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No. 115 / 2017

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Denise Rich and Natalie Cole
Denise Rich and Natalie Cole
Reflections On A Fabulous Summer

HE parties and events slow down in the New York/Palm Beach circuit over the 2015 summer while everyone flies off to amazing locations and greener (and even cooler) pastures.

I went on a long trek through some of my favorite spots to relax, unwind, read, visit spas — and go to parties!  No matter where the jet setters are, you’ll find parties.  Right after Memorial Day comes the first round of fun and games — and sports. 

Royal Ascot is five days of fabulous fun (sometimes even in the sun). People come from around the world to put on their incredible finery and day jewels (quite distinct from the evening jewels!), don those fabulous Ascot hats and cheer the horses on.  Everyone who is anyone is there, led by the Queen and every senior member of the Royal Family.  If you have never been, put it on the top of your Bucket List immediately. It is an experience you will long cherish. 

On to Europe, to the south of France particularly, and St. Tropez specifically.  It’s made a resounding comeback these past few years. Everyone goes there — Beyonce, Jay Z, Diddy (and that oh so fabulous rented yacht!), Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio, the Kardashians (together and separately). The Russians are quickly claiming this exclusive area with their mass of money. (Hey, a billionaire outranks a mere multimillionaire any day!)

Denise Rich and Usher
Denise Rich and Usher
The parties are over the moon: $5 million for one such by a Russian oligarch. The last week of July is the week for the premier parties, and every day has a gallon of smaller dinners and then one humongous gala. If you’re not at one of these affairs, you’d better not be in St. Tropez. Of course, there’s the Red Cross Ball in Monaco, and gala evenings in Cannes or Nice. 

One of the biggest, most lavish, more VIP and celebrity filled parties is the one Denise Rich hosts for her family, friends and Angel Ball supporters. Over the years, just as the Angel Ball in New York gets bigger and more glamorous, so too does Denise’s party. Her ship, Lady Joy, is anchored in the harbor and everyone treks there under the watchful eye of security.  Joan Collins, Ivana Trump, Bill Wyman of the Stones, Jerry Hall, all the St. Tropez stalwarts party the night away—and make plans for the Angel Ball in October.

A special detour on my Parisian trip was a visit to the home and studio of Claude Monet in Giverny. I’m in love with the man and his work. It’s only in recent years that the house and gardens have been restored.  It’s little more than an hour out of Paris (pesky traffic, you know). 

The serenity takes hold as you approach this small village, and the colors that Monet captured so vivaciously are all alive here. When he moved to Giverny, it was a lovely little house that grew with his family.  His garden was essential to his wellbeing, and he became an expert in the art of both growing and painting flowers, trees, water. When he was alive, he and six workers attended the gardens. In recent years, some 40 gardeners take care of the space, the lily pond and all the flora and fauna that enriched his mind, his spirit, and his supreme talent. 

Josee Nadeau painting in Monet's Giverny garden
Josee Nadeau painting in Monet's Giverny garden
A friend, famed artist Josee Nadeau, had the unique privilege in painting in his studio, by his lily pond, in his garden. Her art is an exciting tribute to the work of the master (www.joseenadeau.com).

New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo — everywhere you go you’ll bump into friends from around the world.

P.S. When I was writing this sun-filled reflection of a marvelous summer, I was saddened to learn of the death of Natalie Cole.  Not only did she have an ENORMOUS talent, she was kind, caring, loving, generous, and always reaching out to help others on life’s journey.  She died at 65, and I am sure she’d say that the last 20 years have been God’s gift to her, and us.  Drugs and alcohol had almost taken her years ago, but a transplant restored her and she maintained her health as long as she could.  Now she’s gone, but her life and talent will never be forgotten. I am grateful for the times I spent with her; they are part of life’s enriching force.

Catherine Saxton has been a part of the New York social and celebrity scene for the past 25 years. She has worked with Presidents, Kings and Princes, plus celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Donald & Ivana Trump, Madonna, and on, and on.


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