Bloomberg News

Scene Last Night: Paulsons, Bommer on Valentine’s Ballet

February 13, 2014

Coppélia

Megan Fairchild and Robert La Fosse in George Balanchine's Coppélia. Courtesy New York City Ballet/Paul Kolnik

Tomorrow, John Paulson’s elder daughter will be on stage at New York City Ballet, dancing in “Coppelia” as one of the children admiring the namesake beautiful doll created by a mad inventor.

That settled the venue for the Paulsons’ Valentine’s Day date, the hedge-fund manager’s wife, Jenny Paulson, said Tuesday at the ballet’s annual luncheon.

Being in a relationship takes “dedication and luck,” Jenny Paulson said, drawing parallels between marriage and the partnerships that male and female dancers must negotiate.

As she spoke some 600 guests sat down at tables covered in haute potato-sack cloth, colored blue, to a first entree of baby kale salad with grilled grapes and candied walnuts.

The event had begun with a discussion of dance partnering moderated by Donya Bommer, the New York City Ballet board member married to Scott Bommer, president of SAB Capital Management LP.

“It’s the men’s role to be the support, to be unseen,” said Donya Bommer of the themes of the program, which she organized and moderated. “The woman has to trust him. But we all change roles at different points, as we do in our relationships.”

Her husband is “so supportive and such a cheerleader” of her work at the ballet, she said. “This week, he wanted me to rehearse in front of him.” A former television anchor, she carried the proceedings beautifully, wearing Valentino head to toe and diamonds lent to her by event sponsor Harry Winston.

80th Anniversary

Jenny Paulson wore Oscar de la Renta and her own necklace of pendants, engraved with the initials of each of her two daughters and a “J” for her husband that rested on top.

New York City Ballet secretary Kristin Kennedy Clark, wife of John D. Clark of Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe LP, announced the event, founded in 1980, had raised $480,000. That sum will fund wellness initiatives from improved workout facilities to chiropractors and massage therapists.

Seen in a huddle planning another gala were Diana DiMenna and Julia Koch, whose husbands are the hedge fund manager Joseph DiMenna and the co-owner of Koch Industries, David H. Koch, respectively. Their March 3 event will mark the 80th anniversary of the School of American Ballet. What they were talking about: How to best take advantage of the arresting mural of dancers below their feet, created by artist JR.

The Kochs’ previous patronage extends to Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, where the Paulson ballerina will dance tomorrow night.

Fashionista Arnholds

A few minutes later DiMenna was off to see the fashion show of Wes Gordon, where a gray-blue flowing dress caught her eye. It’s made with three different layers of chiffon, all of different hues, the designer, who is not related to me, said backstage. The show also drew John Arnhold, chairman and chief investment officer of First Eagle Investment Management LLC, his dad, Henry Arnhold, who took notes, and his son, Paul Arnhold, Gordon’s partner, who said he’s starting Columbia Business School in September.

Other financiers and their relations spotted at Fashion Week, which concludes today: Howard Marks, chairman of Oaktree Capital Management LP, at the Ralph Rucci show; Nell Diamond, daughter of former Barclays boss Robert Diamond, at Prabal Gurung’s party at the new club Up&Down, where guests wore plastic crowns as a nod to the crown-wearing streaker who crashed the designer’s runway earlier in the day; and designer Max Osterweis, son of John Osterweis of Osterweis Capital Management, at Skylark for his label Suno’s after party.

Sexy Nerd

At Alice + Olivia’s presentation was actress Sarah Rafferty, of the USA series “Suits,” who said she loves the label’s leather joggers and would “wear them on the plane back to Los Angeles in an hour.”

Her Valentine’s Day date: her husband Santtu Seppala, chief investment officer of Kiitos Capital Management.

“I find his brain and his gift for numbers and his business acumen so sexy -- he is a big old sexy nerd,” Rafferty said.

The presentation took place in the “Sleep No More” rooms at the McKittrick Hotel, where one model posed as Rapunzel, “trapped” high up on a slope of fake grass, with a long, blonde yarn braid. Another was Snow White, sleeping near a bed of apples.

“I’d rather put on a real show, a theatrical experience,” said the label’s designer and founder, Stacey Bendet. “You really feel like you’re inside the world of these clothes.”

The idea came from a book she bought for her children in Paris. “It’s a pop-up book of fairy tales with no words, and these beautiful, insane illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe,” she said.

Perhaps, just perhaps, she was also inspired by the movies of Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US) Her father-in-law is Michael Eisner, former chief executive of the company, who seemed happy to find his granddaughters amid the fashion chaos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christine Harper at charper@bloomberg.net


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