deprecating, and she claims to have gotten her start because she was “an annoying girl.” “I was like, ‘I want to pick the music!’” she said. And we’re glad she did.

  • You can anticipate what most people will be wearing at a party. Staid Carolina Herrara gowns at a gala, leather pants at an art opening, pastels for anything in the spring. Not so much with Ms. Medine, whose outfits aren’t for the sartorially faint of heart. It’s worth heading to a party just to see what the Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls. author is wearing. It could be a full-length jumpsuit, overalls or, well, anything really.

  • Some people just make you feel like you’re interacting with Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn or any other old-world starlet, and Hilary Rhoda is one of those people. The Estée Lauder spokesmodel is poised, supremely elegant and can’t take a compliment without giving one back. If you think supermodels are catty or rude, 10 minutes with Ms. Rhoda will change all that.

  • Ms. Williams is the complete opposite of the anxious control freak she plays on Girls. Bold and funny, she won’t bore you with worries about her future at a dinner table; instead, she’ll be busy making jokes about the royal family (as she did on Funny or Die).

  • The fashion designer always seems to have a beautiful model on his arm, but he looks for more than just pretty faces. A great deal of Mr. Gurung’s charm seems to stem from the respect he has for women. He tries to design clothes for “the thinking man’s sex symbol” (he loves Zadie Smith!), which may explain why people like Michelle Obama and Oprah are so happy to work with him.