The French Heritage Society fetes Jean Shafiroff

Jean Shafiroff
Photo Patrick McMullan

On Thursday, September 22nd, 2022, guests gathered at the Park Avenue home of Jean and Martin Shafiroff to celebrate Jean’s being named Gilded Gala honoree for the French Heritage Gala’s upcoming celebration at the Union Club in New York on November 17th. The Paris shindig on October 15th will honor the Lauder family, Ann and William Van Ness, Elizabeth Segerstrom, and Barbara Tober at the Petit Palais.

Holly Holden, CeCe Black, Bonnie Comley & Stewart Lane, and Lucia Hwong Gordon
Photo Lieba Nesis

This 40th Anniversary blowout will feature a delectable dinner by four-starred Michelin chef Eric Frechon and illustrious guests Ambassador Philippe Etienne and Ambassador Denise Campbell for the paltry price of $1000. I still don’t fully comprehend what the French Heritage Society does, but it sounds official.

Jacques Acoca and Cheri Kaufman
Photo: Lieba Nesis

Its website says it has given over 600 restoration grants to properties throughout France and the United States and even raised $2.6 million for the Notre Dame Restoration Fund to help rebuild after the April 2019 fire. So it’s something to do with architecture and future generations.

Jean Shafiroff, Rebecca Seawright, Piet Sinthuchai, and Elizabeth Stribling
Photo: Lieba Nesis

They have also sponsored more than 500 students from prestigious universities who have studied abroad for internships. The gala in Paris is black tie long gowns, and anyone planning casual chic should return to the US. The Anniversary tour is currently sold out, but tickets to the gala still exist, and I encourage all the Madames and Monsieurs to act quickly.

Liliana Cavendish and Justin Franks
Photo: Lieba Nesis

Tonight in New York was reminiscent of pre-covid times when guests gathered at Jean and Martin’s home for monthly cocktails and photos. In a resplendent yellow cocktail dress by Oscar de la Renta, Jean exhorted guests to have a ball while acknowledging Francophile Elizabeth Stribling and CeCe Black are pivotal figures in the organization.

Susan Gutfreund and Jonathan LeWinter
Photo Lieba Nesis

Jean received an honorary citation from State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, who noted Jean’s preeminence on the society and philanthropy circuit in New York, Palm Beach, and the Hamptons. Some familiar faces were in the crowd, including legendary hostess Susan Gutfreund. She arrived with her dog and was lamenting the heavy traffic that prevented her from attending the previous evening’s Lang Lang gala.

Couri Hay
Photo Lieba Nesis

Famous Broadway producers Bonnie and Stewart Lane, Wendy Federman, Lady Liliana Cavendish, socialites Janna Bullock and Couri Hay, Ruth Miller and Jacques Acoca, Justin Franks and Jonathan LeWinter, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Candace Bushnell of Sex and the City, and designer Victor de Souza. Victor designs many of Jean’s magnanimous dresses, but tonight he was the fashion star in a vintage Balenciaga getup that outdid any so-called “street style star.”

Ruth Miller and Sylvia Hemingway
Photo Lieba Nesis

After a two-year hiatus, the New York gala season is in full swing as the upcoming week will host the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, and Carnegie Hall galas, where much of the same 600-person crowd will shell out $2,500 to enjoy the unparalleled social and cultural season that the Big Apple offers.

Our writer and photographer Lieba Nesis with Victor de Souza

It’s hard to fathom that less than a year ago, guests were confined to their homes to avert a life-threatening pandemic as the word covid has slowly receded from the casual conversation of partygoers. Whether attendees appreciate the ability to hug and kiss without gloves and masks remains to be seen.

Still, I am hopeful New Yorkers will dance and drink with abandon for an exciting two months in the City that barely sleeps.

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Lieba Nesis

My love of fashion, writing and photography were something that always dominated my lifestyle however it wasn't until I was approached by the editor of Lookonline that I realized I could utilize these three skills in combination.

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