Just last summer, I wrote on this very blog about a wonderful dinner party that designer Douglas Hannant and his business partner Frederick Anderson hosted for some 120 people at the Wainscott culinary destination Georgica. Held on the second Friday in June, the fete drew such an impressive crowd of Hamptons fixtures, friends, and supporters, that I deemed the party the unofficial kickoff to the Hamptons summer social season (or, for those who cannot bear to utter the word "Hamptons," substitute "out East" if you think that makes it sound less commercial). Apparently, I was onto something, because this year, Douglas and Frederick decided to turn that dinner into a tradition. Along with hosts Alina Cho, Pamela Gross Finkelstein, Anne Hearst McInerney, and Valesca Guerrand Hermes, the duo held their second annual Hamptons Summer Kickoff dinner, again at Georgica, this time on the first Friday in June. And once again, several dozen of the duo's nearest and dearest came to celebrate. Guests like Fern Mallis, Tatiana and Campion Platt, designer Dennis Basso, Bronson Van Wyck, Andrew Fry, Amy Hoadley, Jay McInerney, Judith Guiliani, Leslie Stevens, R. Couri Hay and Hamptons Magazine editor Samantha Yanks mixed and mingled during a very lively cocktail hour near the restaurant's bar. Everyone looked perfectly poised and polished despite the fact that most had fought the obligatory Friday Hamptons traffic -- but that is only to be expected of this group.
It took a little prodding, but after a lot of chatting and a couple of glasses of rose, we finally made our way to the seated dinner area, where once again Executive Chef Seth Levine wowed us with an innovative three course menu. If you are a fan of truffle oil, then Mr. Levine is your man; he infuses everything from his focaccia to his pasta dishes with the rich flavor. The salad of mixed greens with dried cranberries and goat cheese struck the right balance between sweet and pungent; and one could not go wrong with any of the three entree choices: a perfectly cooked roasted chicken; salmon with creamy dill dressing; and corn risotto topped with generous helpings of fresh lobster. Just like last year, I opted for the pasta dish, and it may have been the most popular choice -- the tender, almost buttery lobster meat left everyone craving for more. But it was time to migrate once again -- this time, to the dance floor area (Georgica also doubles as a club for the post-dinner set), where we were greeted with an array of freshly baked cupcakes. Chocolate, peanut butter-flavored: you name it. I caught up with my friend Chele Chiavacci on the eve of what was to be one of the most seminal moments in her life: she got engaged the following day. She made her official announcement at the Hale House benefit that Monday, where Mr. Anderson was honored for his longtime dedication to the charity along with Alexandra Lebenthal, Alina Cho, and Diandra Douglas.
I should mention that Douglas Hannant and Frederick Anderson organized this dinner in the midst of planning their resort runway show. They flew out to East Hampton two hours before the dinner, played the role of perfect hosts, and then flew back into the city that night, just in time for their 9 am fittings the next morning. The discipline was worth it: on Tuesday evening, Hannant presented his nautical-themed collection on the roof deck of The Intrepid to much of this crowd and a host of editors who cracked several smiles from their usual poker faces. Talk about multi-tasking! Like any successful business, the House of Hannant thrives on working non-stop, but perhaps next on their agenda is a little vacation? No one could argue that it wasn't well earned.