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Washington, Monticello and New York




The weekend was one of celebration. The restoration of the wine cellar at Monticello has been completed and to commemorate the occasion patrons, trustees, vintners etc were entertained at the French Embassy in Washington on Friday evening. Ambassador Vimont our gracious host of the evening welcomed all in his engaging and humorous style about the history of the embassy residence, and French American relations before we sat down do a beautiful meal accompanied by some extraordinary wines.  I had two marvelous dinner partners that evening, one the owner of a vineyard in Bordeaux, and the other a young wine enthusiast.  I say enthusiast because critic sounds so negative to me and as wines are meant to be savored and enjoyed, commenting on wines, rendering an opinion sounds infinitely more palatable, if you will. The running commentary all evening was about the wines and all things related to wines and discussions about adjectives describing wines, like leather, smoke, graphite, etc.  It was a delicious, enjoyable, funny and informative evening.


Before checking into Keswick - to get ready for the party there were still a few daylight hours left, of course, so off to Kenny Ball,  for antiques;  to And George, where I picked up some, porcelain, a mirrored tray, candles, a fab bamboo and silver candle snuffer. Then ordered six more (the cat’s out of the bag now…somebody's getting those for Christmas), I always find things there.  I love their mix of old and new, their displays, all very enticing. To Joseph, Joseph, and Joseph...a great mix of antiques. I had my eyes on the stone columns in the back room…but for where?  And to Mirabelle Antiques a new shop since my last visit. Add that one to your list. Great mix of furniture all beautifully upholstered, accessories well chosen and good value...a must do for my next trip. And yours too.  For other shopping ideas in Charlottesville see my previous post about shopping in Charlottesville or see  Dinner at Monticello that evening can be described in a word…SUBLIME…


And prepared by Daniel Boloud.....who had flown in for the evening from Miami where he is opening a new restaurant.  Let's just say we honored Mr. Jefferson in an appropriate and elegant manner.

The next morning we went back up to the mountain with a group who were visiting Monticello for the first time. Susan Stein, head curator, met the group for a special tour. From there we took them to UVA to the Rotunda and the Lawn for another history lesson.


A dash back to the hotel to grab bags, to the plane and back to New York.



Tuesday night was a presentation by Michael Bruno, founder of 1st Dibs, for patrons of the Costume Institute of the Met Museum.

Michael is a walking talking case study…if you do not know the story of his company, take another look at, or go hear him speak, next chance. In today's Wall Street Journal there is a great article on Michael and his latest venture into the fine art world. Pick up a copy and head for the 'Off Duty' section. (Nearby to my article on Cecil Beaton's scrapbooks.) While I know Michael well, and know his story it always reinforces some of the golden rules of success in business.

  • You must be willing to take risks.
  • Understand that the contrarian view is not a negative view, but it could be the most profitable.
  • Timing is everything...seize the moment.
  • Believe…believe in yourself…believe in your idea…believe in your dream.
  • You are IT kid.  Nobody can make it happen but you.




I had been to see the Chaos and Classicism exhibition at the Guggenheim on a Sunday morning, but when the opportunity came up through the Couture Council at FIT to have a private tour with Ken Silver the curator of the show- I jumped at the chance.

It is only on the rare occasion that I am in the museum on a week day, and I must say I was thrilled to see the crowds of people and lines to buy tickets. There was quite a buzz in the air.  We had a small group of six, and each of us hung on Ken's words as we worked our way up the ramp.  Ken is a like a human catalog, with an animated and humorous delivery.  He filled in the gaps, connected the dots between all the pieces in the exhibition.  What I also enjoyed was seeing the banter between Ken and Valerie Steele, Director of the Museum at FIT.  When the two of them talked you could see sparks of enthusiasm fly.

The Chaos and Classicism exhibition explores the classicizing aesthetic that followed the immense destruction of World War I.  It examines the interwar period in its key artistic manifestations: the poetic dream of antiquity in the Parisian avant-garde of Pablo Picasso; the politicized revival of the Roman Empire by artists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Mario Sironi; and the functionalist utopianism at the Bauhaus.

Chaos and Classicism runs until January 9, 2011.  For more information please visit The Guggenheim's website.


I attended a lecture at the New York School of Interior Design by Edwin Schlossberg of ESI Design.  ESI Design is one of the world's foremost design firms, bringing the missions of world-class institutions to life by inspiring people to discover, engage, participate and learn.


In 2010, the city of Shanghai hosted the World Expo, a major exposition of culture and innovation from around the world.  ESI Design collaborated with the Shanghai Corporate Community and a group of world-renown architects and artists to design the World Expo's "Dream Cube," a 40,000 square foot pavilion that encourages visitors to participate in an impressive multimedia experience comprised of cutting-edge technology, dreamlike environments, collaborative social spaces and sustainably designed materials.

Visit the Dream Cube Website.




I hosted a dinner Party at home for Wendy Goodman and Gloria Vanderbilt to celebrate Wendy's latest book, The World of Gloria Vanderbilt (published by Abrams). Copies are available through Archivia Books.  A good time was had by all, and some photos were featured on the New York Social Diary.




Back to Virginia for board meetings at Monticello....