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More Than Parties, Premieres, And Pricy Galas

Originally Posted: June 19, 2008

Jennifer Tuesday

It's not all parties, premieres and pricey galas for the Hamptons glitterati. They didn't get those oceanfront estates and fancy gardens whiling away the day at the beach, you know. They work at it 24/7 - and sometimes they walk away to start something new. Not that I have anything against great parties especially those tossed by my friends for great causes.

One of the most work-obsessed is Susan Lyne who after four years as chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has stepped down for undisclosed reasons. Everyone credits her with the resuscitation of the Martha brand after Martha Stewart's "vacation" behind bars. Susan was puffing hard to keep the name bankable. So extensive were her responsibilities her old job is being split between two company executives.

Martha Stewart and Susan Lyne.

The media company that Wenda Harris Millard, currently president of media at MSLO, and Robin Marino, president of merchandising, would be co-CEOs. Susan is also stepping down as president but will remain a director and an adviser during an unspecified transition period. The company didn't disclose a reason for her departure. Susan in a brief statement said, "Four years ago when the Board asked me to take on this role, our principal goal was to rebuild the company and return it to profitability. We have done that. In the process we've launched some great new businesses, built an impressive management team and re-affirmed the enduring power of the Martha Stewart brand. While there is never a perfect time to depart, the company is on sound footing and we expect the transition to be very smooth". What she's not telling is where she's headed next after giving up her $3 million + a year - but you can bet it will be BIG.

I wanted to ask the domestic goddess myself when I ran into her and her assistant having a quick dim sum fix at the bar at Wei Fun in East Hampton but my pal didn't think that was a "way fun" thing to do. Next time I'm leaving my friend outside when I'm collecting dish.

What do Russell Simmons, Eric Dane, and Mary J. Blige all have in common? Besides their shared passion for helping the underprivileged, they recently designed three timepieces for Ernst Benz's limited-edition "Time for Change" collection in support of the nonprofit organization Chrysalis.

Dane designed the ultimate guy's watch. Inspired by aviation and performance, Dane's timepiece is reminiscent of a pilot's watch and looks like a stealth bomber. It's made of titanium with graphite on black detailing. If I land a guy this summer, this will be it!

Mary's watch a real dazzler is a joint collaboration with her husband, Kendu. Matching the couple's ultra-glam style, the 40-millimeter ChronoScope features a double row of diamonds set in an 18-karat rose gold bezel with caramel-colored alligator strap. Gorgeous but a little out of my price range at $18K.

Simmons chose to incorporate the seven Hindu chakras into his design. The watch showcases the symbol for the sixth chakra, referred to as the "third eye," which represents time. Also featured are Sanskrit numbers and the word 'Atman', meaning "spirit of man," centered on the dial. Seven differently colored nylon straps, one for each chakra, tie it all together.

Twenty-four numbered watches of each design were made, celebrating 24 years that the Chrysalis foundation has been helping economically disadvantaged and homeless people become self-sufficient through employment opportunities. The watches will be sold exclusively at Saks, Inc. this fall, with 50 percent of the proceeds benefiting Chrysalis.

The beautiful and very talented designer Rachel Roy is doing a happy dance now that the ginormous Jones Apparel Group formed a joint venture to develop, market and license the Rachel Roy fashion brand. Under the terms of the agreement, Jones owns 50 percent of the interest in the venture, formed with Rachel, her man Damon Dash and TSM Capital LLC. The company said the remaining interest is owned by Roy and Dash, the two founders of the Rachel Roy line, and TSM.

Rachel launched the fashion line in 2005 which is currently available in luxury department stores and select specialty stores both in the U.S. and overseas.

Jones plans to expand the brand globally, introduce new product categories and create special free-standing retail stores. Rachel will continue to lead the design, manufacturing and production of the brand.

In case you can't make it to Bali next winter, you might want to pick up a few pieces from Nicole Miller's Resort 2009 collection, which she presented in New York last week. Nicole's colorful collection of resort wear took its inspiration from traditional Balinese prints, which she applied to crinkled silk tops, sarongs, swimwear and dresses, punching up the colors along the way with bright, fruit-flavored colors.

Nicole Miller and Tatiana Platt at LongHouse Reserve.

Nicole told friends that when she was in St. Barts last winter, she had brought a mostly white wardrobe to wear. But when she arrived, she didn't feel like wearing white - she wanted to wear something more colorful. Her assistant had been on a trip to Bali and brought back all kinds of colorfully printed fabrics and traditional clothing. Guess what she'll be wearing in St. Bart's next year?

The stars came out on Armed Forces Day to attend a benefit at the Beverly Hills home of Patricia Kennedy, founder of Step Up 4 Vets and the designer of the Peace One Earth Medallion. Wayne Newton received the first Peace One Earth Medallion, and Stefanie Powers and Kate Linder were honored for their years of service to the USO. Brigadier General Michael R.S. Teilman, Executive Director of the USO of the Greater Los Angeles area, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. In addition, legendary Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and World War II veteran and actor Hugh O'Brian (who at age 17 was the youngest Drill Sergeant in Marine Corps history) were honored.

Special presentations were made to the many Veterans in attendance, including four who recently returned from Iraq: Sgt. Paul McQuigg (Marines), HM1 Aaron Q. Seibert (Navy), HN Phillip A. Mishaga (Navy) and Cameron White. A special presentation was made on behalf of Mark Metherell, the former Navy Seal who was recently killed in Iraq. Accepting for the Metherell family were his parents Alex and Pamela Metherell and sister Alison Metherell, and former Navy Seal and friend Tony Duchi.

Towards the end of the evening, all guests were presented with Peace One Earth Medallions, which were designed by Patricia and which are available to the public via the www.peaceoneearth.com website. A portion of the proceeds of these medallions, which the public is encouraged to purchase and inscribe to honor veterans they may wish to recognize, will go towards Step Up 4 Vets (www.stepup4vets.org), a non-profit organization aiding returning vets as they readjust, redirect, and rebuild their civilian lives.

Even though Hillary Clinton has been awesome in her help to Seventh Avenue, it seems the tide is changing and Hillary may no longer be in fashion now that some biggies are jumping on the Barack Obama bandwagon with their well shod feet. On Tuesday, Calvin Klein, Andre Leon Talley, Anna Wintour and her boyfriend, Shelby Bryan chaired An Evening with Michelle Obama, a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at the Sikkema Jenkins art gallery in Chelsea. For $2,300, guests were able to have their photo taken with the wannabe first lady. For $10,000, there was dinner after at Calvin's home his triplex in the Richard Meier designed building on Perry Street.

The most elegant party in recent memory has to be the Gatsby-esque Museum Ball to benefit that little jewel on the cultural landscape, the Nassau County Museum of Art. The over-the-top gala took place last Saturday and no amount of thunder, lightening and rain could put a damper on this posh bash.

The gala this year paid tribute to the very dear Stephen and Sharon Cuchel, long-time supporters of the respected museum. So well liked and appreciated are the Cuchel's that my close friends Dr. George and Amy Kane, Journal Co-Chairs amassed a huge volume of ads - of door stopper weight - filled with congratulatory messages to both couples.

Held on the magnificent sculpture filled grounds of the Museum, once the Frick Family estate, the evening began with champagne in the auction tent. It looked as if every shop in the Americana Manhassett shopping center was represented with nothing under $1,000! Prada, Armani, Tiffany, Cartier - you name a luxe brand and it was there for the taking, and leaving for a couple of grand.

Porschla Coleman and Russell Simmons.

Then it was off to another tent for cocktails where guests schmoozed and mingled in true Gold Coast splendor. Cocktails are my fave part of the evening as you can quickly scope out the whole scene of absolutely gorgeous folks, before you go into lockdown for dinner. Ran into the brilliant author Charles and Keming Riley, Iris Apfel whose very extensive wardrobe is on display at the Museum, the Museum's exec director Connie Schwartz, Tony and Deirdre Major, publisher Scott Neher with his cute niece Erica Neher, Jody and Tommy Morrison, Hamptonites MaryAnne and George Murtha, Susan Smith, Robin and Bill Porter, and the dynamic Ball Chairs Meredyth Smith and Julie Rinaldini plus scores more looking as if they has just stepped out of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

You gotta love him. Michael Bloomberg has given $60-million from his personal fortune to support hundreds of arts and social-service organizations over the next two years. Big Mike who's so busy running NYC asked the Carnegie Corporation of New York to distribute the money. In addition to grants, the 542 beneficiaries will also receive guidance and training on managing their organizations.

In typical Bloomie fashion, the recipients include small community groups and large well-known institutions, including the YMCA of Greater New York, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Batoto Yetu, an African dance center in Harlem, and Highbridge Voices, an after-school choir program in the Bronx.

Since 2002 he has given away about $175-million to New York groups through the Carnegie Corporation. Now he is creating the Bloomberg Family Foundation, which may take over distributing the grants once he is out of office. No surprise that Mike ranked #7 on the list of the country's most generous philanthropists.

Attention all you "Gossip Girl" fans, keep your eyes peeled when you're in the area! The Southampton Inn has some tony, young Upper East Side types in residence for a few days. Yup, the ultra-hot series is filming in our backyard and the cast and crew will be hanging 'round the neighborhood for the week. That means you've got a good chance of running into smokin' hot Leighton Meester, cute Chace Crawford and the other cast members. You might also see some of your friends as the casting folks spent the weekend at Pink Elephant looking for people who to portray polished UES types, sexy young Manhattan socialites, conservative preppies and chi-chi foo-foo bourgeois folks. Southampton hottie Emanuel Sylvano already shot several days with the show the other night

Seen Around the Villages:

 • Ethan Hawke was spotted having a quiet dinner for two with his expectant girlfriend Ryan Shawhughes at Matto in East Hampton. The pair sat next to the owner and dined on fresh pasta and local seafood.

 • Sam Champion, the "Good Morning America" weatherman, was spied picking up his weekly staples of pasta and cheese at Tutto Italiano.

 • Alec Baldwin dined solo at WEI FUN Sunday night at the bar scarfing up lots of appetizers, sesame noodles, and soup. Later that week, he did the raw at Citarella while a few feet away Alan Wyse (Kim Cattrall's younger stud) perused the produce.

 • Billy Joel and six other Harley Davidson-riding pals pulled into the Surf Shack in Napeague for lunch.

 • As always, Nick & Toni's is the place to spot the boldfaced crowd on any night. Just this week David Yurman, Patrick Demarchelier, April Gornik, and Robert Benton enjoyed their famed Mediterranean cuisine.

Fallout from the Vered incident: I was saddened to hear from my art crowd friends that the recent Memorial Day bust of Vered Gallery and fines for Walk Tall Gallery and John Varvatos have already had a dampening effect on business owners who are fearful of another series of raids. Reportedly, Wendy Wachtel of Walk Tall is still so shaken she won't have an opening party for the brilliant Michael McDowell whose lush tropically colored works just call for an exotic cocktail or two. Go see Michael's show than grab him and walkover to Rowdy Hall to buy him a congratulatory drink. You can still do that - I think.

'Til next week, Cheers!




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