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Southampton Hospital Summer Party, A Centennial Celebration

Originally Posted: August 04, 2009

Edward Callaghan

The Alex Donner Orchestra performs at the Southampton Hospital Summer Party Centennial Celebration. Photos by John Wegorzewski

Southampton - Wickapogue Road resembled Hollywood Boulevard on Oscar Night as gleaming Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and vintage automobiles deposited group after group of glamorously attired guests for the 51st Annual Southampton Hospital Summer Party, A Centennial Celebration saluting The Hospital's "100 years of Healing" on Saturday, Aug. 1.

Joe and Sheila Fuchs with Robert Chaloner, President of Southampton Hospital.

Thanks to the efforts of Centennial Chair Sheila O'Malley Fuchs; Vice-Chairs, Mildred C. Brinn, Kay Gilman, Christine Gray, Margo MacNabb Nederlander, Robin Pickett, Jean Shafiroff, Barbara Smith, Melanie Wambold and Cindy Willis; Circle Sponsor Chairmen, Jean Remmel FitzSimmons and Ann Grimm; Honorary Dinner Chairmen, Audrey and Martin Gruss and Diane and Charles Holmes and President's Committee Chairmen, Nancy and Peter Larsen and Marion and Philip Piro, the turnout was enormous for the summer party held in what one wag terms "the mothership of all tents"!

Watching arrivals at the Summer Party is a big part of the fun as the ladies and gents pull out all the stops in dressing for this, the most important event of the Southampton social season. This year there was the added interest in eyeing the many couples who turned out in Victorian garb - lacy long-sleeved, high-necked dresses and straw hats for the ladies and Cricket jackets and skimmers for the men. Lisa and Rome Arnold and Rome's brother Christopher Arnold, Cindi Willis, Joy Marks, Audrey Gruss, and Gregory D'Elia were among those festively attired in circa 1909 dress with a nod to The Hospital's origins a century ago. Indeed the evening was inspired by a painting by Joaquin Sorolla, "A Walk on the Beach, 1909" - an image of two women in long white dresses, straw hats and parasols strolling on the sand. Guests were asked to evoke the spirit of the painting in their dress, and almost all did either by wearing white or lace.

Melanie Wambolt and Gregory Delia.

Adding more to the Academy Awards effect were the scores of gals wearing a cavalcade of the best of American and Parisian couture adorned with sparkling jewels from the haute-st of haute jewelers. Many of the ladies collaborated with their favorite designers to create dresses evocative of the theme. Centennial chair Sheila O'Malley Fuchs was the height of elegance in white silk with a black sash byDiane von Furstenberg (one of the evening's key sponsors); Honorary Chair the beautiful Christie Brinkley was a burst of sunshine in daffodil chiffon and a colorful necklace, both from Ralph Lauren; Ellen Scarborough on the arm of her husband Chuck, the evening's emcee was ravishing in Chanel; Vice chair Jean Shafiroffwas sexy in a strapless black and white - ditto Somers Farkas in Dior and Joanne de Guardiola in Carolina Herrera; Debbie Bancroft with New York's First Lady Michelle Paterson went for pal Vera Wang; Lucia Hwong Gordon was glittering in white accented gold by her good friend Dennis Basso and Fashion Committee co-chair Christina Greeven Cuomo was stunning in Chanel with as one female observer noted sported the "best accessory - her husband Chris". Christie Brinkley proved once again why the press loves her posing for photogs for over 45 minutes at various spots across the lawn.

Christie Brinkley and Sheila O'Malley Fuchs.

Inside the first massive tent, an enormous rectangular bar the size of a football field was easily able to accommodate the over 900 thirsty guests without any wait which gave everyone ample time to pour over the many silent auction offerings which were broken down into eight areas and ringed the tent. The Art & Photography table featured such desired works as paintings by Hunt Slonem, Michael Perez and Ron Burkhardt and photos by Lucille Khornak and Susan Meisel.

The Spa & Beauty Table - always a favorite with the ladies - offered special packages from the top salons, spas and stylists including famed hair stylists Louis Licari and Warren-Tricomi at The Plaza; Botox treatment from the respected Dr. Andrew Kornstein and workout sessions at Physique 57.

The Fashion & Accessories Table carried enough designer wear to fill a woman's closet for at least three seasons! Sumptuous handbags from Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Asprey and Prada to go with sparkling dresses from Nicole Miller, Naeem Khan and Shoshanna. The Jewelry Table looked like a pirate's chest of booty with gleaming bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings from the likes of Buccellati, Joan Hornig, David Yurman, Van Cleef & Arpels, Gucci and Rome and Lisa Arnold.

Marianne and Mayor Mark Eply.

The Home Table offered scores of decorative accents from such leading purveyors of unique home furnishings such as English Country Antiques, Bravura Gallery and Nancy Corzine.

For the always on the go nightlifers there were great bargains and one of a kind experiences to be had at the Night on the Town Table which carried such items as an elegant dinner for 10 from Four Seasons Caterer Southampton; a private picnic for 100 of your nearest and dearest (perfect for a family reunion!) from New York Picnic Company; tickets to the premiere of the upcoming Sarah Jessica Parker-Hugh Grant flick; pairs of tickets to the hottest Broadway musicals - "West Side Story," "Wicked" and "In the Heights" from Jimmy and Margo Nederlander, dinner for four at OSO at Southampton Inn by acclaimed chef Bryan Naylor and a riotous evening of song with a private performance by singer/pianist/raconteur Christopher Arnold performing his witty Hamptons song parodies in which he sends up life on the East End.

Amy and George Kane, Juliette Feffer, and Ashley Oberman.

The sports fans jammed the Sports & Leisure table vying for golf outings at Sebonack, National Links and a special outing with Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley at Southampton Golf Club; Giants ducats from Lynn and Frank Mara and Four Legends Suite seats behind the Yankee dugout courtesy of the Nederlander Families. For those with wanderlust there was an extraordinary array of travel options from a stay at Ashford Castle in Ireland to four days at the ultra luxe Raffles Hotel in Singapore to a week in a private villa in San Miguel, Mexico.

Ellen and Chuck Scarborough.

There was also a major raffle at $100 per ticket for some 50 items ranging from gorgeous Tamara Comolli jewelry to gleaming luggage to $25,000 cash! Auction and raffle chairs Lisa Arnold, Judy Dwyer, Andrea Greeven Douzet and NancyJane Loewy clearly left no stone unturned in their quest for such wonderful gifts.

Following the lengthy cocktail reception - not that anyone minded - guests slowly trickled into the dinner tent which was beautifully transformed into a Southampton garden with towering floral displays of blue hydrangeas atop blue and white striped covered tables with matching linens under lighting filled with lacy projections on the tent roof and walls artfully conceived by Design Chairmen Tony Urrutia and Steven Stolman.

Alex Donner took to the stage to lead his sprightly orchestra and immediately the parquet floor was filled with dancers swinging to the strains of Pennsylvania 6-5000 and other swing era melodies.

Chuck Scarborough, the consummate emcee, introduced Southampton Hospital President Robert Chaloner who warmly thanked the evening's chair Sheila O'Malley Fuchs, her hardworking committees and the attendees for their generous support in these difficult economic times. "We cannot thank them enough for their many hours of coordination, shepherding endless details that go into an event such as the Summer Party. This herculean effort enables Southampton Hospital to have the exceptional emergency services available 24/7 to everyone who lives, works and visits the East End", he stated.

Kay and Alex Donner.

He then welcomed to the stage all of the previous chairs and the 2009 chairs to join Honorary Chair Christie Brinkley who acknowledged all of her fellow chairs and broke up the room with her comment saying,"As a mother of three very active children involved in sports and all kind of activities I am all too familiar with our emergency room at Southampton Hospital." Continuing she said "l am grateful to know we have such a fine facility."

Following the speeches which were mercifully short but genuinely appreciative of the communal effort, guests lined up for an old fashioned spread of braised short ribs, chicken pot pie, roasted salmon and succotash from the talented chefs at Robbins-Wolfe Eventeurs. Dessert plates of cookies and chocolate raspberry and lemon meringue tarts were passed around the table.

Even though it was a large gathering almost everyone knew everyone else and the table hopping began. Jean and Martin Shafiroff always the most gracious hosts checked in on their guests at three tables. Amy and George Kaneintroduced guests Mary Skillern and Ann Liguorito the crowd at their tables. On the other side of the room, Gayle Perkins Atkins recently elected to the Metropolitan Museum's Board and her husband Charles warmly greeted old friends like Somers Farkas. All around the room folks bounced meeting new friends and saying hello to those friends of long standing. Among the crowd were producers Martin Richards, Bonnie Comley and Stewart Lane along with James and Margo Nederlander, Patricia Patterson, Cheri Kaufman, James and Whitney Fairchild, John and Alessandra Hubbell, Melanie and John Wambold, Diane and Charles Holmes, Zita Davisson and Gary Lawrance, Martin and Audrey Gruss, Marcy Warren, Betsy McCaughey, Kristi Witker, Walter Elliott, Patricia Stewart and Frank MacNamara, Steve Tanger, John and Ann Grimm, George and Joan Hornig and scores more too glittery to be believed.

Lisa and Rome Arnold, Chris Arnold and Ann Thomas.

Then The Alex Donner Orchestra stepped up the beat with a medley of favorite R&B classics such as "Mustang Sally." "Midnight Hour" and "Beat It" much to the delight of the Bay Boomers in the crowd.

As guests departed, each was handed a nautical beach bag from Madewell filled with gift certificates for Brooks Brothers shirts, jewelry from Christie Brinkley's new collection. Beauty products from Devi Kroell and Dior, Pop Chips, sandals, DVDs and music CD. All thanks to the efforts of Gift Bag Chair Joy Marks.

As always, it was the most elegant and fun event of the season which from the looks of the turnout and spirited bidding on auction items should turn out to be as successful a fundraising event as it was a fabulous party. Kudos to all the committees and especially Southampton Hospital's Marsha Kenny, Kathie Lucas and Priscilla Egan for helping to make the Centennial Celebration an unforgettable affair!


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