Tuesday, May 31, 2016

If It's May, It Must Be a Fashion Reunion Party

Once again, I attended the best-kept secret event of the spring fashion season in New York - the annual fashion-business reunion party hosted by model Nancy Donahue and hairdresser Harry King at a Lower Manhattan club, made possible by my beautiful-women picture blog.  Nancy invited me personally, and she goes out of her way to make sure I'm there and to make me feel welcome.  And, being in the company of beautiful women for over two hours, how could I not have had a good time? :-D    
This year's party brought out the regular guests who are there every year, and I was also eager to see a few models I'm friends with on Facebook but whom I've never met in person.  Alas, some of those very women, despite their intention of making it to the party, didn't show up.  The biggest surprises, though, were models I hadn't expected to attend who showed up.  And one of the biggest surprises was Anne Bezamat. 
Anne is originally from France, but she's lived in New York since the early eighties, when she established herself as a top model through her cover photographs on Cosmopolitan, the New York Times Magazine's fashion supplement, and New York magazine, among other assignments.  It was her August 1982 Cosmopolitan cover, as I noted here back in July 2012, that inspired me to finish a romantic poem that I'd gotten stuck on due to writer's block.  I've been a fan of hers ever since, and a Facebook friend of hers since 2009, but it was only at this party that  I finally got to meet her. She's a sweet and engaging woman, and her class and her taste remind me of everything I love about the French. Meeting her was a dream come true, 34 years in the making.  The picture of her shown above is my own. :-) 
So, she's now been photographed by Francesco Scavullo (who took the photo for that August 1982 Cosmopolitan cover), Tom Clayton, Jacques Silberstein, Barry Lategan, Lothar Schmid, and . . . me. :-)
I got another picture of mon amie Anne with another friend of mine, model Dawn Gallagher (right), flanking designer Barbara Tate. 
As surprising at it was to see Anne, nothing could have prepared me for the surprise I got when I recognized this model.
Beverly Lee was one of the first Asian-American models to break through in the fashion business, back in the seventies.  Her cool, exotic looks and her lustrous dark hair set my heart racing whenever  I saw her in a photo.  Because she keeps a low profile these days, she was the last woman I expected to see there.  When I saw her, I went up to her and just said, "Are you Beverly Lee?"  She was as astonished to be recognized as I was to recognize her, and she was even more amazed to learn I'd had a severe crush on her.  But she was very nice, and she took an interest in my blogging and photographic pursuits.  Here she is again, talking with a gentleman I could not identify, while her husband, Robert Muscovite, is on the right.  Both photos are mine.
I met her husband as well. "You're a lucky man!" I told him. I meant it, too.
Ironically, the biggest surprise concerned someone I never got to meet, or even photograph.  There was this very comely woman standing three feet away from me, wearing a purple blouse, and I could have sworn I saw her before . . . but I couldn't place her.  Only after she left, having made a brief appearance, did I find out that it was Patti Hansen!  
Yes, that Patti Hansen, Keith Richards' wife.  (The photo above is obviously not from the party.)  Richards is a lucky man, too.  Unlike Mr. Muscovite, the Rolling Stones' guitarist did not accompany his wife to the party.  See, the music played there was mostly late-seventies disco (though the Stones' own "[I Can't Get No] Satisfaction" somehow made it into the mix), and ol' Keith has made it clear that he's not a fan of that sort of music.  I remember reading that he even threatened a DJ at a party not to play any more disco records.  As Joe Queenan wrote about that incident, it was only disco, but Keith didn't like it.
Oh yeah, lest you think I made this part up,  I invite you to go to my art-director friend Fred De Vito's  account of the party, where you'll see his pictures of Patti Hansen . . . and several other photos, including this one of me with model Shanti Patty Owen! :-D  
With Liza looking down on us. ;-)
Back in the late seventies and early eighties, when Patty was her first name instead of her middle one, Ms. Owen was known for her edgy, sharp look.  If photographers wanted someone who had a hint of danger to her look, she was the model they got.  But Shanti, whose adopted name means "peace" in Sanskrit, is really a sweet, ebullient woman at heart, and she's a joy to be with.  As you can obviously see. :-)
I also reacquainted myself with Alva Chinn, one of those women that leave you in a better mood than you were in before.  And she introduced me to another such woman - Jany Tomba, one of the earliest black "supermodels."  A native of Haiti who came to America as a girl, Jany did numerous ads and editorials in the late sixties and early seventies.  Some enterprising chap with a Smartphone managed to get a picture of me with both Alva (left) and Jany.
I also got a picture taken of me and Jany together.
I had, in fact, made another friend.  But Jany wasn't the only new friend I made.  I also met Coco Mitchell, a leading black model of the 1980s who was a popular runway presence.  She's another nice woman; we actually left the party at the same time and we had a nice conversation on our respective ways home.  I took the photo of her below as she posed for fun for me and a few other guys with cameras.
And here are Coco and Jany together, also from my trusty camera.
I also met a few photographers - Stan Wan, Dustin Pittman - and a few other people who made their names in fashion behind the scenes.  Good people, all of them, and just as engaging as the models they worked with.
And last but certainly not least, there was . . . Nancy Donahue herself!  Again, my photo. :-) 
The hostess of the evening looked ravishing, as she always does, and she's always the life of her own party.  Everyone who dances at these parties can't hold a candle to her dancing. (I danced to one song this time, Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," though I did little more than move my feet left and right and pump my fist to the brass riffs.  Philip Bailey I am not.  Maybe next year, the club will play some Led Zeppelin or Bad Company so I can play air guitar to it! :-D) 
It was a night to remember, and definitely the best of Nancy's and Harry King's parties that I've ever attended.  And please take note that I did not divulge any private information about anyone here, except for some embarrassing information about myself - that being,  I can't dance! :-D 
I leave you with a group photo from the festivities, with photographer Dustin Pittman (in glasses) surrounded by some of the most beautiful women of all time - including models Asia Drykacz and Luanne Mirante - up front with Nancy.  
And there's Beverly Lee talking to me. ;-)
(P.S.  If Patti Hansen is reading this, I just want to say one thing: Can you tell your husband that I love his bass guitar intro riff on "Live With Me"?  And all the time I thought that was Bill Wyman!) 


julie said...

Hi Steve - I am trying to contact Beverly Lee on behalf of my cousin who was a friend of hers in the 70's/80's. Do you have any way of getting a message to her? I would appreciate it so much. Thank you!

Steve said...

I'm sorry, I don't know how to contact you. If you can give me a way of contacting you, maybe I can relay your question to someone else who knows her.