We’ve gotten so used to the celebrity circus that has dominated Michael’s lately that we did a double take when we found the dining room populated mostly by suits, well-heeled ladies and dandies who prefer to let their bank accounts (not publicists) do the talking. Aside from the usual boldface names (Star Jones) and fashionistas (Fern Mallis) in attendance, there were a lot of folks at lunch today who I’d never seen in the dining room before.
I just had to go over to Table One and introduce myself to the couple who was working furiously to glam up the table with flowers and pretty trinkets before their guests arrived. It turns out Kelly Langberg was celebrating her birthday with her husband Jeff Langberg and a few of her nearest and dearest BFFs. Jeff told me all these ladies are the better halves of some of Manhattan’s most powerful couples. The impeccably dressed gals all toasted Kelly, who calls herself ”The Makeover Queen,” with a lovely rose in the lounge before moving to their table to celebrate. When I was chatting with Kelly about her makeover business (she refers clients to cosmetic dentists, plastic surgeons, hair colorists and other professionals essential to living the good life in Gotham), I couldn’t help but notice the dazzling bling that adorned her ears and wrists. When I complimented her on it, she told me the pieces were from her own line of fine jewelry. Where does she find the time?
I also got to chat with politico Ed Rollins who specializes in a different kind of makeover. He was assistant to President Ronald Reagan and managed his reelection campaign. Earlier this year, Ed stepped down from his post as Michele Bachmann‘s campaign manager. I just had to ask what he thought of the results of yesterday’s primary. “Santorum is for real,” he told me. “I expect Romney will get the nomination, but it’s going to be a slugfest right up until the end.” Having seen him on PBS’ recent documentary on President Bill Clinton (“I’d take either Clinton right now!”), we also chatted about the HBO political drama Game Change, based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. “I liked the book better. The movie had a deliberate purpose. That’s not the John McCain I know,” he told me. ” (Ed Harris) was too soft and fuzzy.” He did characterize Julianne Moore‘s depiction of Sarah Palin as “very accurate,” though. Ed gave the film high marks in one respect: “It caught a lot of the pace and excitement of a political campaign.” Speaking of campaigns, what does he think of President Obama‘s chances come November? “Presidents often get too much credit and too much blame for what’s happening. Right now, he’s paying the price for promising a lot of things he couldn’t deliver.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
5. Steven Swid
9. Fern Mallis — Have you seen her new jewelry collection for QVC? A little birdie said many of the pieces are inspired by Fern’s frequent trips to India. How chic.
10. Star Jones, who swapped her signature red dresses for an orange sheath today. Looking good!
12. Black Ocean’s Gerry Byrne
81. Linden Alschuler & Kaplan CEO Lisa Linden with Tom Allon, president of Manhattan Media, which owns Avenue and the Hamptons’ stalwart, Dan’s Papers, among other publications. In case you didn’t know, Tom is the Liberal Party-backed candidate for NYC’s next mayorial race.
15. Waheed Alli, who co-founded the television production company Planet 24 and is chairman of ASOS.com.
16. Judy Price
17. Imax’s Rich Gelfond
18. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s ex-CEO, Charles Koppelman
21. Cablevision’s Tad Smith. Maybe it’s because we’re so excited Mad Men is coming back in a few weeks, but we couldn’t help but notice that Tad could pass for Don Draper’s younger — and nicer! — brother.
22. Karl Wexler
24. Allen & Co.’s Steve Greenberg
25. PR maven Maury Rogoff
26. Betsy Perry and Cookstr.com founder Will Schwalbe, whose new book, The End of Your Life Book Club, is getting a lot of great buzz. The book chronicles the time Will spent with his terminally ill mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, while they read (or sometimes in Will’s case, pretended to read) books together during her hospital stay until she died in 2009. We’re ordering our copy tonight and plan to read it with lots of Kleenex nearby.
27. Langford Pictures’ Chuck Pfeifer
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