2009 February 9

School of Dior

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Charlotte Sarkozy in Dior and Liya Kebede in Marc Jacobs coat Charlotte Sarkozy in Dior and Liya Kebede in Marc Jacobs coat
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(NEW YORK) “This most definitely doesn’t look like anything last year,” observed one guest at the Tenth Annual Lycée Français de New York Gala at 7 World Trade Center, benefitting the famed Upper East Side institution. The changes were overwhelmingly positive. The gathering was in co-chaired in part by Olivier and Charlotte Sarkozy and honored Dior’s Sidney Toledano. So gowns abounded, editors like Robbie Myers, Glenda Bailey, Cathy Horyn, and Virginia Smith showed face, and Toledano’s longtime friend Alex de Betak helped orchestrate the fundraiser with elaborate lighting and innovative table settings. In other words, it wasn’t a your average bake sale. “I’ve been a parent at Lycée Français for five years, but putting this gala together is harder than any PTA meeting,” smiled Mrs. Sarkozy while masterfully working the room.

But the Sarkozys weren’t the only recognizable present parents of the uptown staple. Living tennis demigod Yannick Noah, Catherine Malandrino, and Eric Ripert were others who came out to show support while kids mostly stayed home with the babysitters. “I’m kind of parent who drops one my kids at one time, and picks another one at completely different  hour,” offered Noah. “I’m just lucky to have a school that’s basically the best of both worlds. And it seems like that’s all I do these days is watch my kids.” Meanwhile, the Le Bernadin chef shared his own academic memories. “I didn’t excel in anything, that’s why I wound up being a chef,” Ripert admitted. “My son is good student, but at five, he thinks like a chef. He loves cooking desserts with me, appetizers, and crepes. Anything that he can!”

As the guests like Bettina Zilkha and Susan Fales-Hill settled in for a dinner of cured salmon and braised short rib, Toledano basked in his chic surroundings and recollected his own Lycée experience. “I went to Lycée Français in Casablanca, Morocco, and it was a great experience,” he glowingly said. “I graduated from with the math degree, so I had no clue I would work in fashion for rest of my life, even though I had relatives who worked in textiles, so maybe I was meant to do it. But you just never know!” Liya Kebede, meanwhile, came to support the cause with her husband, Kassy, but quickly pointed out that her own kids go to Dalton. “Thankfully, my children don’t have homework yet,” she pointed out. “But I’m waiting for it!”

After more than a million was raised and hundreds of pictures in the end of evening were taken, what was Mrs. Sarkozy looking forward to? “Well, there’s fashion week coming up,” she said. “But I’m only going shows to the shows that Alex (de Betak)  is producing. Thankfully, they’re all pretty good.”

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