The Pre-Holiday Rush Begins in Earnest

Thursday night was a busy one in the city, and I used it as an opportunity to check out some of the holiday windows on Madison Avenue before heading to a much anticipated spa opening downtown. My first stop was at Barneys, home of the Disney Electric Windows, to say hello to Kelly Florio Kasouf, who was celebrating her second Sophie and the City book, this one entitled Grand Central Escapades. Also hosting the fete were fitness guru Tracy Anderson, celebrity stylist June Ambrose, and, the chic yummy mummy site where ambassador Kasouf just launched her new column "Diary of a Haute Mom." The event also celebrated the jewelry collaboration Lulu Frost for Sophie and the City, and both the book and the jewelry line will be available exclusively at Barneys this holiday season.

Guests including Simon Doonan, Emanuele Della Valle, Richard Perry, along with a bevy of chic mums and their tots, enjoyed a fun-filled evening complete with a 1920's inspired costume step-and-repeat, coloring stations, comfort food treats of chocolate milk, mini grilled cheese, pommes frites cones, and custom Eleni's NYC themed cookies, as well as a book signing by the author. The true scene stealer, however, was Sophie -- outfitted in a custom Oscar de la Renta dress equal parts chic and age-appropriate. Eloise, watch out.

After Barney's I walked a few blocks up Madison and glanced at some of the windows -- which are, of course, always prettiest at night. One of the most notable was Hermes's Alice in Wonderland-themed prints, which the store unveiled that very evening. By that point, it was time for me to head up to The Carlyle for an actual lighting ceremony. Miracle on Madison Chairman Muffie Potter Aston and Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center President Annette Rickel had the honor of flipping the switch to ignite the holiday spirit in front of everyone's favorite Upper East Side hotel. After the lighting, a cocktail fete for over 100 MSKCC members and their guests resumed at The Carlyle Ballroom. The celebration also kicked-off Miracle on Madison Avenue taking place on Saturday, December 1 to benefit MSKCC, organized by the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), with media partner the Wall Street Journal. Also in attendance were Grace Hightower DeNiro, Somers Farkas, Kamie Lightburn, Coco Kopelman, Leslie Jones, Vera Safai, Eleanora Kennedy and BID President Matthew A. Bauer.

I left the party with fellow guest and Yoga Gives founder Amanda Taylor, and we shared an adventurous (i.e. traffic-filled) ride downtown where Erno Laszlo hosted a much anticipated party at its brand new Soho headquarters to celebrate the relaunch of THE INSTITUTE, the Hollywood skin care staple once frequented by Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy and Ava Gardner. From the late 1930s until the passing of its founder in 1972, THE ERNO LASZLO INSTITUTE on Fifth Avenue was unrivaled for its pioneering skin care and exclusive membership, and is now reopening its doors after four decades. That's quite a storied history, and no wonder the relaunch drew such an illustrious roster of hosts and attendees, among them: Haley and Jason Binn, Ann Caruso, Katie Lee, Alison Brod, Jill Martin, Darcy Miller, Stephanie Hirsch, Lucy Sykes Rellie, Ramy Sharp, Samantha Yanks, and Mark Mullet -- along with Erno Laszlo consulting physician Dr. Scott Wells and CEO Charles Denton.

Guests supped on cocktails as well as bespoke pizzas and beef wellingtons whilst trying out the myriad products on display. The evening also featured an exhibition showcasing a private collection of Marilyn Monroe's personal effects. As the festivities slowly winded down a little bit past its 9 p.m. end time, guests congregated outside on West Broadway like packs of high schoolers, planning their next move. Some went next door to Cipriani's, others took the short cab ride to Indochine. Exhausted, I headed back uptown, planning to go home... until I got a phone call to meet some friends up at Dorrian's. After some surprisingly little arm twisting, I caved. Surely, there must be some ERNO LASZLO product that effectively combats too many late nights, n'est pas?