Chic Masked Ball Gala Draws Top New York Names and Francophiles

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Alex Donner and Jean Shafiroff at the Proust Ball held at the Plaza, benefiting the French Heritage society.
Alex Donner and Jean Shafiroff at the Proust Ball held at the Plaza, benefiting the French Heritage society. Photo: Annie Watt

In a city where there seems to be a gala a night, it can be hard to stand out. But last week the French Heritage Society held one of the most glamorous fetes of the fall season, a masked ball dedicated to Proust. Part of the evening’s fun was guessing who was behind all those feathery, bejeweled masks during cocktail hour! R Couri Hay, the well-known man about town and public relations powerhouse, likened the gathering to Truman Capote’s famous black-and-while masked ball, also held at the Plaza. But or this gala, philanthropists, francophiles, and socials, turned out in every-color-of-the-rainbow Belle Époque attire.

RECandice Gonzalez, Isabelle Lefevbre-Vary_Natalie Bero
Candice Gonzalez and Isabelle Lefevbre-Vary
RECountess Dorothea de La Houssaye, Joan Kahn, Franck Laverdin_AnnieWatt
Countess Dorothea de La Houssaye, Joan Kahn and Franck Laverdin Photo: AnnieWatt
Kathleen Ryan, Liz McDermott== FHS Proust Ball 2016== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 16, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== photo - Patrick McMullan/PMC== == Kathleen Ryan; Liz McDermott
Kathleen Ryan and Liz McDermott ©Patrick McMullan.
Photo: Patrick McMullan/PMC
REFrench American ladies_AnnieWatt
Belles at the Proust Ball. Photo: AnnieWatt

The ball was held under the patronage of His Excellency Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States; His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and Mrs. Sophie L’Hélias-Delattre; Ms. Anne-Claire Legendre, Consul General of France in New York; Mrs. Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States; and in the presence of FHS Chairman Elizabeth Stribling and FHS President Comte Denis de Kergorlay. The Gala Chairmen included CeCe Black, Jean Doyen de Montaillou, Kazie Metzger Harvey, Kamie Lightburn, Ursula Lowerre, Deborah Royce, Jean Shafiroff, and Ann Van Ness, and New York Chapter Chairmen  Odile de Schiétère-Longchampt, Guy Robinson, Mitzi Perdue, Howard and Gretchen Leach, Marifé Hernandez, Sana Sabbagh, Cécilia de Lencquesaing, Jean-Hervé de Lencquesaing, Dorian Dumonteil, Ronald Fleming, Dena Kaye, Judy McLaren, and Thomas and Karine Michelon.

Patricia Bauman, Prince John Landrum Bryant, Charles Royce, Stanley and Betty DeForest Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Xavier Flouret, John and Carole French, Barbara and Donald Tober, Baroness Laurie Bodor, James G. Brooks, Jr., Yann Coatanlem, Comtesse Caroline and Louis Brownstone, George and Jeri Sape, Michael Kovner, Lee Black, Richard Lightburn, Baroness Véronique Bich, Marquis de Clapiers, Zita Davisson, Christian Draz , Kirk Henckels and Fernanda Kellogg, Joan Kahn, Liz McDermott, David Sadroff, Shaune Valerie Arp, Elie Denfert-Rochereau, Elizabeth Hartnett and Maureen Nash were members of the Benefit Committee.

Guests dined in the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom and danced to the music of Alex Donner and his orchestra, while celebrity auctioneer Nicholas Lowry led the live auction. This exceptionally festive event was a run-up to the the French Heritage Society’s 35th anniversary  in 2017, which will be highlighted by a gala at the historic Chateau de Compiegne in France.. Proceeds from the event will support the restoration of French architectural heritage.

About the French Heritage Society:  The non-profit American organization was created in 1982  and includes 10 chapters in the US and one in France. Through various activities and educational programs, FHS is dedicated to the preservation of French heritage in both countries. FHS has contributed to almost 500 restoration grants and helped secure almost $18 million dollars for historic monuments, buildings and gardens.

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