Spring break is over, so it’s back to business for the movers and shakers at Michael’s. Today’s crowd was the usual mix of media mavens (Keith Kelly, Jonathan Wald), stylistas (Norma Kamali, John Galantic) and money men (William Lauder), with plenty of strivers and a slew of pretty young things thrown in for good measure.
I was joined today by Kelly Langberg, who I met at Michael’s last month when she was celebrating her birthday at Table One with her nearest and dearest. When I got a gander of the fabulous jewelry she was wearing, I just had to go over to get a closer look. It turned out that Kelly had designed the pieces herself and had a thriving business selling the beautiful bling to her well-heeled clients. At today’s lunch, Kelly explained how her jewelry inadvertently served as a launch pad for her now four-year-old business as the makeover maven to Manhattan’s chic set.
Having had a successful career pre-motherhood in investment banking and commercial real estate, Kelly was looking for something new that would allow her to have more time to spend with her children when they were little. Some years ago while on vacation at a swanky resort, not one, but two different women who she’d run into over the course of her stay and admired her personal style asked her if she’d accompany them (separately) to the hotel’s pricey jewelry boutique to pick out something fabulous. “It was so random,” Kelly recalled, “but I did it for fun and wound up having things made for them at a fraction of the price. I thought to myself, ‘I think I found a business.’”
In no time at all, Kelly found herself advising her jewelry clients on everything from their hairstyles and makeup to plastic surgery options. “I’d show up at apartments to talk about jewelry and a client would say, ‘What do you think about my neck? What should I do with my hair?” said Kelly. ”In 20 years in business, people have shown me just about everything you could imagine. I’ve seen it all.”
The enterprising Kelly decided to turn her exhaustive knowledge of the beauty business (“The best doctors, stylists, makeup artists — I know them all”) into a bonafide business. Today, she works individually with every client, listening carefully to their desires and needs (“A lot of this is therapy”) and even accompanies them to doctor’s offices and salons to ask the tough questions or just give her honest opinion on what works and what doesn’t.
While Kelly advises the creme de la creme of Manhattan on the very best places to go for those big ticket items like plastic surgery (she’d just come from a surgeon’s office with a client) and cosmetic dentistry, she is completely obsessed with helping clients find the perfect hairstyle. ”It all starts with the hair,” Kelly says. “You could have a great smile, terrific posture and a great wardrobe. If your hair is wrong, it’s all wrong.” As if on cue, proprietor Michael McCarty came by (he and Kelly go way back) to say hello, and we complimented him on his new, shorter locks which we decided made him look downright boyish. He told us his wife Kim McCarty had suggested he try her stylist who recently relocated from London to Malibu, where the couple lives. “I have a great person for you here in town, because you need one when you’re here,” Kelly told him. “I’m taking you over there. Let me know when you want to go.” And that was that.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Hollywoodlife.com president and editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller and PMC’s vice chairman Gerry Byrne, presiding over their monthly lunch. On the eclectic guest list: publisher Carlos Lamadrid; designer Norma Kamali; former lawmaker turned talking head Jeanine Pirro; HL Group CEO Lynn Tersoro; Elizabeth Arden’s Marcy Fisher, Elizabeth Park and Geri Archer; Marc Carver, SVP of sales and marketing for Mavi; Luanne Zurlo, president of the World Fund and James Meigs, editorial director for the Men’s Enthusiast Group.
2. My good pals, Diane Dimond, publicist Judy Twersky, Jennifer Bristol and HGTV’s director of original programming Brian Balthazar who moonlights as a television pundit on all things pop culture. (He’s a favorite guest of Wendy Williams.) I’m obsessed with his website, Pop Goes the Week. Where does he find the time?
4. Showbiz vets Charles Grodin and John Gabriel. I had a nice chat with John when I arrived a little before noon as he was the first diner to show up for lunch today. When I overheard him inquiring about his reservation, I recognized the voice instantly as belonging to one of my favorite leading men on the soap opera I used to watch with my grandmother way back when. There stood Dr. Seneca Beaulac (one of the greatest soap monikers of all time) from Ryan’s Hope! I immediately introduced myself, and we had a pleasant chat about the show’s good old days and lamented over the demise of the daytime drama. We both agreed it seemed ironic given that today’s most buzzed about shows (“Mad Men” and “Downton Abbey”) are soaps, albeit with much bigger budgets. And, okay, better acting — but still! John told me he went to a Ryan’s Hope reunion just last week attended by several cast members including Ilene Kristen (most recently of the late One Life to Live) and writer Claire Labine. These days, John is hosting a new show Hollywood to Broadway on TheStandardsChannel.com featuring music from The Great American Songbook and the anecdotes behind the works of greats like Jules Styne and Sammy Cahn. Nice to meet you!
9. Kelly Langberg and yours truly
12. The New York Post‘s media guru, Keith Kelly
14. Showtime’s main man, Matt Blank
16. United Stations Radio Networks’ Nick Verbitsky
17. Lally Weymouth. I cant imagine The Washington Post publisher is too happy with the recent piece in Vanity Fair about how the legendary broadsheet has lost its mojo — and so many of its marqee names. It’s a fascinating piece about how the newssroom’s politics rival those of the town the paper made its reputation covering.
21. Jay Kriegel
22. James Dunning (Susan Magrino‘s hubby)
23. Bob Tobin
25. KKR’s Peter McKillop
26. Scalamandre’s sartorially splendid president, Steven Stolman, with Bob Peterson, creative director of Katie Couric‘s new show. I happened to get a look at a promo shot of Katie looking absolutely ageless standing next to (I’m guessing) a settee upholstered in one of Scalamandre’s uber stylish fabrics. Tres chic.
27. The Municipal Art Society’s president, Vin Cipolla
Please send comments and corrections to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
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