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Photos of a Lifetime

Originally Posted: April 13, 2006

L. Marilyn Crawford, Audrey Smaltz, Joi Gordon, and Lu Willard
at April in Paris. Photo by Rob Rich

For one night the Marriott Marquis on Broadway was transformed into the City of Lights for the Annual April in Paris Gala and Auction to benefit Dress for Success, the organization that "suits" women for job interviews, helps them prepare resume and assist them in re-entering the workforce. The glittering evening honored Star Jones Reynolds, co-host of ABC's The View with the organizations first time ever Woman of Achievement Award. Longtime corporate supporters Kerastase of Paris and Chantelle received Corporate Citizenship Awards for their efforts on behalf of Dress for Success (DFS) and its clients.

Event chairwoman, La Grande Dame of Paris, fashion guru Audrey Smaltz, founder of The Ground Crew, planned every detail of the evening that reflected Parisian chic in all ways from the garden setting entryway to the Eiffel Tower replica to the exquisite menu. Top designer Jamie Drake - clad entirely in Dior Paris couture - oversaw the décor with great panache.

The sold-out event began with cocktails as guests wandered from room to room poring over the scores of auction lots that featured designer fashions, works of art, exotic vacations and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Star Jones Reynolds and Bobbi Brown at April in Paris.
Photo by Rob Rich

Amidst a flurry of flashbulbs and TV strobe lights, the evening's honoree Star Jones Reynolds arrived looking resplendent in a clinging flower embroidered Carmen Marc Valvo evening gown. The newly svelte co-host of The View and a longtime supporter of Dress for Success chatted about her commitment to the organization joking that she was one of it's biggest donors having contributed over 80 storage cartons of clothes from all of her different weight periods.

Sweeping off to the ballroom, she joined a glamorous crowd of fashion and retailing powers to dine on smoked trout mousse and braised beef with winter vegetables. Just as guests were seated, a small phalanx of balloon toting volunteers fanned through the crowd offering guests the opportunity to make their tables a little more festive and sold off some $30,000 worth. Denise and Larry Wohl's was so festooned it looked ready to take flight.

Honorary chairs for the evening were Tommy Hilfiger and music mogul Clarence Avant and his wife Jacquie. The committee including Lorraine Bracco, L. Marilyn Crawford, Bobbi Brown, Mimi Reisner, Elena Kiam, Lu Willard, Constance White, Nurit Kahane, Stacey Schieffelin, Jane Tugiler, Lloyd Boston, Coleen Finn, Dyann Klein, Kimora Lee and Russell Simmons helped pack the grand ballroom to overflowing. Fed Ex and Dress Barn were the generous Premiere Sponsors and Props for Today provided the elegant appointments for the evening.

The silent auction was jam packed with designer goodies from the likes of Lia Sophia, Chantelle, Bloomingdale's, Office Depot, Kerastase, Bobbi Brown, Models Prefer and fabulous fantasy vacations and one-of-a kind experiences. Funny lady Angela La Greca of ABC's The View fame kept the live auction moving at a rapid pace.

Audrey Smaltz, Joi Gordon, and Jamie Drake at April in Paris.
Photo by Rob Rich

David Craggs, President of Kerastase of Paris accepted the award and Sonja Winther, Vice-President, Chantelle accepted on behalf of the lingerie manufacturer. Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success presented the award to Reynolds who in turn gave Joi yet another dress that no longer fit her.

In a moving acceptance speech, the lawyer turned international television personality spoke movingly of her youth growing up in the Miller Homes housing projects in Trenton, New Jersey with a single mother who like everyone else in their community depended upon each other throwing rent parties and serving up fried chicken and potato salad. In citing the importance of DFS in building self-esteem in women Reynolds said "Do you know how hard it is to walk into a room and to know although you're qualified you look different if you don't have the right clothes." She said she gave her red cashmere pants suit that she wore for her audition for The View to the organization in hopes that it would bring its new wearer similar good luck.

Besides Reynolds' touching words, other highlights of the evening included a powerful performance by the ARC Choir and the video clips featuring many of the women helped by DFS, which now operates in 78 cities in the U.S., Great Britain and Canada. Other guests in attendance included Lisa Cabrera of Fox 5 with dashing actor Bobby Abid, Gail Marquis, Susan Fales Hill, Rocky and Keiko Aoki and some 600 more glamorous fashion and business leaders.

For more information about Dress for Success go to www.dressforsuccess.org.

Sean Byrnes and Helen Gurley Brown at the Scavullo Retro-
spective. Photo by Edward Callaghan

If there was one thing legendary photographer Francesco Scavullo knew about fashion. It was that the only thing that transcended style was beauty. In his over five decades career he never wavered in his pursuit of capturing the inner and outer beauty of his subjects.

The first retrospective of his enormous body of work proved this in portrait after portrait from fashion king Karl Lagerfeld to rocker Janis Joplin to screen goddess Sophia Loren. Sotheby's, The Fountain House and the Francesco Scavullo Foundation with the guidance of the late photographers longtime partner in life and business Sean Byrnes organized the show.

Event co-chairs fashion designer Katie Zorin and Lil Phillips of Lehman Brothers Private Banking recruited - very easily they noted - a stellar group of social dynamos headed up by Honorary Chairs Mikhail Baryshnikov and Susan Sarandon. Among the committee were Chris and Michelle Barish, Tessa Benson, Alison and George Brokaw, Alistair and Blair Clarke, James Creel, Bingo Gubelman, Zani Gugelman, Shoshanna and Josh Gruss, Dylan Lauren, Harrison Le Frak, Tinsley Mortimer, Charles Rockefeller, Charlotte Ronson, and Alison Woolworth.

Carmen dell'Orrifice, Marc Bouwer, and Paul Margulin at the
Scavullo Retrospective. Photo by Edward Callaghan

Over 600 guests swarmed through the gallery on Sotheby's seventh floor sipping cocktails and sampling tasty treats from The Fountain House, a 60 year old non-profit organization that provides employment, wellness and educational services to men, women and young adults with major mental illness.

Jamie Niven, Sotheby's popular auctioneer brought the crowd to order and ushered everyone into the auction room where oversized images of classic Scavullo works were flashed on the screen.

Town & Country editor Pamela Fiori took to the stage to introduce the woman with whom Scavullo had an extraordinary relationship for over thirty years, Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown. With Brown, Scavullo created the fabled "Cosmo girl" that graced the covers for three decades. Brown told the crowd "He made you feel gorgeous. He made you come on to the camera as though you were talking to a lover."

Friends and fans remember him fondly almost always with reference to his trademark sailor cap that he wore everywhere even to black tie galas and his zest for life, despite his own personal struggle with bi-polar disorder. Among the legion of friends that turned out were such old pals as the ageless Carmen dell'Orrifice, Mary Mc Fadden, Carole Baer, and Colin Lively all laughing about the good times.

Johnathan Bressler and Carol Baer at the Scavullo Retrospective.
Photo by Edward Callaghan

Though he is widely know for having shot every Cosmopolitan cover for over thirty years, his work was also featured in every top magazine around the world - Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Interview, Town & Country, Seventeen and Rolling Stone. Truly, Scavullo photographed the most famous personalities of the 20th Century. He pioneered innovative lighting techniques that brought high glamour to his subjects and helped launch the careers of models that included Farrah Fawcett, Rene Russo, and a then teenaged Brooke Shields who referred to him as "Uncle Frankie".

Scavullo will always be missed but his legacy will live on forever in the timely portraits he created.

Next week we'll have all the dish from the launch party for Carolyn Cianciotto's new Carolyn New York line at the G-Spa (Kwame Jackson - what a doll), Lars Bolander's Birthday celebration and opening of Caroline Chariot-Dayez's exhibition "The Fold" at his Gansevoort Street Gallery, and the dinner party at Pre:Post where the chic stopped on their way from the Safe Horizons benefit with Bobby Flay for dinner before heading over to Quo and Pink Elephant. You can get a sneak peek now in the ViewFinder photo galleries. Until then, stay stylish!

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