Last Thursday evening, I attended an event at Spiaggia hosted by designer Todd Oldham; Spiaggia’s James Beard-winning chef-partner, Tony Mantuano; and restaurateur Larry Levy. The trio had gathered, along with about 350 tastemakers, to toast - remotely - their new effort, the Fairfax Hotel on Miami’s South Beach, which will house the first expansion of Spiaggia in the restaurant’s 23-year history, Enoteca Spiaggia.
Oldham - who is designing the hotel and restaurant, slated to open in 2008 - is most recognized lately for hosting Top Design, Bravo’s interior-design reality show. Two Design contestants were also in attendance, including 32-year-old winner Matt Lorenz, who lives in Chicago. Oldham (in photo with Mantuano, left, and Levy, center) spent the day, pre-party, transforming Spiaggia’s private dining room into a South Beach-style haven, with custom wine bottle centerpieces and sleek white floral arrangements.
I asked Oldham whether his show will come back for another season. “We should know soon,” he told me. And since I just moved into my new place in February, I couldn’t help picking Oldham’s brain about color choice. “With the way I dress, I’m surprisingly very conservative,” he said. “But when it comes to interior design, I go all out. My favorite colors change every day; right now I love beige and gray” - both of which happen to be part of the working palette for my condo, so I guess I’m off to a good start.
Speaking of color, after the Spiaggia event, I headed to Celebrity Prom at Le Passage (as if the two proms I attended in high school weren’t enough). The bash was full of vibrant hues, from the scarlet spiked punch to the red velvet couches. I even spotted a zebra-print dress, much like the sequined number I wore to my senior prom in 1992. But this time, instead of spending the night dodging my date, I chowed on fries and watched the prom court circulate the room in an effort to drum up votes; each attendee’s $30 donation would go to the to-be-announced king and queen’s chosen charities.
“We wanted to think of a fun way to raise money,” said Amanda Puck, of public relations firm XA, which put together the bash. “We thought of all our friends in Chicago and decided to relive prom, but make sure we all had a better time the second time around.” The court consisted of Puck; Kelly Ryan O’Brien, the new director of marketing and PR for the soon-to-launch Michigan Ave. magazine; NBC 5 reporter Natalie Martinez; Chicago Sport & Social Club president Jason Erkes; Jonny Imerman, of Imerman Angels; former Bachelorette Jen Schefft (who couldn’t make the event); Jamie Blythe, from a separate season of The Bachelorette; and CS magazine fashion assistant Graham Kostic.
“This was definitely my first time crowned! What a moment!” Puck, 36, said upon her coronation. “I was such a geek in high school, so I never had a chance back then.” Kostic was crowned king, and the event raised $2,500, split between Common Threads (Puck’s pick) and The Reilly C. Bush Memorial Foundation (courtesy of Kostic).
Photograph: David Ditzler Photography