A Pair of East End Fundraisers
Wasn't this meant to be the summer when the Hamptons returned to being a
quiet, party-free zone? On Saturday, there were not one but two
large-scale benefits, each with their own art auction. In East Hampton,
Russell Simmons opened up his house for the tenth anniversary Art for
Life party for his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a charity that
supports public artistic projects for children in the city. A range of
guests—Tila Tequila, various Real Housewives of New York City,
on everything from a Louis Vuitton
monogrammed handbag to works by the evening's featured artist, Shepard
Fairey (he of Obama HOPE poster fame). "I know people think I have an
affection for music and for fashion," Simmons said before dinner, "but I
know a thing or two about art, too."
A town over, in Bridgehampton, meanwhile, revelers were whisked by golf cart past the rows of vineyards, horse stables, and the long, long swimming pool that make up Steven Klein's estate. The photographer was co-hosting a party with Calvin Klein Collection and Vanity Fair for ACRIA, the AIDS charity. It was billed as a sunset fête, and a number of the VIP committee members, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa, were early to arrive. In the case of those two, they were also early to leave, claiming kids at home and a dinner party, respectively. "But I love the horses," Costa assured us. "And this place is just a tad nicer than Belmont [race track]." Not that the departing duo left too much of a hole, as Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Rachel Zoe, Tamara Mellon, and the handsome, handpicked male-model waiters quickly filled in the gaps. "I'm a married woman, but I can still look for my friends," Saltzman Walker said. "Lots of boys here tonight." In addition to the beefcake and the booze, there were several more reasons to stay till last call: namely, the contents of the silent auction, which included works from artists like Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel, and Ross Bleckner. At the end of the evening, Steven Klein stood with his friend and current collaborator Daphne Guinness, watching the golf carts round up lingering guests. "Everyone keeps thanking me," he said. "But I didn't really do much. There are loads of other people that they should be thanking, but it's a pleasure to do something for such a great charity."