Great American parties balance charity and civilizing moments of good will and refinement amidst the hubbub and irritations of modern life, rekindling joie de vivre in our society .
--John Loring, "Tiffany Parties"
It's an intimidating new book, the one written by John Loring, Tiffany & Co.'s senior vice president and design director.
The pages are splashed with breathtaking photographs of the kind of soirees (200 of them!) that every self-respecting socialite would sell her sable for: cocktails aboard the Trump Princess, a tea reception at Blair House (the official guest house of the U.S. President), the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, the Lyric Opera Ball in Chicago. . . .
Now: Picture the worldly author (a near-and-dear of his editor, Jackie O., no less) of that ultrasophisticated tome coming to Orange County. Coming to Orange County to host a party . And picture yourself in charge.
Feeling a little iffy?
Not if you're Electa Anderson. For this ardent supporter of the Center for the Study of Decorative Arts in San Juan Capistrano, staging Sunday night's "Symbols of Celebration" was a piece of party cake.
Her secret? The ability to "balance charity and civilizing moments of good will and refinement," just what Loring says in the foreword of his book.
On the party agenda: serenades by Christmas carolers, cozy rooms filled with glittering Christmas trees, an exhibit of holiday drawings by Andy Warhol (commissioned for Tiffany's holiday cards in the '50s and early '60s and recently reissued), the chance to have a copy of "Tiffany Parties" signed by Loring, and, in the late hours, an ultraspecial supper laid out on "Tiffany Garland" ironstone for a privileged few.
Among the holiday trees dazzling the guests was "Family Memories," decorated by Anderson herself. At the top was an angel, "given to me in 1949 by a Norway cousin," said Anderson, who loves to makes links with the past when she decorates for Christmas. If you looked closely, you could spot the pearl-and-rhinestone tiara she wore to her senior prom and some tiny fans Anderson made out of "old sheet music I had." There were even some vintage Christmas cards from her grandparents.
"It feels good to connect with past generations," Anderson said. "And we need to teach our children about past generations and why some of these things were so important to us at certain periods of our life. In a high-tech world, it's easy to forget."
Other trees on display included an "Antique Doll" creation by Lynn West of Newport Beach, a "Christmas Tree With Birds," decorated by Tiffany & Co. at South Coast Plaza, and "Winter White," decorated by Mary Rowe of San Clemente.
After most of the 200 guests had departed, Loring was honored at an elegant, relaxed supper set up in the room graced by Anderson's holiday tree. On the menu: greens sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and triple cream bleu cheese, fresh Maine lobster and vanilla ice cream with almond brittle.
One unadorned tree, to be embellished with trimmings designed by Mario Buatta (the decorator of Blair House), was up for auction. Maura Eggan, marketing director of South Coast Plaza, won it with a bid of $3,200 (the tree will be set up in South Coast Plaza's Nordstrom wing).
Helping Anderson was her co-chairwoman, Kay Evans. Faces in the crowd: center founder and trustee Mozelle Redman, center director Gep Durenberger, Pat and Steven Gnadt, Dan Evans, Maxine Gaber, Dee Lawn, Jo Ellen Qualls, Gaye and Art Birtcher, Gavin and Ninetta Herbert, Wallace Neff, and Kitty and Charles Desmaris, director of the Laguna Art Museum.
Let music ring: Thirty years of music education for children were celebrated Friday at the Irvine Marriott hotel when the Women's Committees of the Orange County Philharmonic Society staged their annual luncheon and fashion show. Fashions from Nordstrom at South Coast Plaza were shown after a lunch that featured Greek salad and mousse with strawberry sauce.
On the "Let Music Ring" committee: chairwoman Marcia Coy, Wanda Cobb, Judith Ivey, Sara Mullarkey, Sherri Lawrence, Bobbitt Williams, Sharon Fair, Minna Dotzauer, Norma Clapp, Laura McKeever, Jane Grier, Christel Schar, Julie Jenkins, Sharon Upp and Peggy Crosby. Proceeds, estimated at $45,000, will be used to provide music programs to nearly 300,000 children in Orange County.