NYBG Winter Wonderland Ball Warmly Celebrates the Season

Question: What did the coat check attendant at the New York Botanical Garden Winter Wonderland Ball have in common with the Maytag repairman? Answer: Neither one was needed last night. As a result of  the balmy early fall-ish weather we’re currently enjoying, most guests did not bother with coats.

Jennifer Wright, Daniel Kibblesmith

Of the three times I’ve attended this event — the crowning glory of the fall social calendar aka the last hurrah before everyone heads off to their second, third or fourth homes in beach or ski locales– this time was the most surreal as the only snow to be seen was the fake kind placed in the corners of the dinner tent.

Interestingly, this may have been the most “fashion-y” of the three times I’ve attended with so many designer/muse duos bringing their “A” game. Whatever was lacking in holiday appropriate weather (and believe me I’m not complaining!) was more than made up for with the beauty of the scenery and the glorious and creative fashions.

Selita Ebanks

I love that both men and women really seem to make an effort for this ball, which has a suggested color scheme of black and winter white every year. Indeed there are many who follow the “dress code” and probably just as many who go all peacock coexisting peacefully in one venue.

Georgina Bloomberg

The event which raises money for children’s educational programs at the Gardens was sponsored this year by Herve Leger, HFZ Capitol Group, Van Cleef & Arpels with additional support from Glamour Magazine. Several women donned Leger long bandage dresses including Georgina Bloomberg, an event chair, in a gold metallic iteration.

Maggie Norris, Nicole DiCocco, Joy Marks

A striking threesome posing by the 3-D holiday train tableau was designer Maggie Norris wearing one of her signature military styles in long form along with Joy Marks in an eye-catching “Marie Antoinette meets Little Bo-Peep” get-up including a floral headpiece avec l’oiseau yet missing a shepherd’s crook. I’m suddenly having flashbacks to the Sex and The City Movie scene when Big stands Carrie up at their wedding. Afterwards she realizes she may have gotten “carried away” (ha)scaring him with the over the top wedding accoutrements . “I put a bird on my head!” she admits.

Left: Alexandra Lebenthal

Anyway, back at the Ball they are joined by Nicole DiCocco in a white vintage “wedding gown” as she says her father called it, paired with a stunning fur and fabric bolero jacket. When she found the gown in a store in Palm Beach it needed absolutely no alterations. She quips that she’s all set should a marriage be in her future.

Dr. Susan Krysiewicz, Kim Hicks

Also in furry winter white were the dynamic duo of Dr. Susan Krysiewicz and her designer friend Kim Hicks. These two always come dressed to impress at the NYBG events as I realized that we often feature them. Hicks designed both of their fabulous white fluffy outfits and Dr. Susan stopped to show me her ivory mink pompom heels. Although she is a physician IRL (not just playing one on TV –wink) in her off time she is a bona fide fashionista who really enjoys getting dressed up for an event such as this. Designer Kim mentions that she’s currently working on adding creative and colorful furs– she sources the pricey pelts in Paris (say that three times fast)– into her line.

Jean Shafiroff in a Victor de Souza gown

Of course no social event of this magnitude would be complete without Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff who, although she is on the petite side, can always be guaranteed to have the biggest dress in the room. This one needs its own zip code! Accompanying both the dress and Ms. Shafiroff is its designer Victor de Souza, in a fetching metallic mint green suit,

Victor de Souza speaking with Alexandra Lebenthal

Jean somehow commandeers this magnificent Gone With the Wind frock to front and center as if she wears huge ballgowns every night–oh, that’s right– she does. VdS has outdone himself in this masterpiece which he worked on in stages. It didn’t get “inflated” until the last minute–somewhere there’s an entirely empty crinoline factory. Ms. Shafiroff who is working on a book about philanthropy to be published in February tells me that she is channeling Audrey Hepburn with the length of her white gloves which stop at the elbow rather than above it. Ok, maybe with the gloves but that dress is as far from a simple LBD as you can get!

Ana Arsov, Jasmina Denner & Nicole DiCocco

The crowd is a mix of well-heeled (and obviously well clothed) Millennials as well as those not quite Old Guard but certainly aged enough to be their aunties, uncles or dare I say it, moms and dads.

“Although technically it’s not, this really is a fashion event” remarks Ms. Shafiroff as dinner is called.

As I walk towards the exit, I overhear a man in a black and white patterned dinner jacket telling what must be a couple of “event newbies” that once you attend the Winter Wonderland Ball, you will be always come back. A well put testament to how even sans the-Yule-like weather, this event retains its charm.

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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