David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary

December 11, 2006

Advocacy on today's NYSD...

Janna Bullock, Jamee Gregory and Muffie Potter Aston and the ladies from The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's hosted a sweet soiree in Mrs. Bullock's East 67th Street townhouse that had been decorated for the season by Sonia Caproni .

The cause celebre was The Center's first new Holiday decor in 12 years, funded by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and designed and installed by Bill Tansey, who chose a traditional Victorian ambiance: garlands, trees, wreathes and roping.

Two years ago, a volunteer called attention to one of The Society members that the hospital's decorations were looking a bit tired. It is particularly difficult to be away from home during this time of the year and one of The Society's main goals is to raise the spirits of the patients and their families by making things brighter and better. So, under the leadership of Mrs. Gregory, the members swung into action and with the success of this event, $28,000 and rising, they will make the celebration of renewing the institution's holiday decor an annual affair.

The party featured vases decorated by 30 of the city's top fashion designers. Mark Badgley, James Mischka, Dennis Basso, Michael Vollbracht for Bill Blass, Tory Burch, Reed Krakoff for Coach, Lyn Devon, Diane von Furstenberg, Douglas Hannant, Marc Jacobs, Naeem Khan, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Catherine Malandrino, Gilles Mendel, Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Narcisco Rodriguez, Lela Rose, Cynthia Rowley, Angel Sanchez, Behnaz Sarafpour, Peter Som, Steven Stolman, Vivienne Tam, Zang Toi, Bryan Bradley for Tuleh, Alvin Valley and Vera Wang, each decorated and signed a ceramic cube in their own special style.

Meredith Waga Pérez of Belle Fleur then demonstrated serious floral ARTISTRY by filling each with topiaries or flowers to suit its unique design, turning them into seasonal fantasies extraordinaire. They were displayed in the center of the townhouse's grand salon and sold in a silent auction to support future holiday decorations in the hospital to ensure that patients receive their cancer care in a brighter environment.

Leading the rather heated bidding were The Society's president Vera Safai, Joanne de Guardiola, Georgette Mosbacher, Mary Davidson, Sherrell Aston, Leslie Perkin, Wendy Carduner, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Michèle Gerber Klein, Peter Gregory, Adrienne and Gian Luigi Vittadini, Barbara and Kevin McLaughlin, Audrey Gruss, Leslie and Peter Jones, Gail and Dennis Karr, Coco Kopelman, Daisy and Paul Soros, Melissa and Chappy Morris, Tony Perez, Katie Colgate, Leslie and Andrew Heaney, Gail Hilson, Rachel Hovnanian, Anand Jon, Adria de Haume, Robyn and Kenneth Joseph, Leith Talamo, Karen LeFrak, Michel Cox Witmer, Nicole Limbocker, Lisa and Chris Errico, Karen May, Lisa McCarthy, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Alison Minton, Margaret Russell, Kitty Sherrill, Clelia and Tom Zacharias, Mary Darling, Elaine Sargent, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Libby Fitzgerald, Ruth Fleischman, Katherine and Bryan Carey, Liz Gardiner and Anne Grauso.

There were carolers in Edwardian costume, Paul Katz playing Cole Porter tunes on the baby grand, champagne and hors d'oeuvres by Glorious Foods. Belle Fleur was selling their fabulous scented candles: Mayan Tuber Rose, Jasmine Verbena, White Orchid Tea and Orange Blossom Pomegranate (20% of the proceeds went to the cause.), and laughter and good cheer from the likes of Sharon Hoge, Diane Crary, Barbara Tollis, Marilyn and Woody Waga, Mark Gilbertson, Eleanore and Thomas Fahey, Martha Glass, Joel Allen, Melissa Berkelhammer, Geoffrey Bradfield, Anait Bian, Karen and Tom Glover, Emma Snowdon-Jones, Montgomery Frazier, Sarah Medford, Dr. Eric Berger, Ines Baussili, Rodolfo Valentine, Samantha Gregory, James Sheeran, Heather Cohane, Roy Kean, Mitchell Owen, Nancy Ruhling, Roric Tobin and Barbara Saltzman.

The house is filled with mid-century and contemporary art including two Winter Trees on Oak Paneled Boxes, by artist Michelle Marie, who was there with her husband Jon Heinemann (it was their first night out since the birth of their son Hudson Cornelius on Halloween). Another highlight ocurred when Cheri Kaufman surprised Janna, Muffie and Jamee with Philip Stein Teslar diamond watches as a reward for their munificent efforts.

Many of the prettiest women and the members of the Decor Committee, which included Jessie Araskog, Patrice Bell, Felicia Blum, Nancy Coffey, Bambi de la Gueronniere, Eleanor Fahey, Sally Giordano, Helena Martinez, Barbara Tollis and Lavinia Snyder, and the SMSKCC staff, including Olivia Striffler, Leigh Brawer and Kelsey Banfield, wore red t-shirts with a large shooting star on the front made from Swarovski crystals, designed by Steven Stolman . They were big sellers – few could resist the sales pitch: “Be a star for The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.” A percentage of each sale will go to their Holiday Decor Fund and you can order them by emailing or call The Society at 212-639-7975. It's a gift that pays it forward.

Alison Minton and Dennis Karr