For many folks the holiday season slips into high gear with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade but anyone in the Hamptons will tell you the real harbinger of the holiday season is the annual Parrish Presents, the East End's largest flea market, gift bazaar, and silent auction.
After stuffing ourselves with turkey and other holiday treats, the sales and bazaars around town to kick off the holiday shopping were a welcome chance to burn off some of those extra calories.
The weekend-long event kicked off with an elegant cocktail party, a book signing by celebrated authors, and a chance to get first crack at the treasures unloaded by well-to-do Parrish Art Museum
neighbors and friends. Arriving just 15 minutes into the party, we watched as early bird shoppers were already groaning under their purchases, running to stuff them into their cars and make another foray into the flea market tent.
Obviously thrilled that the torrents had stopped, folks from up island, New York and Connecticut joined hundreds of locals much to the delight of Parrish Executive Eirector Trudy Kramer
. Cocktailing while poring over the exquisite designer offerings either up for auction or on sale were Gary
and Katherine Andreassen
, Anese Young
, Mira Weiss
, Anthony Petrillose
with his wife Kristen Roeder
, Kristi Witker
and husband Dick Coons
, Mildred Brinn
, Gillis MacGill Addison
, John D'Orazio
and Marty Gluck
, David Nadal
, Anne DeBrigard
, Erin Ferguson
, Tiffany Dubin
, and Dr. Evan
and Bonnie Nadal
The authors table was continually mobbed but we did get some skin care tips from New York Times
writer Alex Kuczynski
who was signing her expose of plastic surgery addiction, "Beauty Junkies", Victoria Amory
showed off her gorgeous new book of Palm Beach cookery,
"Delicious". Perennial party observer of the late 20th century Anthony Haden Guest
regaled us with tales of the nightlife scene in the decadent Studio 54
years as chronicled in "Disco Years". Appropriately sitting next to Guest were Christope Van Hohenberg
and Charlie Scheips
who were inscribing copies of the new "Andy Warhol
, The Day the Factory Died".
Lisa Votino-Tarrant and Kelli Bickman at Jade Nectar Gallery. Photo by Katrina Lovett
We had great fun with Paige Peterson
whose "Blackie, The Horse That Stood Still" is sure to be a big stocking stuffer for children and grown-ups alike. After excusing herself to check out the tent, she returned ten minutes later modeling an ankle length Revillion full length fox fur coat she had scooped up for $400. Not only is she a great artist but she's smart too. No wonder she was inducted into Guild Hall
's prestigious Academy of the Arts. So fascinating were the conversations, that we were barely able to get in a few silent auction bids before they closed the bidding and the bar vowing to return over the weekend.
As we were leaving we spied Christophe Von Hokenberg
heading up Job's Lane for yet another book signing at the Ferregut Tower Gallery where his images of the famous and infamous attendees at Warhol's memorial were on display.
After the chance to check several names off our gift list, we stopped at Jade Nectar Gallery in Southampton for their "Enchantment: Art for Children's Bedrooms" opening. Large whimsical paintings brightened the room, with everything from flowers and bugs to skateboards that would excite any young art fan.
The holidays tend to bring out the young at heart, and even the older collectors were abuzz with the possibilities, we had our eye on Kelli Bickman's
large unicorn print, maybe for our own grownup fairytale room. For guests not ready to take the plunge on large paintings, the gallery's own Lisa Votino-Tarrant
had several framed prints available that would compliment any décor. We couldn't resist a smile at the shot of the happy pig, and the snowman on the beach. Not necessarily limited to the kid's rooms, we could see them just as easily in any room that needs a smile.
Wine and sparkling cider made the drink choices family friendly as guests nibbled on a large spread of veggies and hors d'oeuvres. Soon to be renamed Lana Santorelli
Gallery East, we're marking our calendars to stop at their next exhibit in the New Year.
Pam Blackman, Andrea Shastid, and Karen Geldmacher at the Peconic Land Trust
Bazaar. Photo by Katrina Lovett
Continuing the trend of all under one roof shopping opportunities, the Peconic Land Trust hosted a Holiday Shopping Bazaar at the Baker House in East Hampton. Local Authors including Christian McLean
and Sylvia Mendelman
were on hand with several copies of their respective books, it was a great chance to pick up a signed copy for that collector on your list. We couldn't resist stopping to chat with Sylvia about the house's lengthy history, which paired well with the other antiques and gift baskets available - we had our eye on a few from the folks at Hound Hill Design.
With cold weather taking root, these shopping events are great for bringing several merchants and gift options together under one roof, without having to brave a mall. Much calmer than the more publicized 'After Thanksgiving Sales', we look forward to stopping back next year to do more shopping.
Saturday offered non-stop action on the art scene with openings, cocktail parties, signings and elegant dinner buffets from Southampton to East Hampton. Ann Madonia
, one of Job's Lanes treasures, offered three unique female artists with their works displayed amongst the beautiful antique furniture, art and curios for which the shop is noted. A friend of long standing Kimberly McSparran
whose roots in the village go back to colonial days likes to be called an industrial designer which she is. But the industries she works in range from fine tableware to textiles to wallpaper.
You probably don't realize it but you likely have some of Kimberly's glasses, luncheon plates, soup bowls or serving dishes in your cupboard as she's created extraordinary collections for Wedgwood, Mikasa, Pffaltzgraff and more. On display were elegant porcelain plates, vase and bowls with historic golf images in blue and white prototypes she created for the U.S. Open. But it was the group of oils of her and her friend's companion animals that had us all going "Aahhh".
, one of the country's most noted medical illustrators, showed the breadth of her talents with a series of insightful portraits and several small landscapes including a rendering of the landscape of the historic Port of Missing Men on Peconic Bay. Elaine Lavalle
who began as a painter found her true area of expression in figurative sculpture working in marble, wood and other materials. The show with a little bit of whimsy runs through December 22.
Didier Malige and Grace Coddington at The Antiques Shop.
Photo by John Wegorzewski
Over at The Antiques Shop in Bridgehampton we caught up with an old friend and major fashion world force, Vogue's Grace Codington
with her friend and creative collaborator photographer Didier Malige
. They were signing their new book, "The Catwalk Cats", a delightful compilation of faxes sent between them over 20 years that featured fanciful sketches of Grace's cats' adventures around the world. The sketches and hand written notes appear on the stationary of the posh hotels the cats, Puff, Bart et. al. "stayed" - The Ritz in Paris, The Ravillas in Japur and more. Grace as creative director for Vogue for some 30 years traveled the world extensively working with the great couturiers, super models, and renowned photographers.
Our terrifically sweet hosts, co-owners of the Americana filled emporium, Jolie Kelter
, Michael Malce
, Brian Ramaekers
and Barbara Trujillo
served up an elegant little buffet of duck breast and chutney, puff pastries filled with crab meat and huge chunks of foie gras for the slicing all washed down with splendid Sauvignons. Our compliments and thanks to chef Jeffery Trujillo and his Dark Horse Catering Company of Riverhead for a welcome respite from the usual wine and cheese offerings at most galleries.
We lingered longer than we should have, especially as we were next off to another fete. Having received an engraved invitation (rarely seen these days) from artist Michael Knigin
for a very exclusive showing of his works, we couldn't wait to get to The Studio and Gallery at Goodfriend Park adjacent to the Ross School in East Hampton.
Having never been there before, we were stunned to pull up to a massive contemporary building set in a grove of towering trees, housing two floors of gallery space. We learned it was built by art patron Stanley Blumenstein
to help patrons of the arts add to their collections in a more private home environment.
Joan Kraisky and Michael Knigin at his exclusive showing. Photo by John Wegorzewski
Artist William Falkenburg
was at the piano adding just the right sparkle as guests wandered through the bright high-ceilinged room an ideal setting for many of Knigin's oversized paintings. Dining on a sumptuous late supper buffet of poached salmon, enormous shrimp and still more foie gras were Haim Mizrahi
, Tom Steele
, JZ Holden
, Chris Norwood
, Frank Roccanova
, Kathleen Bifulco
, Lisa Tschurtschenthaler
, Frances Alenikoff
, Eva Growney
, Alison Sneed
, Julie Keyes
, Leslie Mandel-Herzog
, Tania Valverde
with son Tagor
, Debbie Tuma
and many more.
Soon the crowd moved on for stops at Butter Lane and the American Hotel
for some bracing vodka shots.
Sunday after gorging on cinnamon French toast at Fellingham's, we returned to the Parrish Presents in the hope of making one more big score. We were not the only ones as we ran into many friends who were on their third and a few on their fourth shopping safaris.
With the prices drastically reduced, savvy shoppers like interior designer Armand Caula
, lugging around huge Turkish pillows, and Watermill hair guru John D'Orazio
with yet five more stuffed shopping bags were queuing up to check out. To buy or not to buy? We even heard one shopper on the phone calling in prices on some rare prints to a friend, "They're a steal. You must get over here". We looked again at the piles of tres chere Etro
pants, sweaters, shirts, and jackets and found not one but two pairs of pants for $25 each a ring-the-bells-find if there ever was one. Needless to say we went home happy!
Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com