Notwithstanding all the recent news regarding Barneys New York’s fiscal woes, not to mention an announcement that it will be bought by the Jones Apparel Group is impending, last evening, the second floor of the chic Madison Avenue store was the setting for a jam packed, lively, vibrant, and upbeat party to celebrate the amazing talents of Alber Elbaz, who is undeniably enjoying his moment basking in fashion’s sun. It is, quite frankly, ‘all about’ Elbaz (who is now creative director of Lanvin in Paris) these days, whose last several collections have impressed even the most difficult to please, jaded, ‘been-there-seen-that’ group. Included among the group is The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan, who was on hand to personally wish him well, who told me that she thought the Lanvin show was “the best in Paris”. (Or did she say, “the best this season”?) Well, in any event, there are many who do probably feel that way.
The party, which was hosted by the VERY fashionable (and social) Countess of Albemarle and Marina Rust, was seemingly attended by all the ‘usual suspects’. In addition to the other fashionably social types (both young and old) such as Ann Slater, Helen Lee Schifter and Lillian Von Stauffenberg, there were other designers who came to pay their respects (like Behnaz Sarafpour), and naturally, there was a host of fashion writers, magazine editors and publishers. Included were such as Town and Country’s Pamela Fiori, Elle’s Gilles Bensimon and wife Kelly, The Wall Street Journal’s Teri Agins, and Vogue’s Sally Singer, Hamish Bowles, and Andre Leon Talley.
There was also a nice representation from Geoffrey Beene, a house that has just recently suffered the loss of their legendary designer, but which is continuing on through the efforts of Norwegian born Einar Holiloekk, who had been a design assistant for many years (he actually worked on the ‘Mr. Beene’ line). Don’t forget, the Israeli born Elbaz, came to New York in the 80’s, where he met Dawn Mello (creative director of Gucci at the time), who introduced him to Geoffrey Beene. He subsequently worked with Mr. Beene from about 1990 until 1996, honing his skills and developing his already formidable talent. So it was not surprising that in the crowd there was Liz Lee, Geoffrey Beene’s former muse and model, as well as the company’s indefatigable receptionist ‘par excellence’- Joyce.