Haute List: Kristian Laliberte

By Kristian Laliberte


When publisher Seth Semilof approached me about writing some event coverage for Haute Living, I said yes without even thinking. Turns out that chronicling more than a month’s worth of New York City’s festivities (with Fashion Week in the middle, naturally!) while planning my own fashion show, opening up a consulting firm, and finding the perfect outfit almost every night was just a little harder than I anticipated. Though majoring in history doesn’t exactly qualify me for breezy write-ups, I soon warmed to the challenge with some help from my friends Belvedere and Ketel One, and, of course, my almost daily meals at restaurateur Andy King’s East Village Yacht Club (aka my de facto living room). Look for subjects as diverse as antiques and amFar-if you like what you see, I may be back next month with, let’s hope, a little more time and a lot less $5 sliders!

Winter Antiques Show Young Collectors’ Night
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Seventh Regiment Armory

Gilded, intricate, priceless, and exotic-these adjectives are equally applicable to both fashion and antiques. Indeed, at the ninth annual Young Collectors’ Night, hosts Mark Badgley and James Mischka’s creations competed with booths carrying every thing from Frank Lloyd Wright’s sculptures to an Egyptian bronze mummy. The procession of scholarly socials that wandered the halls of the Armory included art connoisseur Kipton Cronkite, Jay and Alison Aston, actress Annabel Vartanian, designer Nicole Hanley with bestie Elizabeth Meigher, Carrie Cloud, Lara Meiland Shaw, Tatiana Papanicolaou, Karen Glover, and Phoebe Gubelmann.

Two of my favorite fashionistas took a little bit of, uh, a different approach to their getup. Supermodel Maggie Rizer, clad in a belted dress by downtown costumier Catherine Fulmer and avant-garde jewelry from white-hot label Lizzie Fortunato, said she “wanted to provide a contrast to all the dark antiquities…I figured all the girls would be wearing something ultra traditional, so of course I went the opposite!” Also spotted was Chessy Wilson, whom was dressed by Messieurs Badgley and Mischka. “Actually the dress itself had a very classic flair with the dark blue coloring, expressive folds, and jeweled detailing,” exclaimed Wilson. “It reminded me of something one would find in an 18th century European portrait, so I thought it would fit in quite well!”

Guests left knowing that even if they didn’t buy a piece of history, they helped make it-all tickets sales contributed to the East Side House Settlement.

amfAR New York Gala
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Cipriani 42nd Street

Just one day before the official start of Fashion Week, the Foundation for AIDS Research held its 100th annual New York gala to honor French Vogue éditeur/fashion goddess Carine Roitfeld, iconic artist Julian Schnabel, and activist and Kennedy-scion Bobby Shriver. Kenneth Cole, chairman of amfAR, described the honorees in his opening remarks as a “diverse representation of the arts” as they were recognized for their contributions to the global struggle against AIDS.

 Agnelli heir and now designer Lapo Elkann donated two pairs of his bespoke Care Label limited-edition black diamond-encrusted jeans, which raised a total of $10,000 for amfAR.

The first tears of the night were spilled as Shriver outlined the accomplishments of the now globally renowned Project (Red) campaign, and we learned that it was Herb Ritts, a victim of the epidemic, that inspired Shriver on his life-changing quest. The waterworks continued as awards of courage were presented to Roitfeld and Schnabel by Marc Jacobs and Lou Reed respectively, with a not-so-brief interlude by legendary singer Barry Manilow. Solo on the stage, Manilow played almost all of his popular standards, peppered with remarks about his involvement in amfAR-which, appropriately enough, started decades ago with a phone call from Elizabeth Taylor.

Though La Liz couldn’t be present, the night was an all around success for the eradication of AIDS, with an exciting live auction with offerings that included a signed photograph by Herb Ritts (sold for $42,000) and a walk-on role in Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (sold for $15,000), a bid doubled by the film’s hot director, McG, for a total of $30,000. Finally, Agnelli heir and now designer Lapo Elkann donated two pairs of his bespoke Care Label limited-edition black diamond-encrusted jeans, which raised a total of $10,000 for amfAR.

Other do-gooders that helped the event raise a total of $900,000 included preppy couple Lauren Bush and David Lauren; actors Ben Foster, Molly Sims, Natasha Richardson, and Ashley Olsen; models Doutzen Kroes, Lily Donaldson, Liya Kebede and Natalia Vodianova; and designers Charlotte Ronson and Roberto Cavalli. The chicest look of the night, according to table-mate Annabel Vartanian: “Anything from Project (RED)-I’m waiting until Gap comes out with a gown…” So are we!

Elise Overland Fall 2008 Presentation
Friday, February 01, 2008
Milk Studios, Penthouse

Nymph-like Norwegian designer Elise Overland was the winner of the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation prize this year and her penthouse presentation showed us why. While I don’t usually stay at many straight-up presentations very long, Overland’s showing was more of a party than a preview, with a performance by Elefant front man Diego Garcia, and one of the most diverse crowds I’d seen all week. Alberta Ferretti’s recently appointed head of PR Annelise Peterson and presidential daughter Barbara Bush rubbed shoulders with the likes of Mark Hunter, aka the CobraSnake, and controversial artist Tom Sachs.

The hip who’s who of New York’s art, writing, and fashion communities converged to gawk and mingle at Overland’s very relevant designs. While she showed no prints and tended to stick to black, bursts of white, silver, and the omnipresent purple, the fashion set ate it up like the newest episode of Gossip Girl (how apropos that GG’s Taylor Momsen made one of her first fashion week showings at Elise!). Also spotted sipping St. Germain while watching the tableau vivant: Annabel Vartanian looking stunning in Form, Chiara Clemente, Vogue’s Meredith Melling Burke and Stephanie LaCava, handbag designer Sang A Im-Propp, photographer Douglas Friedman, and model Irina Lazareanu.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Vogue Italia, and Men’s Vogue host “50 Years of Italian Style” Photo Exhibition
Friday, February 1, 2008
Twelve 21

Who says that beer and fashion don’t go together? The two made for fine bedfellows when Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Vogue Italia hosted “50 Years of Italian Style,” a photo exhibition featuring international style icons from the magazine’s past five decades. Despite the line that wound round the block, New York A-listers filled the blue tinted Chelsea gallery space to admire some of this century’s most recognizable stars, models, and designers.

Surrounded by the radiant hosts Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, the spitting image of her mother, Isabella, and the Young Friends of Save Venice, including make-up maven Olivia Chantecaille and Vivre founder Eva Lorenzotti, guests sipped plentiful bottles of the Italian beer, or for the more delicate, glasses of Prosecco.

While I couldn’t take my eyes off model Hana Soukupova in a jaw dropping Rachel Roy cocktail dress, others like Thom Filicia, Shalom Harlow, Andre J, Donovan Leitch, and Vogue’s Elissa Lumley were more distracted by the colorful portraits lining the walls. When I asked the party’s publicist, Edward Padron, about the link between the tipple and the mag, he explained: “Peroni teamed up with Vogue Italia because the two brands embody the night’s celebration of Italian style. The perfect fit to kick off fashion week.”

Domaine de Canton presents Unruly Heir Fall 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
East Village Yacht Club

Just one day into the grueling schedule of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the young style elite mingled at the elegant East Village Yacht Club to celebrate the sophomore offering of “preppy with a twist” label Unruly Heir, a brand I’ve known and worked with since their inception. Guests admired the more than 25 new pieces presented by models lounging downstairs in a collection entitled “Sidewalk Swindlers & Socialite Scoundrels.”

On display was an updated version of their signature seersucker hoodie, skinny tuxedo suits in velvets and tweeds, and polos, t-shirts, and pocket linings emblazoned with artist John Gagliano’s sharp graphics, all paired with velvet embroidered slippers.

Revelers, who were provided with Domaine de Canton’s delectable ginger cocktails, included Alessandra Ford Balazs in her only fashion week appearance (she does go to high school, after all!), Kyle XY star Matt Dallas, Unruly Heir core supporters Luigi Tadini and Euan Rellie, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Addison O’Dea, Genevieve Jones, novelist Dana Vachon, David and Whitley Bouma Herbert, Colombian first daughter (and my best friend!) Maria Paz Gaviria with brother Senator Simon Gaviria, singer Marissa Bregman, actress Francesca Cecil, and the gorgeous Indre Vengris Rockefeller. Also on hand to lend their oh-so-pretty faces were Nicole Hanley, and, arriving very late but very fashionable, supermodel and designer Lydia Hearst.