French Heritage Society’s (FHS) Black & White Ball, honoring interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield and philanthropists Margaret and Gregory Hedberg, was held yesterday evening at a private club in New York City.
“No couple in New York could be as popular and as adorable as the Hedberg’s,” said Board Chairman Elizabeth Stribling. “They are so nice, so philanthropic, and so Francophile. Margaret’s aunt created something called The International Debutante Ball; my mother was on the committee of this ball in 1960. We go back a long, long time. Her husband Gregory is a noted scholar and curator, and the author of the scholarly text Degas’ Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen“. In accepting their award, Margaret Hedberg commented, “Look at all of you, you look so beautiful. I think it’s the chicest crowd in New York. I will just say one thing…merci mille fois!” Her husband continued, “When we’re with French Heritage Society, we’re in French heaven”. “FHS continues to inspire us all”, agreed Geoffrey Bradfield. “Marcel Proust wrote, ‘If we are to make reality endurable, we must all nourish a fantasy or two.’ Tonight, receiving this splendid honor, is a moment in my life that I will always cherish.” Board member and special event chairman CeCe Black presented Geoffrey with his award, a Lalique trophy.
FHS President Denis de Kergorlay traveled from Paris especially for the evening and announced that Elizabeth Stribling will receive the Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur from the French Minister of Forgein Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on Monday at the Quai d’Orsay (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in Paris. Already a member of the Légion d’Honneur, this “upgrade” is an honor rarely bestowed on an American.
Jennifer Herlein, the FHS Executive Director, explained their Student Exchange Program, “It is my great pleasure to talk about one of the pillars of French Heritage Society. Each year we send French and American students, around 35 in all, to cross the Atlantic to participate in internships at well known institutions. They establish friendships and understandings that last a lifetime”. Kathleen Guzman of Heritage Auctions led spirited bidding in support of the Program.
Guests all dressed in the most formal black or white; the ladies in long gowns and many of the men, including the New York Chapter Co-Chair, Guy Robinson, in white tie and decorations. Board Member Jean Shafiroff wore a striped gown with a train and a matching masque by designer Victor de Souza, who accompanied her. Odile de Schiétère-Longchampt, New York Chapter Co-Chair and the evening’s Design Consultant, created stunning (nearly) black and white flower arrangements.
The Gala Chairmen were CeCe Black, Jean Doyen de Montaillou and Michael A. Kovner, Jay R. Paul, Jean Shafiroff, and Ann Van Ness. The Co-Chairmen were Barbara and Donald Tober. Dinner Chairmen were Stark D. Kirby, Jr., Helena Lehane, Martin Shafiroff, and Bill Van Ness. George P. Sape served as the Wine Consultant. Guests included Board Members Yann Coatanlem, Christian Draz, Ronald Lee Fleming, Judy McLaren, Ann and Bill Van Ness, as well as Debbie Bancroft, Véronique Bich, Lady Liliana Cavendish, Victor de Souza, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Diamond, Mr. and Mrs. John French III, Mark Gilbertson, Sharon Handler, Eric Javits, Jr., Yue-Sai Kan, Margo Langenberg, George Ledes, Sharon Handler Loeb and John Loeb, William Ivey Long, Patricia and Harry Macklowe, Aimée and William Maroney, Mary McFadden, Lucretia Obolensky, Diana and Charles Revson, Tara Rockefeller, Barbara and John Schumacher, Charlie Scheips, Dame Donna and Richard Soloway, and Victoria Wyman.
Dancing continued till midnight…
Upcoming FHS events include the annual Thanksgiving Day celebration in Paris a well as the annual Palm Beach Gala Dinner in February 2020.
About French Heritage Society
French Heritage Society is dedicated to protecting the French architectural legacy both in France and the United States with particular emphasis on preservation and education. It fosters long-established French-American relationships through cultural exchanges as it strives to ensure that the treasures of our shared heritage will survive to inspire future generations. Its 11 chapters in the U.S. and one in Paris have supported the restoration of nearly 600 buildings and gardens since 1982. FHS also organizes unique student internship opportunities in both countries.
Image credit: Annie Watt (AW) and Patrick McMullan (PMC)