“Alice Mason, a great New York hostess, always told me, ‘Make sure you have a few controversial people at your party,'” Jean Shafiroff shared, “‘to give it life.'” And while she wouldn’t label anyone at her pre-Thanksgiving gathering ‘controversial,’ Shafiroff says “Mixing a broad spectrum of people makes for a more interesting cocktail.” Her Park Avenue floor through may be classic Upper East Side, but whom we find in it go home to all corners of the city. Walking around this night, we saw fashion designers, media types, politicos and, of course a healthy dose of New York notables and social stalwarts.
For example, fellow Couture Council Board Member Joan Hornig, who, with her husband John, hosted last summer’s $5,000-$50,000 Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Watermill; Christina Romelli from the New York Women’s Foundation, for which Jean throws a yearly luncheon at Le Cirque; and New York Mission Society Executive Director Elsie McCabb Thompson, (wife of NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson), another charity Jean has thrown her force behind. Jean gave them a donation to honor the evening.
Also there: Ellen’s Run Founder Julie Ratner, Cuomo Aide Erik Bottcher, Vanity Fair’s George Wayne, CNBC’s Melissa Lee, Avenue’s Randi Schatz, Janna Bullock, Sharon Bush, Rolf Heitmeyer, Jackie Weld Drake, Robin Cofer and Dominick D’Allleva, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Dr. Penny Grant and Broadway producers Bonnie Comley and Stewart Lane. Two pitbulls who roamed around like big spoiled pashas were from the Southampton Animal Shelter, whose benefit she will chair again this summer.
As a nod to the Couture Council (which supports the Museum at FIT), Jean asked all to sport autumn colors and included fashion designers Carol Hartig, who costumed NY Ballet, Victor de Souza, B. Michael, Maggie Norris, and Kithe Brewster.
Even with 150 people filling her Park Avenue floor through, Shafiroff felt a twinge that many of her friends had already left town. “It’s a funny time, that way, to throw a party,” she said, “But we have so much to be thankful for.” With her signature Veuve Clicquot flowing, we stayed well past the appointed end. Despite a case left over, there will be no holiday season parties. “There are already too many,” Shafiroff feels. But she has been known to throw a January soiree, “because we need it then.”
She was on the mark with this one. Without knowing that “Friendsgiving” — spending Thanksgiving with your friends, not family — is trending this season, Jean Shafiroff managed to give us both.