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2010 May 6

All Hats are On

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Gillian Miniter addressing the crowd Gillian Miniter addressing the crowd
NICK HUNT /PatrickMcMullan.com
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(NEW YORK) There is no place for nihilism, minimalism, or insecurity at the Central Park Conservancy's Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon. There is, however, room for jealousy. After all, we're talking about what's known as the Hat Luncheon---go empty-headed at your own risk. (Peggy Siegel, qu'est-ce que c'est?)

Bill Cunningham, David Patrick Columbia, and Nick Hunt stood at attention as a thousand-odd ladies (and a smattering of hommes) descended the stairs into the Observancy Garden, where they were greeted by a flock of hostesses anchored by Gillian Miniter, the president of the Women's Committee of the Central Park Conservancy. Eric Javitz, le responsable for the most fabulous hats, admired the procession of headgear.

Martha Stewart opted for her usual off-white ensemble, topped off by a shady straw style---a look echoed by Grace Hightower De Niro. Sigourney Weaver went for a Herrera-esque folded silk sheath topped off with a sleek chartreuse jacket and a simple straw style. Amy Fine Collins chose a striking leopard-print turban whose print was echoed in her sweater set. But it was the non-boldface names that provided the most eye candy in the hat department, from a cascade of pink feathers to a massively heavy sphere studded with fresh peonies.

Over a meal of chilled cucumber soup with dill goat cheese panna cotta and then (!) porcini-dusted chicken salad on an enoki soft herb nest (with truffled black quinoa and barley), the conversation revolved around the usual fare. You know, what sort of hat do you wear to an English wedding? What sort of hat do you wear to an English wedding when Her Majesty is in attendance? Glenda Bailey, in an architectural black straw style, looked perfectly radiant dining with Evelyn Lauder. New York State's First Lady, Michelle Paige Paterson, took the opportunity to catch up with her friend Debbie Bancroft.

Miniter then introduced the Thomas H. Glocer, the CEO of Thompson Reuters who served as the luncheon's corporate chairman. They presented the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards to Betsy Messerschmitt, a former president of the Women's Committee, and Patsy and Jeff Tarr, who funded the renovation of the West 100th Street Playground (now the Tarr Family Playground) and have pledged to fund another renovation.

Wednesday afternoon was at its sunniest and breeziest for the occasion. "Is that something special or what!" chuckled one M3 bus driver afterwards, as the driver-less filed on board the "Mink Line," as its known. "It's our one chance to wear a hat!" responded one rosy-cheeked rider, clutching her goodie bag of Lauder products and her token umbrella. "We deserve to let loose."
ASHLEY BAKER




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