Last night I got a VIP invitation to the unveiling of Barneys holiday window, its theme: "Have A Foodie Holiday." And the reason I was on the guest list? I'm one of the 60 culinary icons chosen to adorn the window, along with Paula Deen, Jamie Oliver, Bobby Flay, Julia Child, Tom Colicchio, Nigella Lawson, Mario Batali, Rachael Ray, Jaques Pepin, Dana Cowin, Gail Simmons, and James Beard.
Can I say, when I first got the email about all of this, I didn't believe it. I thought, that when I signed the model release form for using my image, they were just considering me. When I got the invitation I thought I was being invited as press. Then the event's host Lee Schrager emailed me the details about arriving and walking the red carpet and I knew it was true. Was I thrilled? Tickled? Bowled over onto the couch? You bet!
Then the reality hit me. I had nothing to wear. I considered a black and gold Mayle cocktail dress that I had, years ago, purchased at Barneys (on super duper final sale). It was pretty, but it didn't look good with the flat shoes I needed to wear because of my broken toe as per doctor's orders (Actually, the doctor wanted me to sport an ugly black boot but I rebelled.) Next I tried on a black trouser-black shirt combo, which I spruced up with a feather stole that was originally part of my wedding ensemble. My assistant was all for it - but when I heard her enthusiastically compare my outfit to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, I decided I might be dressing a little too, er, rock and roll for the event. Finally I switched to a snazzy metallic bronze top, ditched the feathers, and paired it all with a vintage emerald green and gold silk coat that used to belong to my mother's cousin. It got an unprompted stamp of approval from Dahlia ("Mommy, that's a pretty top!"), which was good enough for me and I was out the door.
At the party there was an actual red carpet. I always thought that was just a saying, "red carpet event." But, no. They really put a red carpet down at the entrance.
And there were really paparazzi. Just like in the movies, shouting "look over here! look over here!" Of course, no one was really shouting it at me - until I nudged my way into a shot with Daniel Boulud (who was very gracious about it - thanks Daniel!) and got my chance to be in the spotlight.
I've seen some of the pics (you can see a few here), and they came out well, but I think I flubbed the interview portion of the evening. One of the tv reporters asked me "What do you think about the coming together of food and fashion?" I replied with a long-winded answer which involved a brief discussion of the Italian Renaissance. I believe at one point I name checked the Medicis and lesser known Sforzas along with the culture of artistic patronage and culinary mores of the ruling classes. I noticed the reporter's eyes glazing over, but I couldn't stop myself. Oh well - that one's going out to all the grad students in the house. Holla!
All in all, I felt the night (which doubled as a book release party for the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook) was a success. It was a kick seeing some old friends all dressed up to the nines, the conversation was great, the hors d' oeuvres were tasty - I can't remember when I've had so much fun at Barney's (the sample sale doesn't count).
Sadly, the whole shebang ended on a soggy note. When I left, it was pouring. Paula Deen, who was leaving at the same time, wisely advised me to stuff my silk coat in a shopping bag before I raced down the block for a cab. Without an umbrella (it didn't go with my outfit), I did get a little damp - but at least the coat survived for the next photo op.