Last month, more than 700 tuxedoed and ball-gowned revelers gathered in the Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for the annual S.L.E. Lupus Foundation gala. As the attendees feasted on black American caviar, Margaret Dowd, the foundation’s executive director, was marveling at something else: the size of the crowd.
The foundation had not seen so many people at its annual gala since 2007. “It’s been very tough the last few years, and we had to cut expenses drastically,” she said. “In 2009, many of our donors said, ‘Our portfolios were really harmed and we have to cut our donations, but we’ll be back.’ And they did come back. This year has been much, much better.”
The benefit raised $2.5 million—a significant jump from the $2.2 million raised at last year’s. Things have not returned to the 2007 level, when the gala’s $3.2 million haul set a national record, which has yet to be topped, for lupus research funds collected at a single event, but the foundation is on track to raise 10 to 12 percent more this year than the previous one. Ms. Dowd added that the nonprofit’s spring luncheon saw such a dramatic spike in attendance this year—a 30 percent increase—that next year they plan to hold it in the Plaza.
“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.
Those kooky new Trojan condom commercials on TV, which magically turn a dirty hog into a beddable dude after he picks up a condom, may work for some people—like, for example, the frat boys who regularly recognize Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively on the street. But when it’s time to recruit a more well-heeled Read More
Last night, we met up with André Balazs—the hotel magnate behind a cartel of boutique sleeperies, which includes the Mercer in SoHo, L.A.’s Chateau Marmont and the Standards. Looking dapper in a form-fitting gray suit that had a subtle sheen, Mr. Balazs, 50, had just flown back to New York after a weekend at Art Read More