Reflections On A Fabulous Summer
Denise Rich and Natalie Cole
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!)
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.
Denise Rich and Usher
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.
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).
Josee Nadeau painting in Monet's Giverny garden
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.