The Southampton Shelter held its sixth annual unconditional love gala at 6:30 PM this past Saturday. The event’s theme was the “Great Gatsby” and the home where the event took place was nothing short of Gatsbyesque. Being a Jewish Sabbath observer, I was confidently told by the manager at the hotel that Gin Lane, the address of the soirée, was a ten minute walk. However, three miles later I arrived at my destination dripping sweat from my face and sequined dress and an “ohmigod your makeup is smudged” reaction.
|Jean Shafiroff in Oscar de la Renta|
The venue for the event was nothing short of spectacular, with acres of land on the water and big white tents set up with chandeliers and white flowers. The chair of the event was Jean Shafiroff who has become the “first lady” of the Hamptons. It is nearly impossible to open up a Hamptons magazine or newspaper without seeing Jean on the pages, either running the event or being interviewed about her charitable causes. Jean is an ardent animal advocate and has adopted numerous dogs from various shelters, appearing at the dinner with her husband, daughter, and two of her dogs. Jean, wearing a vibrant Oscar de la Renta gown replete with a floral pattern and pink bow, managed to keep her hair tidied to perfection; while my frizzy confection left me embarrassed and hopeless. Jean spoke enthusiastically of the shelters’ importance in finding homes for animals and for employing a “no kill” policy, ranking it among the top ten percent of shelters in the United States.
|Margo and John Catsimatidis|
The event was emceed by Chuck Scarborough who is paradigmatic of the Hamptons man- tan, svelte, and educated. Some other notable attendees were John Catsimatidis, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Southampton mayor Mark Epley and Sharon Bush. I had the privilege of sitting next to Bush, ex wife of Neil and sister-in-law of W, and bonding over our mutual admiration for Joel Osteen, whom she counts as a close personal friend. Sharon’s radiant complexion and demeanor were inspiring and she led the dancing with her boyfriend Oscar.
|Mayor Mark Epley|
Another glowing skin attendee was Mayor Mark Epley whose tan would incur the envy of George Hamilton, proving that being mayor of Southampton is a rewarding endeavor as he was able to meet all three Kardashian sisters last year as well as mom Kris (the mayor commented that Kris was more attractive than he expected). The mayor said the Kardashians presence last summer was a “nonevent” as Hamptonites are used to seeing famous people and were unimpressed.
|Melissa and Laura Pashayan|
The mayor estimated that there were at least 20 billionaires in Southampton and that prices had risen about 25 to 30 percent in the past year. The mayor extolled the eclecticism of the Southampton community but the only diversity I viewed was that of the village’s Ferrari collection. The mayor has built up Southampton village by installing dog parks and boardwalks and continually developing the town, which is both immaculate and mobbed.
|Ladies in Gatsby attire|
As the guests returned to their seats for dinner and an auction I noticed the dinner was meatless, as expected at an animal loving event. The live and silent auction offered numerous goodies including a stay at the Golden Door Spa and the Fairmont hotel in Washington and bidders bid enthusiastically. While it was evident from the money raised that this was a well heeled crowd, most of the attendees appeared understatedly elegant wearing monochromatic colors and plain dresses, except for those in flapper dresses and gowns who adhered to the Gatsby theme. As the crowd began to dissipate at the early hour of 10:00 PM the Alex Donner orchestra continued playing Elvis and Sinatra songs.
As I exited the tents to the tune of “start spreading the news”, I wondered why no one had spread the news that the Hamptons is one of the great playgrounds for the rich and famous and worthy of at least one anthem paying tribute to its preeminence.