— DIANE CLEHANE
It was good to be back at my regular perch at Michael’s today after a nasty bug kept me home last week. I returned to a scene buzzing with a head-spinning mix of fashion designers, famous faces, and the requisite media moguls. Don’t these people ever take a day off? I’m guessing not.
Today I was joined by W. Randall Jones (‘Randy’ to his friends), who I got to know right here in the dining room. Randy is, without fail, always the best dressed man in the room. (He credits Martin Greenfield, the Brooklyn-based tailor to Bill Clinton and Colin Powell, for his sartorial success.) When Randy arrived looking as dashing as ever in his three-piece navy pinstriped suit, we got right down to dishing.
This is a man who knows just about everyone, which is no surprise considering he’s had a stellar 30-year career in media. He launched Worth magazine in 1992 and was the youngest publisher in magazine history when he nabbed the top spot at Esquire at the ripe old age of 29. The self-described “serial entrepreneur” also launched The American Benefactor, the first magazine about philanthropy from the donor’s perspective and released his first book, The Greatest Stock Picks of All Time, to plenty of attention in 2004.
The tastiest dish is off the record, but I can tell you his latest tome, The Richest Man in Town, has been a big success. It vaulted to the number one spot on Amazon right after Randy appeared on Wall Street Week with Maria Bartiromo. These days, he’s working on a top secret television project. We can’t wait to hear more.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. The ‘Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman, and Michael Kramer. A photographer from The New York Times was on hand to capture everything for an upcoming piece on the good doctor for the Style section. We’ll be looking for it.
2. Peter Brown
4. Ralph Lauren (who kept his sunglasses on throughout lunch) and Buffy Birrittella, the designer’s longtime executive vice president of women’s design and advertising. We spotted them celebrating Buffy’s birthday with champagne and nibbling on some chocolate confection while chatting with the steady stream of well wishers, like Harper’s Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey.
6. Esther Newberg and two unidentified fellows
7. HBH PMK honcho Cindi Berger and two gal pals.
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with a blonde lady we didn’t get a chance to meet.
9. Deborah Norville (love the longer new ‘do!) and a stylish dark-haired friend
11. Mickey Ateyeh and designer Carlos Falchi. I ran into these fabulous fashionistas yesterday at the Audubon Society’s Women in Conversation Awards. (Carlos’ wife Missy is on the board.) We all agreed the awards were extremely inspiring, since the speakers that afternoon addressed the growing devastation from the BP oil spill and what is being done to help the affected areas’ imperiled eco-systems. Carlos is doing his part with a sample sale next month with a portion of sales going to Audubon to support their efforts. We’ll be sure to tell you where and when as soon as we know.
14. The Today show’s Hoda Kotb with her good pal Sunny Luciani. I couldn’t wait to talk to Hoda about last week’s ‘no makeup’ show when she and Kathie Lee Gifford dared to go on camera without their war paint. “When I saw the monitor I wanted to kill myself,” Hoda told me. “But it was too late to back out.” In truth, both gals look pretty good and did plenty to boost the morale of regular gals who deluged the show with emails saluting their bravery. (Brian Williams even did a segment on them for NBC Nightly News!) Hoda and Sunny told me they were off to meet Kathie Lee and take in Sondheim on Sondheim, starring Vanessa Williams, right after lunch. Tune in to their show tomorrow to find out if they liked it or not.
15. Silda Spitzer and Citigroup’s Lisa Caputo. I got the chance to have a good chat with Silda while we both waited for our lunch dates to arrive. Turns out we share a mutual love of dogs (the Spitzers have two) and tasteful jewelry. She was sporting an elegant mother of pearl Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace that I’ve been coveting forever. Never one for showy bling, Silda was also sporting very delicate pearl and diamond earrings. A class act through and through.
17. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower with her pal, the perennially glamorous Lois Chiles. Every time I see Lois I can’t help but think of all those indelible roles she had in the seventies, from Bond girl (Moonraker) to femme fatale (The Way We Were and The Great Gatsby).
18. Randy Jones and yours truly
19. George Ledes
21. Gerry Byrne, who introduced me to Mike Scotti, former USMC captain and film producer of Severe Clear. On Monday, Gerry became a grandfather for the first time when his son Gavin and daugher-in- law Chrystianne welcomed their first child, Louisa. The proud granddad was showing off a lovely pic of the new buddle of joy on his new iPad. Congrats!
22. Richard Novik
23. Two Degrees Venture’s Elliott Michael
25. Fern Mallis (looking better than ever) with Peter Benedek, head of UTA, who is in town for this week’s upfronts. Fern told me she won’t be back for the second season of The Fashion Show. All we can say is Bravo’s loss is some other smart network’s gain. Stay tuned to find out where Fern shows up next.
26. Noble Smith
27. Attorney Michael Kassan.
30. Gigi Pritzker
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.
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