Category: Live Events

Off to the Races: 2016 Horse Racing Season Guide

Off to the Races: 2016 Horse Racing Season Guide Kentucky Derby - Photo: iStockphoto/ Jill Lang

Ready, set, hats!

May marks the beginning of horse racing season, and its attendant mint juleps and mojitos, bright sundresses, and huge statement hats. To prepare you for high racing season, my team and I have put together a primer of the most important races, what’s at stake at each this season, and how to answer the most pressing question – what to wear?

Kick back with a mint julep and our guide to this season’s quintessential races.

Races to Watch

May 6 and 7, Kentucky Derby:

Held in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday of May every year, the Kentucky Derby kicks off horse racing season. Held at the famous Churchill Downs, the competition is between three-year-old thoroughbreds, who battle it out on the racetrack for one and a quarter miles. The Kentucky Derby is the first of three key American horse racing events that, together with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes comprise the “Triple Crown” of thoroughbred racing.

The race’s marquee social event is the star-studded, black tie Barnstable Brown Gala, held the night before the races every year in the jaw-dropping mansion of local social doyenne Patricia Barnstable Brown. It is one of the highlights of the Southern social scene, and a perfect occasion to break out your best Oscar, Carolina, or Miuccia. And once you’re at the races the next day, you’ll need a drink. If you’re feeling lucky with your bets, there’s no better way to toast to your luck than with Woodford Reserve’s $1,000 mint julep, which has been sold in a custom-designed commemorative cups at the Derby for the past ten years.

May 14, Iroquois Steeplechase: 

Hot on the Derby’s heels is the Iroquois Steeplechase, held near Nashville, Tennessee. Steeplechase has been held on the same course since 1941, and has been a fixture in Southern social calendars for just as long. The best views are from the “Tents in the Turn”– luxe, tented affairs with prime panoramas onto the track, and from the Skybox Suites, which are wood-paneled, climate controlled, and full of the crème de la crème of Southern society.

The hottest ticket in town is the Steeplechase-eve gala at the gorgeous and historic Belle Meade Planation. The soirée is invitation-only, but if you have a proper Southern belle on speed dial, you can bet she’ll have an in. You’ll have plenty of time to meet fellow race-goers in the preceding weeks, when all of Nashville congregates at the booming city’s best boutiques, including Reese Witherspoon’s new Draper James.

June 14 to 18, Royal Ascot:

For those looking to hop the pond for a mid-summer European escape, Royal Ascot is a must-go event on the British social calendar. Ascot is over 300 years old, and hats are required. The Royal Enclosure is the place to be, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, watch the race each year. Race-goers imbibe over 50,000 bottles of champagne each year and nosh on 2,900 lobsters and 50,000 macaroons. Four hundred helicopters and 1,000 limousines ferry Ascot-goers to and from London and beyond.

What to Wear

Races have a very particular dress code, of course. For the ladies, statement hats or fascinators are the most essential piece of any outfit. While you could always head to Barney’s or Saks to find your perfect topper, some designers have taken to making extraordinary hats particularly for the occasion.

The Royal Ascot collection is designed in collaboration with eight of the United Kingdom’s most fabulous milliners, many of whom have been of service to the Royal Family. (We think the fascinator would be a particularly good choice to pair with your L.K. Bennetts, in a nod to the Duchess of Cambridge.)

Top American milliners include Maggie Mae Designs and Gina Conti. There are ostrich plumes and hand-pleated Parisian ribbon aplenty, custom orders are not uncommon, and the most important rule of all is that the same hat can never be worn twice.

As for the rest of your outfit, ladies should opt for a bright shift dress paired with Louboutin wedges and ropes of pearls– a classic, understated look that lets the hat shine! For gentlemen, a Brooks Brothers seersucker suit was practically made for Derby Day. Smarten up your suit with a bowtie, a pair of horse bit loafers (worn sockless, of course), and a fedora or bowler hat for a distinguished, dapper look.

And now, we’re off to the races!

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Met Gala Preview 2016

Met Gala Preview 2016 Photo: iStockphoto/Samaro

Fashion’s hottest night is just days away. This coming Monday, May 2nd, the fashion world will convene on the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the museum’s annual Met Gala helmed by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Everyone from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to George and Amal Clooney to fashion world icons like Cara Delivigne and Stella McCartny clamor for invitations, and the sartorial selections of those who make the cut are par excellence.

This year’s theme – dubbed “Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology” – couldn’t be more perfect for our times. The gala marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s exhibit exploring the democratization of the formerly cloistered world of haute couture and high fashion thanks to the proliferation of technology.

As technology brings the world to our fingertips, whether in fashion, music, film, or real estate, creativity abounds as people globally merge and share experiences and technology speeds up the minds of our youth and what we can create. Live streaming and video content continues to grow online and I expect in time this will also transfer into real estate marketing though it hasn’t fully caught on yet.

Live streaming of fashion shows from around the world (remember the Zoolander crew’s cameo at Valentino last spring in Paris?) have exported the shows’ magic to those not able to be there in person. Instagram has turned well-dressed bloggers from every corner of the globe into street style stars and fashion icons. And technology has increasingly been used to both produce and inspire fashion, from designers like Kimberly Ovitz and Pamela Love using 3-d printers to fashion their wares to futuristic designs at Balenciaga produced with elements of engineering and neoprene.

It’s no surprise this year’s sponsor is Apple – not only is the iPhone the choice technological accessory on the red carpet (along with the gateway to Instagram), the tech giant’s upper echelons are stacked with talent poached from the fashion world, including Angela Ahrendts, who used to be the CEO of Burberry and is now SVP of retail and online stores at Apple.

For those whose invitations to this year’s gala got lost in the mail, an incisive documentary will offer an exclusive window into last year’s blockbuster gala, “China: Through the Looking Glass.” Made by filmmaker Andrew Rossi, the film – The First Monday in May – takes viewers behind the scenes of preparations for the gala, and to the big night itself. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month, no doubt reminding many of the premier’s attendees to start seriously considering their outfits.

Follow this link to see Vogue’s Met Gala Coverage

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5 Spring Must-Dos for Manhattanites

5 Spring Must-Dos for Manhattanites Spring in Central Park's Sheep Meadow with One 57 in the background | Photo: Tony Sargent

As our warmer than usual winter recedes, spring is slowly taking hold in New York and city-dwellers are trading their Canada Goose parkas for spring’s floral dresses and Chanel espadrilles. My team has rounded up a few of our favorite places to chill or see and be seen this spring in the city – Read more…

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Art Rules by Bill Cunningham – The New York Times

Do you love art and people watching? Before it’s gone schedule a couple hours Sunday, March 6th to make your way to The Art Show along with several of the other shows happening (PULSE Contemporary Art Show in Chelsea on 18th Street).

While many lament that the art scene and artists have disappeared from New York (high rents and gentrification), I love these art fairs and the Thursday night Chelsea Art District openings as much for the art as the fantastic people watching! It’s also a great reminder that art and creativity is a huge part what makes New York amazing.

If you are thinking of buying art, choose wisely and with your heart. Art makes a home come alive. I find that when staging our client’s homes, significant art and warm accessories truly add the personality to a home.

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Macy’s 4th Of July, 2014 Fireworks – Where To Watch in New York

Macy’s 4th Of July, 2014 Fireworks – Where To Watch in New York Top Left to Right Clockwise - Images Courtesy of Macy's | New York Harbor Photo by Tony Sargent

Happy Fourth of July New York! This year marks the first time in five years that Macy’s July 4, 2014 fireworks show will return to the East River from the Hudson River side.  It will therefore be visible from many points with open views of the lower East River in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Queens. Read more…

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