Saturday, October 29, 2011

The land of the golf cart

In a far away island, consisting of the most closed & private community, where those horrid golf carts are considered means of daily transportation and luxury at the same time, there resides a group of people who are unique in many ways.  They find the Garden too accessible to all the wrong kind of people, they find it too unique, not conservative enough.  This group always begins a conversation with the primordial question: “What did you retire from?” and although a few gems exist in this morphed world of the mundane & safe, overall they are a group unto itself.  They tend to be clones of each other, who speak the same language & understand architecture, fashion and design only to be as good as how you match your neighbors own.

Collectively they have much power over many a philanthropic organization within the boundaries of the Garden & beyond.  They are avid & aggressive supporters of many a festival, be it music, film, fashion and more, but like most of their kind, they will exert full control over programming. Nothing must ever be too risqué, too controversial, too, havens forbid, unique!   I know what you are thinking, that you can quickly dismiss the lot of them & cast them into the fires of boredom & bleakness.. BUT not so quick dahhling… for I remind you, what would the Garden be without variety?  And under the surface all is not what it seems, as is the case with most that identify themselves as über anything, as you might think.  After all not long ago, it was brought to my attention over an Afternoon Cocktail, that doctors in the area where having a massive epidemic of, well there is no genteel way to say this: the old crotch rot! And not one kind in particular..but every type you dare imagine. What was most shocking was that the group causing all the raucous was not the expected one.  Not the wild lady boys, not the out of control younger set, not the married gays, but none other than the über conservative retired ever so private islander dweller! How can this be you ask? Simple dahhling, no one taught them that retirement, old age and the veneer of  über conservatism is in any way a protective measure against decease when indulging in spouse swapping and bed hoping in between golf rounds! But now you know!

One of my very own encounters with this group came a few years back at a FAB summer cocktail party at the beautifully appointed house (dahhhling you remember Interiors of all three floors done by me of course!) of the magnificent Marquesa de Wolfe.  Among the guest, soon I came across a well coiffed & well dressed lady.  The first questions she had for me was the expected one all boohring people will ask you: “What  do you do for a living?”For a living?” I repeated incredulously, “Well dahhhling LIVE!, that’s what I do!” I replied.  She seemed perplexed of course.  A few more pleasantries followed,  before she arrived at the other most asked question in the Garden: “Where are you from?”  I informed the unimaginative lady, that I was from the Land of the Aztecs, but before I could get to the portion of my statement in which it involved my descend upon the Garden, she interrupted me to correct my previous statement by saying: “No your are not! You can’t be from there!” much to my amusement.  I assured her, that although I did not know many things, I knew with certainty where I came from.  She insisted: “Absolutely not! You don’t sound or look Mexican” she said with exasperation, as though the mere idea was too much.  I was simply too regal & not with a platter in my hand serving or cleaning something, it was simply an impossibility in her eyes.  How dehhvine is this I ask you?  I could have adopted her as my new favorite project then & there until she shared with me that she resided in the Land of the golf carts. Much to my disappointment, because though she could forgive my brown origins, I could never chance catching something of the third kind from her by shaking her hand!  After all I am a Duchess dahhing, and that simply won’t do.
Until soonest…

The Duchess of State

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Evening Royal Picnic

Now that finally, the horrid outdoor “Indian Summer Weather” is leaving us, we once again may reign supreme and maximize the beauty of our fair Garden.  Baron Kleinstschwule and I decided to host An Evening Royal Picnic for a small group of 15 guests (I have the formula for outdoor fête decorations down to a science dahhling and know how to most easily coordinate everything from my annual “All White end of the Summer beach soiree” or my beautiful dinners set picnic style during the annual Symphony in Forsyth Park concerts, when we still have a full Symphony!).  The Baron Kleinstschwule who is one the sweetest, most sincere and kind persons I have ever known is also one of my favorite, dearest friends .  He is ever so fashionable.  His creativity knows no bounds and though a member of the younger set, it is such an honor to watch him blossom.  I am excited to know, that one day, it will be the Baron, who is known for his exquisite hosting talents & who will create the next generation of FAB events to be remembered by the Noblesse, La Sociedad and beyond.

The invitation for the event, simply stated, that guest were invited to an English Picnic in the Park and to attend dressed accordingly.  And did they ever? It was as though all guests had come riding their horses through the park to attend the event.  All tweeds, weathered ridding boots, tartan, plaids, black velvet ridding jackets, furs (of course that was me, wrapped in a black fox stole!).

The location was our most beautiful park: Forsyth Park.  The location had been previously approved my dahhhling Baron Kleinstschwule and I.  A beautiful patch of green lawn, close enough to see the beautiful fountain, but sufficiently private for the unwashed masses not to gawk (too much) at us, under an old magnolia tree, dripping as all else is here, in Spanish moss.  There is something magical when you combine the beauty of nature, the mysteries of the dark under the stars with the luxury of fine linens, hundreds of candles, a chandelier, floor cushions, sea grass rugs and exquisite company!

Remember dahhling, to always keep the menu to foods that have been pre-baked and may be served room temperature, of course don’t forget lots of wine (your guest must be kept warm after all!)

The guests, a mix of Noblesse & La Sociedad: El Conde y La Condesa, The Duke, the Marquesa de Wolfe, Lord Mar, Baron Kleinstschwule, Lord Crabtree, the ever so refined Lady Hamilton and a Fat Clown (for entertainment of course!) among other genteel guests.  It was one of those perfect evenings with clear star studded skies. Everyone quickly settled into their places to enjoy the wonderful conversations that always are inspired when one creates dramatic settings such as these.
Inspiración dahhhling, its everywhere!
Until soonest…

The Duchess of State

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Midsummer’s Dinner and the UNKNOWN..

Oh dahhling, this beautiful “Spring” like weather reminds me of the Midsummer’s Dinner we had earlier in the year in the middle of the season for our monthly Supper Club.  It is a rotating Supper Club and each of the members take turns hosting a sit down dinner. They can select their own menu, their own theme, to be inspired by the season, the month or no particular reason at all, but simply the great opportunity for interesting conversations & great company.   The core of the guest list remains the same, however, each host has the ability to invite a few new faces (the UNKNOWN) to mix up the group or to showcase new potential members to add to the Supper Club and the dinner invitation is their test of sorts. 

Since I was to host in the month of July, I decided to celebrate the most important American Holiday of them all by making the theme: “An American Story”.  The Invitations instructed guests to attend wearing their interpretation of their Defining American Decade.   Of course during dinner each guest took a turn at explaining their ensemble & how it defined an American Decade to them.  As you can imagine all sorts of conversations ensued.  All were represented well: American 1940’s, 1960’s, 1980’s, 1920’s. It was dehhvine!!

What the members of the Supper Club fundamentally have in common, is the ability to share opinions, listening and respect the opinion of others and most importantly always have an educated point and wiliness to share it with others on every subject possible.

Of course as in most cases when you allow a guest to bring an UNKNOWN person to a sit down dinner it can spell disaster.  During a cocktail party it is perfect, no matter how ridiculous, how insufferable the UNKNOWN may be, guests have the opportunity to alert you to the fact and also get away & mingle with others... the same, cannot be said during a sit down dinner. Everyone is locked to their assigned seats & must make do as best they can, with your ever watchful eye & gracious guiding hand of course.

In this case, our UNKNOWN, turned out to be an odd hybrid of an autistic/savant of sorts, not as rare as the sighting of the one Albino we have roaming around Forsyth Park, but alas rare to most of us.  His choice of depression 1920’s should have been a clue immediately, but the best was saved for over dinner. During the cocktail hour all seemed well enough, it was not until dinner & after dinner drinks in the parlor, that all he had wound tightly inside like an old spring in a clock, gave way to endless ranting, factoids to the minute detail, and overall attempt at monopolizing every inch of conversation.  When asked by me if he was a “Savant” or simply “Autistic” the point was lost…since he proceeded to debate to himself, out loud, the differences between the two, so that he could choose the best option. It was a trying evening, but unique and one that a seasoned hostess like me rarely has seen. Which made it that much more fun the following days of té’s and lunches to recount all the evenings moments among the FAB set!

When these situations arise, as a hostess, you must immediately, firmly & always with finesse (interrupting if you must) get your point across to correct the unruly UNKNOWN and always keep the conversation shared, interesting, moving & above all, non-monopolized by one guest.  One good rule I use in these instances is always sitting the UNKNOWN next to me, just in case it proves to be too unruly and a bohhre! This way I can quickly control an out of hand situation or worse endure the bore & not force it upon a favorite guest.

Of course the member of the Supper Club who made such a disastrous choice for an UNKNOWN will now have to contend with the long road back to ever have the opportunity at being allowed to suggest future choices and additions.  If for a day, a challenge to my hosting abilities was met.
Until soonest…

The Duchess of State

Saturday, October 15, 2011

If I were nothing more than images….

Dahhhling, you find me a bit morose today.  So many scandals, so many tragedies (like that horrid lumpy woman who insist on wearing riding pants around the Garden.  Really? She should be wearing a cape! and not to forget all the nonstop humid heat! which until recently had not relented for a nano second! (Was it really 6 months of this everyday?) ¡Ay Dios mío! I often wonder how most of our dearest & closest will remember us, should we lock our selves in a the house & never entertain again.  We already know the unwashed masses will not even notice or care, but should the essence of me be distilled to a few images, certainly this is what I would be:

Oh the inspiration I draw from the Spanish Fan or Abanicos is endless…Their indelible mystery & cachet. My dear La Condesa, reintroducde me to how essential & sophisticated they can be. She gifted me one a few years back, from her personal royal collection, which I now never leave the house without.

I simply ahhdore that this regal lady, a la Spanish Royal family, has her own pet midget!
How deehvine is that? ¿no?

A simple day time ensemble

The casual arrogance of Sunday Brunch

Pearls! Pearls! Pearls! (from my own fine jewelry line of course!)

An evening fête


a FAB book!

Toile ¡Obvio!

A beautiful garden


The fundamentally well set table

Our nature dahhhling.. can’t be denied!

The strength of our roots

Just as important as making an entrance, taking your leave in style!
What images would describe you dahhhling?
Until soonest

The Duchess of State

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Aristocratic Viscount

The Aristocratic Viscount, who hails from the land of the Aztecs and is said to have come across a well known Grand River on a mule laden with Louis Vuitton luggage no less! (but am sure this is only a vicious rumor his detractors have been spreading around. He is simply too refined to be seen on a mule! ¿no?), is quiet the new addition to our Fair Garden.

I first heard a reference about him after An Afternoon Cocktail, I had not attended, where he had been officially introduced to La Sociedad.  His introduction was an immediate success.  His exquisite manners where evident with the gracious thank you notes that followed, but more importantly it was his person and the manner in which he endeared himself to everyone who met him that evening that made the real impact.  Of course, since I had not had the pleasure of meeting him, I immediately dispatched a royal note to him, in which I explained my disappointment at not meeting him previously and more importantly my desire to welcome him, officially, to our Fair Garden by inviting him to An Afternoon Cocktail at my residence.  A date was set and soon thereafter I had the pleasure of meeting the Aristocratic Viscount.  We were instantly kindred spirits. I was the Duchess he never was! We understood each other because we shared similar rigid, formal upbringings with all the restrictions, expectations and highest level of intrigue, manners & exquisite social grace taught to our kind in the land of the Aztecs.

Aristocratic Viscount, grew up always encouraged to explore the world, living in Australia, traveling the world over and always learning, refining and expanding himself.  All done with a cultured eye & gracious manner of the Ancien Régime rhythm of life. Of course he speaks many languages, what member of the Noblesse does not? He is a wondrous conversationalist who can keep your interest for hours. 

It is for all these reasons that a few months ago, I gave a small luncheon to introduce him, in the proper manner of course, to the most inner circle of my favorites.  The table had to set for a formal lunch to give the occasion the importance it deserved. After all, not every day do we meet perfect additions our most inner circle ¿no?  Of course the luncheon introduction was a resounding success. Everyone who met him simply adhhored him, except for La Condesa, who always believes in liking someone after first seeing how they handle a true “Dragona” (which is the term the Spanish use to refer to a Diva of a Doyenne) first!  ¡Olé!

Until soonest..

The Duchess of State
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