Occasion: To celebrate the publication of The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman.
What do you do when one of your favorite people writes a book about someone you admire? Have a party, of course!
Next question was: How to have one special enough for someone as stylish, gracious and iconic as Gloria Vanderbilt?
First - the guest list! Those people close to and important to your guest of honor. Second - an invitation that celebrates the guest of honor, and sets the tone for the evening. Third - food & wine. A buffet for a large crowd - with wines selected by my husband the connoisseur. Mark Sanne, our chef for the evening, worked with me on the menu, and Jeanne Cuddy-Peretz assisted him in the kitchen that evening. Check out Mark's website www.GlobalPalate.com.
Dessert- I knew I had to call Sylvia Weinstock (www.sylviaweinstock.com) to create something very special for Gloria. If you know Sylvia you know that it will be spectacular and the perfect ending to a dinner. Sylvia creates cakes that are fantasies and visual feasts, in addition to being very delicious.
I wanted things incorporated into the cake that one would associate with Gloria: the artist, the author, the businesswoman that inspired me in the 70’s as a young married woman when I was reading her books on collages, patchwork and design. I remembered the tulip fabric she created for Bloomcraft. The glassware hand-painted with lily of the valley, fabrics with violets and more. The swan, her iconic logo. I remembered the cotton gingham that she used everywhere and made it look as luxurious as silk. Genius is taking what is simple and making it sublime. This all came together in one glorious cake, a collage cake, by Sylvia Weinstock!
As each guest departed that evening, they all left with a little velvet bag, something to extend the memory of our gathering.
One day having lunch with Robert Ruffino and Wendy I mentioned I wanted to have something for each guest as they left the dinner. I always like to send guests home with something to 'extend' the evening and the occasion. What could we do? Recreate one of Gloria’s products? What about a famous quote to, or about her? And with that Wendy shrieked “There’s an incredible description of Gloria written by her husband Wyatt Cooper” Wendy described it as one of the most romantic things she’d ever read. We grabbed the book, read the quote and all three of us swooned “it’s perfect.”
This quote accompanied a tiny statue of an Egyptian cat held in a black velvet bag. Wendy knew I was leaving for Egypt the next week and She said ‘Just bring back 50 cats’…and so I did, all arranged neatly and safely in my suitcase.
Some things were meant to be… I look back now and think about how perfectly my husband planned that trip , he didn’t know I needed those cats! Here’s to you Gloria, and to Wendy for giving us that beautiful book!
Wendy Goodman's The World of Gloria Vanderbilt is available at Archivia Books. To visit their website www.ArchiviaBooks.com or call 212.570.9565.