June 15, 2001
Notes from Rita F. Catinella Products Editor
Ive learned that last-minute invitations often turn
out to be the most interesting--often times you dont
know what you are getting into until you get there. The other
day I was invited to attend the Pratt Legends 2001 Scholarship
Benefit Gala Dinner as a guest of Hunter Douglas. Upon accepting
the invitation, all I knew about the event was that an organization
was giving interior designer Peter Marino, fashion designer
Mary McFadden, and artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude awards
at a ceremony in the Rainbow Room, which meant I had to wear
a dress. The Rainbow Room, which was formerly open to the
public, is now only available for private functions, and this
was my first time in this awesome space.
I knew the night was going to be memorable when my friend
and I passed actor Tony Randall while we were going into the
elevator up to the cocktail hour. The amount of sequin in
the elevator ride alone was blinding. Within moments, my friend
recognized a glamorous-looking woman encircled by photographers
to be none other than Clinton amiga Denise Rich. At that point,
I wish I had brought a fancier bag. While mingling among the
guests we also spotted that nights mistress of ceremonies,
none other than the psychic-friendly diva, Dionne Warwick.
It wasnt until I got a chance to look at the program
that I realized the other award winners included Lawrence
Herbert of Pantone Inc. and exhibit designer Ralph Appelbaum.
During the evening I was craning my neck to see if I could
find the event's honorary co-chairs, New Yorks top socialite
Brooke Astor and architect Philip Johnson.
During a dinner of cold lobster with haricot verts, rack
of lamb, and risotto with mushrooms, I chatted with Jamie
Gibbs of Jamie Gibbs and Associates. Gibbs was involved with
the painstaking restoration of the space. An interesting factoid:the
original windows of the Rainbow Room needed to be double-paned
because during World War II the roof of the building was used
as a heliport.
The event ended promptly at 10:30, with Warwick stating that
she would be available for any other M.C. gigs in the future.