Guilty (and Gilty!) Pleasure in Palm Beach

While folks back home were battling blizzards, Presidents Day weekend was a time of guilty pleasures in Palm Beach. Not only were we sheepishly basking in lovely sunny weather, but there were dozens of activities to keep us out and about


Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show Designer Rooms

The main event was the 11th annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show.  Friday night, hundreds of people flocked to the convention center for the opening night preview party where champagne and caviar were served to shoppers, private collectors, investors, museum curators, interior designers who came a day early to benefit the HOPE for Depression Research Foundation founded by Palm Beach resident Audrey Gruss to fund research into the origins, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression and related mood and emotional disorders.

There were 180 booths showing paintings, diamonds, sculptures, books, collector handbags and some dealers sold out during the run of the show. 

A highlight of this show is the HOPE Designer Showcase, five mock rooms created by noted designers to showcase merchandise drawn from vendors' stock.  Palm Beach decorator Scott Snyder coordinated this year's display, including his own richly traditional room, which featured a harpist and pianist serenading guests.  Other vignettes included Jennifer Post's sparkly room, a Greek isles themed setting by Jim Aman and John Meeks, Campion Platt's "back to nature" living room, and Bruce Bierman's dining room space featuring handfuls of taffy handed out to passersby. 

PALM BEACH OUTLETSMario Lopez at Palm Beach Outlets Opening

Another big opening was the launch of phase one of the new Palm Beach Outlets Mall. Lured by special weekend discounts of 50 percent off, shoppers jammed Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard at the I-95 exit and crowded into 100 new stores.

Television's Mario Lopez arrived on Saturday to host a fashion show with models showing off merchandise from mall stores inspired by the styles of celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna and Sofia Vergara.



Palm Beach dinner for the Ireland FundLater on Saturday evening, a huge ballroom at the Breakers was packed with emcee talk show host Katie Couric, honorary chairman and actor Michael Keaton and other patrons attending the 9th annual gala raising funds to preserve the endangered ecosystem that supports Florida's agricultural, boating, tourism, real estate, recreational and commercial fishing industries plus supplying drinking water for 7.5 million people.

Country Western was the theme and guests showed up in an array of fringed jackets, bandanas, fancy boots and Stetson hats. After dining on shrimp, steak, and a solid chocolate alligator, there was dancing to the three-time Grammy winning Zac Brown Band.


A few nights earlier, the Breakers had been the scene of the annual Palm Beach dinner for the Ireland Fund.  Star of Aer Lingus in-flight commercials for his popular New York City hotels, newly elected national president John Fitzpatrick was there in person as was Kieran McLoughlin, president and CEO of the Worldwide Ireland Funds, and my host former Ireland Fund president Charles Daly. 

With reports of flooding, felled trees, and 80 mile per hour winds, almost hurricane force, tormenting the Emerald Isle this week, many guests were concerned and pleased that some of the $300,000 raised will be allotted to help the island recover.   Stalwart fans of the Celtic isle, Palm Beach residents Lore Moran Dodge and Tom Quick chaired the evening.


Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

An art exhibit at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens brought together the work of three contemporary artists in works, which were a nod to courtly paintings of the past, juvenile and jungle pastels, and surrealistically feminine painting and sculptures.

Painted on mirrors, interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield's creations employ traces of Casanova and the Sun King, Boucher and Fragonard in depictions of coy nudes peeking out in front of our own reflections. 

A stack of cups, a dozing leopard, a comical hippo, a belly-up dinosaur, captives of stripes are among images that turn up in Cristina Grassi Sanpaolesi's colorful fanciful pastels.

Issues of feminine identity crop up in Edwina Sandys' bold positive/negative sculptures and paintings. 


David Webb: Society's Jeweler

Iconic leonine blond "Baby Jane" Holzer, 1954's "it" girl model who modeled for Vogue posed for Andy Warhol and starred in his films is the focus of an exhibit at the Norton Museum of Art. Fashion shots from Vogue are juxtaposed with Warhol's giant Baby Jane silk screens and snapshots of her hanging out with Mick Jagger, Gerard Malaga, Lou Reed. Projectors loop the ten 3-4 minute screen test films Warhol shot of her. Mannequins exhibit her museum quality outfits by Courreges, Balenciaga and Coco Chanel. In conclusion, visitors can shoot their own screen tests, which are transmitted back to their home computers.

Also at the Norton is "David Webb: Society's Jeweler," displaying the technically perfect jewels and objects the high-society craftsman created for clientele such as Jacqueline Onassis, Doris Duke and Diana Vreeland.


New York Mission Society

A tabletop covered with extravagant Sintessi earrings, brooches, necklaces tempted guests at a presentation and "friend-raiser" publicizing the upcoming Champions for Children Gala, which will benefit the New York City Mission Society.  At the Palm Beach event held in the Mary Mahony store on Worth Avenue, the pieces were being sold half price through arrangements with Sintessi principle Michel Piranesi who has donated a $15,000 diamond and sapphire pin,which will be auctioned at the benefit to be held March 12 in New York City. 

Gala Honoree Jean Shafiroff tried on a diamond collar and gala chair Stanley H. Rumbough greeted guests explaining that proceeds will enable the Mission Society to continue programs of education, prevention services and youth development for children, youth and families. 

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