Last week on May 7th, I had the pleasure of attending the 26th annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon. Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous American landscape designer and the father of American landscape architecture, designed many renowned urban parks, including the very magnificent Central Park in NYC. The luncheon was held at the lovely Central Park Conservancy, and my dear friend, and landscape designer, Memrie Lewis is a member of the benefit committee. Memrie is pleased to report that more than 2.4 million dollars was raised that day, which will be used to help keep Central Park the glorious haven that it is. Hosted by The Women's Committee, the luncheon was so much fun. Hats were optional, but come take a look - it was a hat extravaganza!!
These gardens, restored by Lyndon Miller, are spacious and verdant, planted with lovely cherries, boxwood, taxus, azaleas, tulips, perennials, and other cultivators. I visited the park the day before the luncheon to see the gardens before the crowds converged - the tents were just being erected over the great lawn.
Wide bluestone paths, taxus (yew shrubs), and apples give a stately architecture to the gardens.
The most beautiful feature of the gardens is the raised pergola, situated to the west of The Great Lawn
and Fifth Avenue - parterres of boxwood, taxus, and wisteria vines. When Ralph Lauren celebrated his
fortieth anniversary in business, he held the party here in this garden - dinner was served under the
A wonderful view of the luncheon tent and the fountain looking east towards Fifth Avenue.
Karena, my wardrobe mistress, painting the soles of my Louboutins black - I am not a fan of the signature red soles and always change the red to black - this is easy if you use a broad sharpie.
I barely recognized my banker, Jane Heller and my publicist, Susan Magrino. They certainly look more like ladies who lunch than the hard working business ladies they really are. Their hats were made by Suzanne on East 61st Street.
I barely recognize myself - dressed in creamy white Marni and a Suzanne striped hat - I fit right in with
The first of many extraordinary â€œChapeauxâ€ that were worn to the luncheon. Once called â€œcoolieâ€ hats, this shapes is now more politically correct with the name â€œpagoda.â€
Some ladies wore their favorite hats from the past - some wore just nicely coiffed hair - others had new
expensive hats from the world's finest coutouriers.
A man!!! In a hat, no less.
a veritable garden in a brim
a better view of the roses and sweet peas
elegant, classic black and white
a wide brim with â€œcabbageâ€ roses
a sea of hats of all styles!
Artificial flowers are used on the brims and sometimes under the brims - here, huge cabbage roses.
More hats and lots and lots of cameras - Jane and her friends are right in the center
Before the lunch everyone was able to approve or disapprove of the hats and the spring dresses and suits -
the weather was warm and sunny so everyone was comfortable in short sleeves and no coats.
A silly top hat bedecked with chrysanthemums and striped ribbons.
Memrie Lewis in conservative black with tulle and her friend, Tara Rockefeller, in wide brimmed white
with striped French ribbon.
A down-turned straw brim and a crown surrounded with very lovely silk flowers.
Suzanne, herself, with a small, extraordinary hat of straw, netting, and feathers.
Brin in a bright orange Suzanne, embellished with hot pink - she actually bought her hat before the dress.
Another one of Jane's guests in white with black and white ostrich feathers.
Trin in pale blue-gray straw with delicate straw decoration - a perfect match for her Chanel suit.
One of Jane's young friends in a classic black straw.
Joann in a confection of net
This was one of the most elegant outfits at the lunch - I think it was Ralph Rucci.
The only long coat we saw that day - white linen with a feathered hat.
These two elegant ladies both bought the same dress and coat at Carolina Herrera - only the hats were
different! Of course they joked about the coincidence.
white netting on delicate white straw
more feathers on black straw
looks like raffia on a â€œpagodaâ€ shaped base
Strapless dresses were not uncommon - nor were low cut dresses - odd for a New York luncheon, but nice.
Blaine Trump in a flowered wide brimmed hat.
leopard printed straw
simple, like an easter hat
fine straw with lots of big flowers
plain and very elegant
a very pretty face under a very pretty hat
another very pretty face under an equally attractive, small hat
orange feathers and straw
tailored and chic
Decollete with hat and sunglasses
My friend, Amy Goldman in a pretty red hat - everyone at her table looked wonderful.
Elegant black straw - very well-made.
white straw with black and white feathers
Jane's hat was very well made and went well with her black and white Italian suit-dress.
Two of Jane's guests in really beautiful hats.
Jane and her friend, Dorothy Bandier.
Jane and I!
One of my favorite hats - made by a French designer - colorful and fanciful.
A great big pink straw hat with real peonies and feathers.
Two very lively tables - hosted by journalist Deborah Roberts, Al Roker's wife (in yellow).
Mayor Bloomberg made a short but very flattering speech - congratulating The Ladies Committee who
raised more than 2 million dollars for the park.
my hat in black and white
Prudence in red - she looked gorgeous.
very sexy and old fashioned
a pretty hat
one of the undulating hedges in the garden
Four charming interns who helped at the luncheon - they all work for The Conservancy.
a printed straw hat
The very prettiest lady at the lunch, I thought.
Joann up close - what an elegant hat!
My favorite hat of the day - colorful, pretty, fanciful, well-made, and very very attractive.
gorgeous flowers and woven straw
I loved this hat, too.
Silly but made a point - Sheep Meadow, Central Park.
very pretty too
Very sexy - looks a bit out of place in Central Park - maybe better in Paris?
A photographer, happy to be shot himself.