Somewhere between the Limoges and Waterford at the Southampton Fresh Air Home’s Decorators-Designers-Dealers Sale and Auction Benefit Gala (D-D-D), another purposeful shopper bumped into me, sending half of the glass of red wine I was leading with into the air. In a slow motion Hamptons horror scene, all watched my cream colored cashmere outfit, as I stepped back and saved it. But, this was no bargain hunter’s hit and run. Many apologies and offers to pay for dry cleaning followed. After all, this event brings out the Old Hamptons. We may love beauty at a bargain, but, we don’t forget our manners. The Sopranos star Aida Turturro, a regular, even brought Edie Falco one year to wait patiently on the 5 p.m. early entry line.
“People really can score amazing pieces,” Charlotte Bonstrom Assaf, Southampton Fresh Air Home Board Member and D-D-D co-chair, (with Jeff Lincoln), said. “You have these dealers, decorators and designers who manage to find amazing vintage and antiques worth much more than we sell it for. It’s our longtime policy to make everybody happy. Donators give their piece its second life. We make money for the home, and people walk away feeling satisfied.”
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some transgressions through the years. “It used to be crazy,” remembered Bonstrom Assaf, of the rush to secure coveted silent auction items (that this year included European chateau wine tasting vacations and a backstage concert meet and greet with Sir Paul McCartney). “Now we’ve gone digital,” she said. “But it used to be putting pen to paper and I cannot tell you, sometimes, the catfights to get that last bid in. Some people would even hide the sheets to be the last one!”
It’s all for the kids, everyone loves to say. SFAH takes physically challenged youths from the city to their own special camp in the Hamptons, and provides yearly programs as well. “The children are so amazing,” the Swedish born co-chair continued. “I see them every summer, see the bond that they have between themselves. Once they’ve entered, they know they will be welcomed back. Year after year, they play together, support each other and learn from one another.”
The same can be said for those who come to sip, sup and shop. “It’s always held in the first Saturday in June,” Bonstrom Assaf continued, “so it is truly the opening event of the summer. We come here at a golden moment, when the sun is setting. Every year there are new faces, but there are also people who are very loyal to D-D-D. There is an excitement: Even if we take the Hamptons for granted, there is always giddiness when summer returns.”
For more information, visit www.sfah.org.