Today’s dreary downpour didn’t keep the faithful away from Michael’s. After missing our usual Wednesday lunch last week (It seems the flu season is starting early this year), we were happy to see that the joint was jam packed with the usual suspects, plenty of fashionistas, and some interesting new folks we hadn’t run into before. (Tim Gunn and Grace Mirabella get my vote as the most interesting set of stylistas we’ve come across in this dining room for quite a while.)
But I knew someone important must be here when I spotted two formidable fellows at the bar. It turns out they were the bodyguards of multi-hyphenate Pharrell Williams who, I must admit, I didn’t immediately recognize because he was somewhat hidden under his red ski cap. The musician-producer-composer and fashion designer (Billionaire Boys Club, Ice Cream Clothing) sure knows who to dress to impress. We were coveting his Chanel sneakers. A man of unique personal style to be sure.
I was joined today by my good friend Dr. Phillip Romero who is keeping pretty busy these days. Phil is in the process of moving into chic new midtown digs where, in addition to seeing patients for his practice as a family therapist, he’ll be launching a new business venture which will include classes and seminars on “family resilience” for parents. In his spare time, he’s also getting a lot of interest from several media companies who want to bring his fascinating book, The Art Imperative, to television. I just had to ask Phil what he thought of New York’s cover story about the recession era, post-hope generation who are grappling with the harsh reality of coming of age in this era of uncertainty. One reason these young people are struggling so much, says Phil, is because they were “over parented” and “didn’t learn to take care of themselves.” He says many overprotective parents will inflict the same fate on their children if they’re not careful. “It’s a cultural problem,” he says. “Parents want to protect their kids from the things they struggled with but, in doing so, focus on their own past instead of being involved in the present and their child’s own needs. They wind up saddling kids with the parents’ problems that have nothing to do with their own life. Kids have to be free to create themselves.”
When it comes to dealing with the ‘new normal’ on a macro level, Phil offers this bit of advice which, to me, sounds like a universal prescription: “The enemy is not the economy, or your spouse, or all the new technology. Today the enemy is chronic relationship stress that tears families apart. When it takes hold, you forget how to love. When we can learn to master this stress and we can change our brain response to the stress triggers in our relationships at home, at work and in the world.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Lynn de Rothschild (Andrew Stein’s ex, in case you were wondering)
2. Wayne Kabak and UTA’s Simon Trewin
3. Michael Fuchs
4. Jacqui Safra (Jean Doumanian’s hubby)
5. Frank Gifford and Herb Siegel
6. Most of ‘The Imber Gang:” Dr. Gerald Imber, Jeff Greenfield and Jerry Della Femina
7. Niche Media founder Jason Binn, presiding over a jam packed table which included Fox & Friends‘ Brian Kilmeade. Jason, who always works the room like nobody’s business, stopped Pharrell Williams as he was heading out to snap a few pics of the rapper and introduce him to the table.
8. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Project Runway’s Tim Gunn and fashion legend Grace Mirabella
9. Dr. Phillip Romero and yours truly
10. Fern Mallis, who was nice enough to introduce me to her friend Fred Siegel. Fern landed a two-page spread in today’s WWD on her 92nd Street Y interview with Calvin Klein. “Calvin was amazing,” she told me. Fern’s interviews have been a huge success; she did a sit-down at the Y with Norma Kamali last month, and there are plenty more planned for the coming months. More good news: Fern is taking the interview series to Sirius Radio and calling the chats Fashion Insider. Bravo!
11. Accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh and Bill Rondina
12. Music man Irving Azoff, hosting Pharrell Williams and his entourage
14. Random House EVP Jon Meacham and Eric Simonoff
15. Attorney Richard Descherer
16. Diet diva Nikki Haskell, who looked to be beguiling a table full of business types with her latest innovation
81. Social swan Candia Fisher
82. Bill McNabb
17. Daniel Glass and Phoenix’s front man Thomas Mars. In case you didn’t know, the vocalist is married to Sofia Coppola.
18. Patriarch Partners’ Randy Jones, looking dapper as ever
19. Bill Susman
20. Judy Licht (Jerry Della Femina’s better half) and a handsome young fellow we didn’t get to meet
21. MySpace honcho and entrepreneur Jason Hirschhorn
22. Rachael Ayotte
23. Stephens’ Bob Towbin
24. Bankruptcy expert Michael Sitrick
26. The early bird gets the email: tech guru Shelly Palmer, who was glued to his laptop until his pal arrived
27. TV Guide’s Jack Kliger and two well-heeled gents
28. John Arnhold
29. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and Lewis Stein. I arrived about the same time as David, and before we went off to our respective tables we traded observations on our mutual addiction: The Real Housewives of New Jersey. We both agreed that the reunion show was train wreck television at its best. “I tried to avoid it as long as I could,” David told me. “Somehow it wound up as my favorite show.” We completely understand. And, it should be said, we couldn’t be happier now that Teresa Giudice has been revealed to be the witch we always thought she was. Team Caroline!
Faces in the crowd: Producer Beverly Camhe with Joe Jenckes who is hotter than hot right now as one of the producers of the new timely film Margin Call which takes place all in one night and shows how easily lives can be ruined by a spilt second ‘business’ decision. Bev introduced Joe to Bob Towbin and Michael Fuchs who, coincidentally did Barbarians at the Gate during his tenure at HBO. Busier than ever with her new company, Park View Pictures, Bev is also delving into the dark side of Wall Street as executive producer of a documentary on the inside story behind Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme through the eyes of his longtime secretary, Eleanor Squillari. We’re looking forward to seeing the rough cut soon!
Also spotted: InStyle‘s Hal Rubenstein and Us Weekly’s Sasha Charnin Morrison at separate tables in the Garden Room … Nick E. Rubinstein at the bar. Great seeing you!
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