Bette Midler Attends The Central Park Conservancy Hat Lunch

New York Post
Headwear in full bloom
May 3, 2012

Caroline Kennedy stood against tradition and donned a statesman-like top hat to yesterday’s lunch hosted by the women’s committee of the Central Park Conservancy. Kennedy was among more than 1,200 artfully topped ladies at the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon.

Inside a flower-drenched marquee in Central Park was an array of boaters, birettas, bowlers, bonnets, fedoras, fascinators and even a sombrero. The lunch, described as the most “elegant, creative, surprising and eccentric” event of the social calendar, honored trustee Gillian Miniter, and raised $3.5 million.

Miniter wore an Eric Javits hat with pearls and feathers, described as “very ”˜Hunger Games.’ ” Bette Midler sparkled in a doll hat. Martha Stewart – in a wide-brimmed beige number – took photos of the ladies at Karen LeFrak’s table, including Blaine Trump, Jamee Gregory, Audrey Gruss and Joanne De Guardiola.

There were some whimsical, outrageous pieces – designer Lela Rose wore a fruit bowl complete with a banana, cherries and grapes, and artist and committee member Carol McDermott was in a self-created extravaganza of foliage crowned by an owl family and park bench.

“She always does a park scene,” Miniter said. “One year, Carol wore Sheep Meadow.” Lisa Maria Falcone, wife of troubled Lightsquared backer Phil Falcone, made an eye-catching choice of outfits – in a sea of conservative pastel suits, she wore a cleavage-revealing silver silk gown and diamond cross. Two of the most exquisite hats crowned Amy Fine Collins and Lizzie Tisch, created by Brooklyn bespoke milliner Aaron Keppel.

Amy told us she discovered Keppel after meeting his parents in an antique store, and he’s since created several pieces for her. Her latest, a leaf with tropical birds on it, was inspired by a Magritte painting. Tisch wore a delicate paper and raffia skull with climbing wisteria. Keppel said, “I hope people will become more daring with headwear. With the Kentucky Derby, expect to see a lot of tulle and flowers. I’d like to see people working with designers, thinking of hats more as a piece of art rather than something to just finish off your outfit.”

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