The men's department of Barney's is not necessarily the first place one thinks of for a celebrity packed event. But if anyone can wrangle the power set to a party in droves, it is TODS Diego Della Valle. Barney's creative director Simon Doonan, along with Barney's CEO Mark Lee, threw a pre-party fete for Della Valle to celebrate his Fashion Group International's "Brand Visionary" award at their Night of Stars Gala, where Richard Gere will present him with the honor. The honoree also enlisted the support of an A-list host committee that included: Christopher and Amanda Brooks, Chris and Cristina Cuomo, Jamie Johnson, Celerie Kemble (who on Tuesday hosted a salon-styled opening at the Manhattan House, where she designed some of the residences), James Marshall and Elettra Wiedemann, Carlos Mota, Euan Rellie and Lucy Sykes Rellie, Jamie Tisch, Mary Alice Stephenson, and Lauren Remington Platt, who was toting a King Charles puppy (she received it as a present) in her large tan TODS bag. I had a King Charles Spaniel growing up, and she was darling, but she was never quite well-behaved enough for me to take her to a party, never mind entrusting one of my TODS bags to her.
Della Valle, who ushered his brand to the U.S. in 1979 with his iconic driving shoe (back when it was called "J.P. TODS"), is enjoying his time in the States: "I always love being in New York, and I am grateful to receive such an honor from these wonderful people," he told me. The evening will once again be emceed by Doonan, who joked that he does not sleep for at least a week beforehand. "It takes a lot of work!" he insisted. What no doubt did take a lot of work were the two special windows that Doonan curated. The first celebrated the TODS driving shoe, or "moc," as Doonan and many others like to call it. The second one was a personal portrait of Mr. Della Valle, who surprised champagne sipping party-goers everywhere by stepping into the window with actress Elizabeth Banks. In addition, driving shoes of nearly every color hung from the ceiling, columns, and walls throughout the men's floor. Among the other countless celebrities, socials, and top editors there to admire the windows and all things TODS that evening were (ready?): Amanda Ross, Rachel Roy, Kelly Bensimon, Frederic Fekkai, Carlos Souza, Cameron Winklevoss, Candy Pratts Price, Joanna Coles, Andrew Saffir, Dan Ragone, Amanda Ross, Cindi Lieve, Joe Zee, Katie Cassidy, Zani Gugelmann, Padma Lakshmi, Robert Burke, and TODS's Sarika Rastogi. DJ Mia Moretti was doing the spinning, and the last song I heard on my way out was The Monkees' "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone." Appropriate, because no stone was left unturned yesterday evening. And for those who missed out on the fun but still want a taste of the whimsy, go visit the windows, which will be on display through November 9th.