RSVIP: Schmuck-Free Dinner for "Dinner for Schmucks"
On his way inside, James Lipton, of the Actors Studio, with his scruffy black goat beard, mentioned that he has likely been the schmuck at a dinner party or two. "I suspect that people who had dinner with me felt they were having dinner with a schmuck," he offered in a modulated monotone. A "good seat" is what an excellent dinner partner is called in heady social circles. "But I think I suck," said Lipton. "I am not very good at it. My wife is superb. Everyone wants to know about the actors I've met, but that's the last thing I want to talk about."
Meanwhile, at the head of the red carpet, "SNL"'s Lorne Michaels glad handed Howard Stern, who wore fatigues with cargo pockets and a shirt that read "Star USA" on the back. Broad faced beauties Christie Brinkley and Candice Bergen Cheshire cat-smiled down the carpet. Lucy Punch, who plays Paul Rudd's crazy, sex-obsessed ex-girlfriend in the film, wore a dress by Christian Cota and Sergio Rossi shoes. "I've had a lot of dates with schmucks," she said. "They go on and on, complete disasters. Moronic. I think I attract these idiots."
Has Paul Rudd, wearing a suit by Marc Jacobs though the event was in part sponsored by Hugo Boss, dined with schmucks? "I'm sure somewhere along the way. . . . ," he admits after hemming and hawing politely. "I'd say yes."
Roach's uproariously funny film didn't disappoint. Afterward, Judy Licht and Jerry Della Femina, who own Della Femina restaurant in East Hampton, invited the A-list minions back to their brick manor by the sea in the estate section of East Hampton, a brisk stroll from Grey Gardens. Vanity Fair and Cinema Society hosted the glamorous dinner at one long table by the pool overlooking the crashing surf. No crashing bores. Three small bonfires, circled by Tiki torches glowed on the sand below. "This is the best way to have a party," said Licht, a TV fashion journalist. "All the fun and none of the work. And I like the medieval approach of the one long table."
During the Cinema Society's previous fete at the Della Femina residence, two half-length tables lit with tall votive candles flanked the pool. "But everyone wanted to be near the ocean," said Andrew Saffir, dapper founder of the Cinema Society. Saffir wore white pants by Brunello Cucinelli and a shirt custom tailored in Naples. "Guests had thought the table on the far side of the pool was the lesser table," he said. Instead, for "Schmucks," Saffir requested one long table for 120 down the side of the pool that faces the ocean.
During dinner, Luxist was seated next to the elegant artist Ahn Duong, formerly married to artist/director Julian Schnabel. Her fascinating Brazilian friend owns Lazy Point, a boutique in Amagansett, New York. We were joined by Richard Johnson, who writes "Page Six," the New York Post's popular gossip column. No schmucks here. Kyle MacLachlan of "Desperate Housewives" sat a stone's throw away with his wife, Desiree Gruber, who produces "Project Runway." Katie Couric's hair appeared flat in the humid breeze. The top anchor had her shoes off.
Rounding a corner of the pool, Luxist was careful not to take a Schmuck-like plunge into the water as we passed the hip designers Shoshanna Lonstein and Charlotte Ronson enroute to the buffet: fried chicken, BBQ shrimp with avocado corn relish, mac and cheese with truffle oil, bacon bites, and jalapenos.
Mary Giuliani, who catered the event, frequently cooks for stars. Once a year, she works with Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry's wife, also in East Hampton. "Jessica likes farm-fresh to table," said Giuliani, married to a cousin of the former New York City mayor. With some prodding, Guiliani mentioned other famous clients. She cooked a private tasting menu for the Rolling Stones during Patty Hanson's 50th birthday celebration. And "The Hangover" star Bradley Cooper hired her to cook at a Hamptons dinner party he hosted. "I went to college with him and ran into him when I was cooking for Alyssa Milano's wedding."
"The key to our dinner for 'Dinner for Schmucks," said Giuliani, who was also recently hired by 50 Cent, "was having enough waiters to clear the tables when people got up. We only had 120 seats for 200 people."
Espresso brownies and white chocolate s'mores were passed before revelers swarmed the bonfires in the wee hours. Most refreshing touch: Svedka popsicles served from a truck beside the valet station.