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A Masked Gala Weekend

Originally Posted: November 01, 2005

With the trees showing their fall colors and the farm stands full of squash and pumpkins of every shape and size, fall has most definitely come to the East End. As the summer crowds part ways, the locals look forward to the upcoming holidays, and the younger residents especially, to the chance to dress up and get their heart (and a pillowcase) full of candy with intermingled "oohs" and "aahs" over their costumes. Of course, for the young at heart and not in years, there are always a few chances to dress up a bit while benefiting a good cause.

Jamie Drake and Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrate at
Pace Prints.

East Hampton resident Jamie Drake, who is one of the most talented and innovative interior designers in the world, has written his first book: "Jamie Drake's New American Glamour." Recently, 400 friends and fans at Pace Prints on East 57th Street joined him for a fabulous launch party on Wednesday, October 19, 2005, worthy of this gorgeous coffee table book that captures the lush, high-wattage eclecticism of his award-winning work. Among the guests were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long time client, Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, art consultant Michel Witmer, Parisian antique dealers extraordinaire Ondine de Rothschild and Ariane Dandois, gallery owner Tony Ingrao, Alexandra Penney, Jason Witcher, Sharon Hoge, Mallory and Roy Kean, Alison Mazzola, Stephen Jacoby, Arthur Dunnam, Melissa Berkelhammer, Jay Johnson and Tom Cashin, Michèle Gerber Klein, Heather and Alexander Cohane, Karen Teves, Stephen Sills and James "Ford" Hunniford, Maryann Restivo, Mark Epstein, Lauren Ezersky, Charlie Scheips, Robin Bell, Pilar Viladas, James Reginato, Harry Heissmann, and Nancy Corzine.

Drake created an installation that brought one of the rooms from the book to life for the occasion. The vignette featured vintage furniture from the 1890's to the 1950's, including a Russian gilt chair, a coral lacquered chinoisserie cocktail table, a pair of Eames stools covered in orange lizard and a mink throw from Ralph Lauren draped over a cream colored couch. On the peach and tangerine walls were stunning paintings by Francis Bacon, Frank Stella, and Chuck Close.

Rob Dipple and Robert Florio at the Suffolk Theatre Mask Gala.

With the city miles away, Halloween loomed on the horizon this past weekend all over the Hamptons and East End. In Riverhead, the Suffolk Theater's Board of Directors invited guests to dress "1930's Hollywood" when they came to the masked gala and got a chance to view the theater as it is being renovated. The Art Deco Theater has been on the block a few times in the last several years as town residents and theater fans fought to keep it from being destroyed, lobbying to have it restored as a performing arts center for both the North and South Forks.

Architects Ric Stott and Aaron Maller from Flynn Stott Architects were at the party organized by Events East with blueprints and 3D drawings and projections of the project for each step of the renovation. The details include the addition of extra stage space and support rooms for live performances, office space, and even two levels of residential apartments to be added. Flynn Stott seem especially well suited to the project as they were eager to answer even the more technical theater minded questions about the space.

Devoid of its seats, the theater gave ample space for guests to mingle over tasty hors d' oeuvres served by Food & Co and cocktails while they marveled at the details still intact in the theater, from the antique phone booth in the lobby, to the lavish ladies powder room in the balcony, topped off by the splendid though unlit chandelier overhead. One of the biggest questions of the evening - will they be keeping these? Rob Dippel, Executive Director of the project, answered with a resounding "yes" as he greeted the guests and led them through a memory montage of the significance the theater held for so many people, and how the redevelopment and reopening will open the doors to many more great memories, as well as a revitalized downtown and cultural center for Riverhead.

Guests were in high spirits as they danced to the lively swing style band, though with the heating system still under repair, many opted to skip the coat-check in the lobby to keep warm. While tuxedos and gowns were the easiest answer to the invite's request, many guests let their creative side shine with masks and costumes reminiscent of everything from the Phantom of the Opera to a touch of Howard Hughes.

Diana Capetto, Justine and Julia Charos, and Jimmy Walker
at the Southampton Publick House Halloween Costume Party.

After the gala, we were ready to warm up a bit, so we headed east to the Publick House where they invited guests for their annual costume contest, and a chance to sample their Octoberfest and Pumpkin Ales. Nearly everyone was dressed up as they crowded into the bar space and danced to tunes by DJ Lucienne.

The big costume hits of the evening included a trio of gorillas seen wandering the premises, and several paired costumes, including Hippies, Vikings, and a rather sultry looking pair of milkmaids visiting from South Africa on holiday. Even the staff got in on the fun as we spied a Pirate Brewmaster and a rather gothic looking Maitre 'd.

The evening helped to raise funds for Breast Cancer Research, wrapping up October which was "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," yet reminding us that it's a cause that could use support all year, not just for the one month. Pink ribbons were handed out at the door, and proudly worn on even the toughest looking costumes.

Hefty gift certificate prizes to the Publick House had us already thinking about our costumes for next year as we finally parted ways and headed home for the evening.

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