Last Lunch of the Year: Huma Abedin, Rikki Klieman and the Media Mob

The artic temperatures and snow (It’s not even Christmas and we’re over it already!) couldn’t keep the faithful from 55th and Fifth today as the towncar set squeezed in the last Wednesday power lunch of 2013.

The usual contingent of media mavens (Connie Anne Phillips, Gerry Byrne), spin meisters (Tom Goodman) and fashionistas (Fern Mallis, Jaqui Lividini and LaVelle Olexa) were well represented, as there was plenty of air-kissing and glad-handing behind every poinsettia. After our own head-spinning schedule of sitdowns with A-listers of every description for our regular Wednesday confabs this season — along with a few “special” lunches (We’re still recovering from last week’s double bill of  “The Cosmo 100” and a Thursday lunch with Downton Abbey executive creator Gareth Neame), I decided to go solo today after my date came down with the flu.

Diane Clehane with Michael McCarty

Making the rounds in the dining room gave me the chance to catch up with a lot of folks I’ve spotted as they’ve sailed past my table over the past few months. I just had to go over to Marie Claire editrix Anne Fulenwider’s table to find out what she was wearing. “It’s Alberta Ferretti,” she told me as she petted her fabulous faux fur shrug. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say Anne’s upped her own personal fashion quotient quite a bit since ascending to the top spot at the Hearst title. Well done!

We were in midst of talking fashion and about the upcoming season of Downton Abbey (Anne wanted all the details from my chat with Gareth) when her lunch date, none other than Huma Abedin arrived. It turns out Anne and Huma only recently met at an event highlighting the plight of elephants and the illegal harvesting of ivory. I kid you not. While Mrs. Anthony Weiner seemed absolutely lovely, I guess it’s only natural given what’s she’s been through the past year that she seemed a bit skittish to find a stranger standing at her table chatting with her new friend.

The scene in the dining room

After we exchanged pleasantries (She was wearing faux fur too!) and she jokingly pleaded with me not to disclose any spoilers about Downton or Homeland (“I’m really behind and have to catch up”), I saw something in her eyes that told me it was best to say my goodbyes. I’ll have to ask Anne if she plans to have Huma write a piece for Marie Claire since her last essay for Harper’s Bazaar, in which she reiterated her love for her husband on the eve of the NYC mayoral election, got more than its fair share of attention. “Putting yourself out there comes with a cost,” she wrote. I bet, but some days it’s better to be just another swell among the glitterati.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Glamour‘s publisher Connie Anne Phillips, presiding over a table full of pals

2. Fashionista Jaqui Lividini and pals

3. Producer Francine LeFrak

4. The always-dapper (and gentlemanly) John O’Keefe

5. Andrew Stein

6. Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer

7. Us Weekly‘s publisher Vicky Lasdon Rose and three guests we didn’t recognize

8. David Patrick Columbia with Rikki Klieman, wife of the incoming NYPD head William Bratton. No doubt the publicity-loving power couple will be making regular appearances in DPC’s New York Social Diary now that they’re back on Gotham’s social scene as part of the de Blasio administration.

11. Fern Mallis and LaVelle Olexa

12. Katherine Oliver. We’re wondering what’s next for the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment now that her mentor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is cleaning out his desk. After all the inroads Katherine has formed with the honchos in the entertainment industry, surely an even bigger perch with the Hollywood on the Hudson set is in the cards…

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