Panache Magazine

June, 2006


Memorial Sloan-Kettering's A Wynning Hand Benefit

The Associates Committee of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center hosted their annual gambling party, this year dubbed “A Wynning Hand” and sponsored by Roberto Cavalli and Wynn Las Vegas, at Sotheby's on May 17. It was an evening of glamour and gaming that raised over $400,000 to benefit The Cancer Center's Department of Pediatrics. The chairman was The Associate's president Alexis Waller , who wore an aqua and white colored off-the-shoulder, long silk Cavalli blouse over white pants. The co-chairmen were Gretchen Gunlocke Fenton , who wore a black gathered cocktail dress, Leslie Heaney , pretty in turquoise, Anne Grauso , wearing a full length black and white chiffon wrap dress, Amanda Taylor Konjevod , Melanie Seymour Holland , sexy in a animal print wrap, and Christina Ittleson Smith , in a full length strapless leopard print column.

The honorary chairs were Steve and Elaine Wynn , she looking radiant in Cavalli's satin navy gingham gown and Roberto and Eva Cavalli , she in a blue silk suit, lined with leopard print silk. They greeted a stellar parade of guests, including Beyonce Knowles , in a very short yellow jeans skirt and silk blouse; Donald and Melania Trump , she in a black gown with embroidered flowers; Heidi Klum , who chose a Cavalli black and silver floor length gown; Coco and Arie Kopelman with their son Will ; Cinema's Phantom of the Opera, Gerard Butler , who was chummy with supermodel Ines Rivero , who chose a gorgeous, long, slinky, cream-colored silk gown with an elaborately jeweled plunging backline –by Cavalli, of course; ABT's Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko –she in a pale pink gown and dripping a 6-foot Helen Yarmak white fur boa as only a ballerina could; Sirio and Marco Maccioni , The Society's president Vera Safai in a gold tunic with her husband Dr. Bijan Safai ; Wendy Carduner in black chiffon and diamonds, and Tinsley Mortimer , who dressed appropriately like a Las Vegas party girl in a short pink dress with a bright blue satin belt.

The fun began with a champagne reception featuring the Chef du Cave pouring vintage 1996 Dom Pérignon. There were two rooms of gambling with black jack, roulette and craps tables flown in from Wynn Las Vegas complete with and even cocktail waitresses in cocoa and bronze sequined mini-dresses. In all, there were 26 Wynn staff members; that and paintings by masters including Picasso and Warhol, from Wynn's famous collection, lined the walls.

Dinner was served on the seventh floor, which had been transformed by Eva Cavalli into a salon of decadence and opulence reminiscent of the Venetian Atelier of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo. There were 5 foot tall wrought iron containers filled with roses, peonies, fuchsia, hydrangea and branches of apple blossoms by Raul Avila .

The menu was prepared by Feast and Fêtes Catering by Daniel. Daniel Boulud was present in his chef's jacket to make sure it was scrumptiously delicious. As a finale, Elaine Wynn cut a big Las Vegas Show Cake, in the form of a “Viva Las Vegas” marquee, dice, poker chips and an eight-ball, created and donated by Ron Ben Israel .

The Society, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of patients, supporting cancer research and providing public education on the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, the world's largest private institution devoted exclusively to cancer. The Associates Committee was founded in 1984 to introduce a younger generation to the philanthropic and volunteer activities of The Society.

Michel Gerber Klein, Michel Witmer and Alison Minton.