Fashionably late is what I am. That is what I was thinking while anxiously doing some last minute shopping for lavender and periwinkle colored shirts at the Polo store in Southampton. Why? I had to have my colors before the weekend’s festivities. Adult "color wars" are representative of the fabric of the values and culture out east much in the same way that color war was for me as kid at Summer Camp. How else can I explain my inability to comprehend the big picture? Some say the bell goes off in the Hamptons on Memorial Day. Still others insist that it is the opening weekend of a key benefit or the commencement of Polo. I won’t argue as to when the Hamptons color wars get started. It is only clear that when they end is after the Hamptons Classic. Showmanship is an extension of the art and spirit of philanthropy and social revelry in the Hamptons. If event planners and designers are going to do their part in creating the perfect backdrop, then the least that I can do is choose my colors appropriately. (Photo: Anne Hearst, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Amanda Hearst & Randy Hearst at the BLUE Benefit.)
When I was 10 years old, my parents sent me along with my brother Gregory to Summer Camp. Camp Good News is located in the Sandwich area of Cape Cod. The campgrounds are situated opposite Otis Air Force Base. Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are only a short Ferry ride away. My summers were very Kennedy'esque even though they were spent on grounds which were far more humble than the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport. We too, however, we learned the spirit of competition, sportsmanship, the importance of our maker and the values of responsibility, respect, honor and community. What was most memorable, however, from those summers in New England, was color war. Color war was an annual ritual which was symbolic of the values building experience of the Camp.(Photo by: CL, Jay McInerney, Anne Hearst, Kerry Kennedy & Laurie & Larry David)
Almost upon arrival at Camp shortly before Independence Day the buzz among experienced campers or "old timers" (those for whom this was not their first summer) was about color war. Competition was sized up in all athletic endeavors from the softball field, the lake and the rifle and archery ranges. "Wow you can really hit, I hope you end up on our team this summer." Color war is an event where the camp was divided in two teams to compete in sports, spirit, and sportsmanship over the course of three days, culminating in an awards ceremony. At my camp, we never knew precisely what day it would begin. The exact date was kept a secret but we were advised that it would begin with a bell being rung followed by the rallying cry "Odie Baloney let's go" on a loudspeaker by our Head Counselor who was known as "Oakie" for obvious reasons. Let's just say he was not a New Yorker. I can still remember went that bell first went off. It was approximately 4:30 a.m. before the crack of dawn. We stumbled out of our bunks, cabins emptied and ran to the reporting line in PJ's, shorts and t's, sweats and in some cases just underwear. When everyone finally made it to the line, the team that got its whole team together first was awarded the first points and got to give their rallying cry. My brother's team won."Give me an L, give me a yell, give me a good successful yell...and when we yell we yell like a bell and this is what the heck we yell aleman aleman alemande agle sandy eagle ...baby in a high chair...who put him up there...ma...pa...sis boom ba.... Iguana's Iguana's rah rah rah" (Photo: Roopal Patel, Frederick Andersen, Lorraine Bracco & Douglas Hannant)
On Saturday, August 13th, Anne Hearst & Lorraine Bracco hosted The Riverkeeper’s Blue Benefit overlooking a gorgeous east end backdrop from the grounds of Anne Hearst’s Watermill Estate, Ash Grove Farm. On a humid afternoon, spacious open white tents were surrounded by a thematic display of Periwinkle “Blue” table clothes atop white cocktail tables and chairs situated on perfectly landscaped grounds, with deep green grass. Amanda Hearst, Riverkeeper's junior committee chair co-hosted the event. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was among the featured speakers. Celebrity guests included Larry David & Lorraine Bracco. The utter perfection of this thematic blend of classic colors with those of the environment was not lost on me nor was the effort undertaken to make it so; kudos to Linda Shapiro and her team. Proceeds from the event and the private dinner party held afterwards at the home of Lorraine Bracco raised $150,000 for both Riverkeeper and Peconic Baykeeper. (Photo: R Couri Hay, Pamela Fiori & Roger Webster)
Whereas other events might have wilted in such heat and humidity, the Passion of a Kennedy, combined with the beauty and hospitality of the Hearsts made this evening one of the more special and memorable ones for me in the Hamptons this summer. Anne and Amanda Hearst are two of the most charming and approachable people of American Aristocracy. (Photo by Richard Lewin: Luigi Tadini, Amanda Hearst & Christopher London)
It has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with politics. One need not share Mr. Kennedy’s political agenda environmentally to have a profound appreciation for the passion and conviction coursing through his veins. To have an opportunity as I did to listen to a Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speech within reaching distance was a privilege I will always remember. His emphasis that our values as a people are tested in the choices that we make in terms of preservation of our environment and water ways in the face of modernization and development is one I am very much in agreement with. Listening to Mr. Kennedy’s impassioned and well reasoned pleas to take meaningful steps and actions towards preservation of the environment one cannot help but think of the historical significance; the travesty it has been for this country and our people as a whole to have been robbed of what many consider America’s elected royal family, a family that has devoted it’s life to public service, from the White House, the Congress to serving as an agent of change for the people. Without public servants of this ilk the important works of a generation may not even ever get pursued, much less accomplished. To that end I salute Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for remaining in the game on an issue of importance to our ultimate health and survival as a people.
Just a few weeks before, admidst a backdrop awash in Lavendar on the grounds of the Simmons East Hampton Estate for the Art For Life Benefit over $1.35 million was raised. Lavender which was the chosen color to collaborate with nature and the guests did their part to blend in. Contrast that with the Southampton Hospital’s 47 Annual Party, “Summer Safari” which used Safari colors to raise more than $1.5 million. The 3rd Annual White Party Clambake for the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund on the dunes of Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett cast a sea of white on the shores of one of the Atlantic's most pristine beaches with the American Flag blowing in the wind. If nothing else is clear it seems that color themes are ultimately very much a part of the bottom line when swimming in the social game of philanthropy out east. To see photos from these events click here
Better to be fashionably late, than never. It is clear that you must know your colors and wear them appropriately. Speaking of being fashionably late, another one of the more colorful benefits was the Young Friends of the MIPC Hawaii Five-0 Summer Party to benefit Dr. Robert Cancro and the NYU Mental Ilness Prevention Center at the Estate of Anna Anisimova which attracted a beautiful crowd of Wall Street Professionals, models, socialites and Hamptons players. The event was Co-Chaired by my friends Ron Sylvestri and Nichole Wright, among others. Gregory captured the essence of that event. To see photos from that event, click here. (Photo by Gregory Partanio: Ana Anisimova & Dr. Robert Cancro)
Thank you for reading my column in Social Life Magazine this summer. For those of you back in Manhattan please note that on September 22, 2005, I will be Co-Hosting along with Allison Weiss and Chad Burkhardt “The Most Unique Cocktail Party & Auction” at the Forbes Galleries to raise money for the Community Coalition. For more information, go to www.thecommunitycoalition.org Tickets are still available. Please call 610-415-1167. Hope to see you there. All Photos by Manhattan Society.com photographers, Gregory Partanio (PrinceGregory@manhattansociety.com /718-614-7740 ) & Christopher London except as otherwise noted.