On Tuesday evening, Oscar de la Renta and Crystal Lourd hosted an intimate evening in honor of William Norwich and his new novel, My Mrs. Brown.
Guests at the soiree, which was held at de la Renta’s Melrose Place boutique, included Elisabeth Rohm, Eric Buterbaugh, Alicia Sanz, Virginie Degryse, Laurent Degryse, Maria Bell, Jacqui Getty, Jessica de Ruiter, Julie Jaffe, Jane Buckingham, Angela Janklow, Brooke Davenport and Rochelle Freestone, among others.
In Norwich’s novel,his protagonist, Mrs Emilia Brown, a woman of a “certain age” living in a frugal, useful, and wholly restrained life in bucolic Ashville, Rhode Island working as a cleaning woman, is in search of the “perfect dress” and, in a fitting manner given the party’s location, travels to New York to buy an Oscar de la Renta dress of her own after discovering “the dress” in a client’s closet. In essence, the novel is about a woman with a secret on a determined quest to buy a special dress that represents everything she wants to say about that secret…and herself. This isn’t a Cinderella confection; it’s a simple yet exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta sheath and jacket—a suit that Mrs. Brown realizes will say everything she has ever wished to convey about her life and the secret burden she carries.
And so Mrs. Brown begins her odyssey to purchase the dress. For not only is owning it a must, the intimidating trip to purchase it on Madison Avenue is essential as well. Mrs. Brown’s quiet life quickly becomes anything but, as she befriends three young women who help her save the money and plan her trip to New York City: her spunky and cynical neighbor Alice Danvers, international supermodel sensation Florida Noble, and chic, ambitious public relations executive Rachel Ames.
Many will be familiar with both that quest and with Norwich himself; the writer, editor, and video and television reporter is also the author of Learning to Drive as well as the children’s book Molly and the Magic Dress. Norwich also has written introductions and essays for many pictorial books.