What Recession? Condé Nast Helps Us Forget.
A friend of mine and I were having a conversation the other day about the economic situation (see, I’m not so vapid after all!). I was making a point that here in New York we’re largely sheltered from the issues affecting the rest of the world. “We don’t live in reality, we live in Manhattan,” I said. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a truism: does a falling economy make a sound if no one’s there to hear it? Reflecting on this week’s set of events, I realized there was a huge disparity between the daily headlines and the daily life in New York’s media microcosm.
Just last week there were reports that receptionists at Condé Nast were being given the boot and editors would have to (gasp!) answer their own phones. Amid this news, it came as quite a surprise that the same company spared no expense to throw the Condé Nast Traveler Hot List Party at chic Madison Avenue dining spot, Pranna.
Though I had no idea what to expect as I exited the cab on the side of 28th street, the step-and-repeat with an actual red carpet set up outside immediately set the tone for the rest of the evening. I waited for Kelly Bensimon of The Real Housewives of New York to finish up on the carpet before my turn came around. After posing for photos, I was whisked inside where cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and fabulousness awaited.
The dimly lit restaurant exploded with light every few seconds as camera flashbulbs went off inside, illuminating whichever startlet or social had just arrived. After securing a drink downstairs and scoping out the provenance of the hors d’oeuvres, we made our way to the VIP area on the second floor.
This cordoned off section seemed to be the location of a Real Housewives reunion as we first bumped into Alex McCord with husband Simon Van Campen before noticing Jill Zarin and her auburn hair floating around. Nestled in the back with friends was Lydia Hearst wearing a green art-deco frock while two seats away was the stunning Katrina Bowden who’s taken advantage of her role on 30 Rock to become a staple on the event scene.
As if on a mission to disprove the recession, the next night Lucky Magazine—another Condé Nast title—threw a party with designers/socialites Charlotte Ronson and Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss to celebrate their swimwear collaboration.
We might have used one of Ronson and Gruss’s bathing suits to swim through all the free-flowing champagne coming from the open bar at Above Allen in the Thompson LES but alas they were not on display. No, this event was a social and celebratory one with mother Ann Dexter-Jones coming to support her daughter. Lindsay Price, most recently of Lipstick Jungle, made an appearance as did Real Housewife Jill Zarin once again. For some reason that woman looks like she’ll clock you if you look at her the wrong way.
As we looked out the floor-to-ceiling windows upon a glittering downtown cityscape, champagne and camera flashes abounding behind us, it dawned on me: if you can live in a fantasy, why not? We all come to New York to chase a dream so why not wrap yourself in it like a plush cashmere blanket? Grab a class of champagne, barbeque shrimp puff and smile for the cameras.