|12/2. Last night in New York. Down at Tiffany’s, there was a dinner for 130 in honor of John Loring who is “retiring” after thirty years as Design Director of Tiffany. Parties in stores are inevitably commercial ventures for the obvious reasons. However, Tiffany is Tiffany and even inevitable commercial isn’t like anything else, even non-.
However this wasn’t a store party, as I learned as I entered the reception room where they were holding cocktails (white wine, champagne or water). There were lots of familiar faces as well as some rarely seen familiar faces, as well as a mix that wasn’t so predictable. It turned out to be John’s guest list, of people who have been in his orbit, in his sphere of interest, of his friendship. There was Arlene Dahl. There was Fran Lebowitz. There was Paige Rense and Ken Noland, and there was Paloma Picasso and her mother Francoise Gilot. A wide array of New Yorkers and the world.
Among them: Michael Vollbracht, Carmen dell’ Orefice, Kohle Yohannan, Anka Palitez, Tom and Diahnn McGrath, Bob Bradford and Barbara Taylor Bradford, Christopher Mason, Randy and Connie Jones, Margo Langenberg, Anne Slater and John Cahill, Kenny Lane, Wendy Moonan, Nina and Tim Zagat, Joanne and Roberto de Guardiola, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Matt White and Tom Schumacher, Bob and Bea Guthrie, Ashton Hawkins, Marc Rosen, Steven and Kimberly Rockefeller, Jane Gaillard, Enid Nemy, Aileen Mehle, Richard Kaplan and Edwina Sandys, Richard and Karen LeFrak, Annette Tapert, Charles and Clo Cohen, Sandra McConnell and Chris Obetz, Ellen Graham, Gigi and Harry Benson, Fernanda Kellogg and Kurt Henckels, Mary Hilliard and Leonard Harris, Beth Canavan, Peter Schlesinger, Mario Buatta, Jeremy Wren, Barbara Cates, Candy Pratts-Price and lots more whom I hadn’t met or didn’t know. John Loring has lots and lots of friends.
The menu: Pan-Seared Scallops and Caramelized Lime, Mache and Cudrly Frisee; Marinated HangerSteak, Tricolor Cherry Tomatoes and Pomes Gaufeiettes; Sauteed Spinach with Pignoli Nuts, followed by Chocolate Souffle Cake, Fresh Raspberries, Peppermint Stick Ice Cream.
Mike Kowalski, the President of Tiffany gave the introductory toast. I’ve heard Mr. Kowalski speak several times over the years at the Tiffany luncheons. He has a way of telling you about the company’s business, its progress, etc., as if it’s your company and your progress. You think, gee, this is good, as if he’s talking about your life. It’s a kind of down home, not quite aw-shucks -- because he’s quite resolute in his delivery -- and interesting. Tiffany was a rather small business grossing in the low nine figures and four or five stores when John Loring came on board. Last year there were more than 200 Tiffany stores around the world, grossing more than $3 billion. John Loring’s input, according to Mr. Kowalski, had a lot to do with that progress.