Wearing Comme des Garçons at my book launch. Take that, Carrie Bradshaw. Photos: ©2016 Stephanie Badini
After two years of writing and planning, launch week for my book, My (Part-Time) Paris Life, was upon me. And that meant it was party time!
I had visions of an überglam affair like Carrie Bradshaw’s book launch in season five of Sex and the City—a press-worthy smash with a VIP guest list in a sexy location. But there was one giant catch: I had two pennies to rub together…and I wasn’t a character on television. But when I get an idea in my head, I’m like a dog with a bone. If there’s one thing seven years of working at People magazine taught me, it’s two things: 1) go big or go home, and 2) there’s always a way to get it done.
A lofty and very glamorous duplex apartment was the site of my book party, courtesy of NINE52, a new luxury condo building in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen district. ©2016 Stephanie Badini
This is the point in the journey when you realize that all your acquired skills from careers past, which had seemed divergent from your current path, turn out to be exactly what you needed to make it happen.
I wasn’t famous, and I didn’t have Samantha Jones to plan my party like Carrie had, but I did have mad marketing and design skills, and a head full of ideas. My biggest idea? To share my launch party with other launch brands, and create a launch to end all launches. Why shouldn’t my big moment be shared?
The event space was the New York element in my Paris-New York party theme: a new condo building, NINE52 in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen district, offered me a giant duplex apartment with three large arched windows and a mezzanine where DJ Chambray All Day spun French-inspired tunes all night.
Club Rayé Champagne flowed all night. ©2016 Stephanie Badini
While Carrie Bradshaw served cosmos at her book party, I had Club Rayé Champagne, a brand new label bottled by the Prunet-Guinard vineyards in France, and generously donated courtesy of Club Rayé Paris to make the party as chic as SJP’s.
It helps to have friends in the business, and my friend Chef Camillo Sabella generously gave me a helping hand planning the menu, the flowers—the whole shebang. He even broke his vegan chef rule to create an amazing French-inspired charcuterie platter among other things. God bless him, I was so stressed during the planning, I even stalked him on his vacation in Italy. But for a guy who plans banquets for 1000 people, my little shindig was a breeze for him.
Deelish cookies adorned with my cover were parting gifts for my guests.
Pastry chef Breanne Butler made adorable cookies with my book cover on them (can I call them “bookies”?), and her new launch brand, Ella V candy rings, were stylish party favors, yummy sugar bling too beautiful to eat. But we did, anyway.
With Barbara Lehman, the French teacher I went to Paris with when I was 16. She’s in Ch. 2. ©2016 Stephanie Badini
I couldn’t have created this party without all my amazing partners. And I’m very lucky that many of them are my friends, and that we could celebrate our new babies together. Sometimes when you want to achieve a dream, the best idea is to make it bigger, bringing in others who can help make it happen, and share in the success.
It was six weeks in the making and it was over in a blink of an eye. But from what I can tell from the photos, everyone had a very glamorous time. And it was pretty damn close to my Carrie-esque dream party.
Ok, it wasn’t star-studded, and there were no paparazzi. But was I wearing couture that Carrie would envy (Comme des Garçons—bought on consignment!), and I did have a tiny red carpet, with over 75 VIPs. And by VIPs I mean the very important people in my life. I couldn’t help but wonder (as Carrie would say), isn’t that what really matters?
View gallery in larger format, here.
Clockwise from left: My sister (and biggest fan), Maria, came to NYC to celebrate my day. My memoir is as much her story as mine; my dear friend, designer Matthew Waldman, who appears in my memoir; friends Richard Green and Carol Norman Smith flew up from Florida for the event; childhood friend, Dana Davidson and husband Robby; my cousin, artist Christopher Priore, towers over me. All photos: ©2016 Stephanie Badini
Top row: My dream team at St. Martin’s Press; fashion blogger Caroline Vazzana; my posse Jeanette O’Shea, Katrin Warren Turina and Tricia Rizzuto Perrotti. Middle row: Kisses from friend Jordan Holberg; friends and ex-colleagues from PEOPLE, Barbara Sanderson and Karla Moriarty. Karla is the friend who taught me about “Look Forward Tos” that I talk about in my memoir; longtime friend, Rachael Cronin; author Kelley Black (The Luscious Life). Bottom row: John F. Bennett, President, Paris American Club and friend; media exec. and friend, Paul Caine; friends Matthew Hars, Breanne Butler, Frank Nan. All photos: ©2016 Stephanie Badini
Top row: Big hugs from a family friend, Kim Heal; friends and former Time Inc. colleagues, Jennifer Sidel and Mei Lin Wong; my oldest friend Steven Krup, wife Virginia, and daughter, Monica. They are featured in my memoir. Middle row: Breanne Butler and friends; yukking it up with friend Edward Enrique. Bottom row: DJ Chambray All Day (aka Chris Gallo) spinning; big kiss from dear friend Matthew Waldman, also in my memoir. Large inset: hanging with friend Shelby Tompkins. All photos: ©2016 Stephanie Badini
Top row: With friend Robin Helman Whitney; signing a book for Tammy Wise (she appears in my memoir); my sister Maria with one of our mother’s best friends, Bettyann Nagle. Middle row: With sponsor Chef Camillo Sabella; my silly friends from alma mater Parsons School of Design holding my book upside down and backwards; friends Arlene Powell and Barbara Gerstenfeld Langbecker. Bottom row: signing a book for friends Timothy Biel and Thomas Malesys; friend Lapo Belmestieri who appears in my memoir; sponsor Breanne Butler models her EllaV candy rings with friends. All photos: ©2016 Stephanie Badini
Candids courtesy of the party guests. Clockwise from left: Lapo Belmestieri and me (Lapo is in my memoir); my sister Maria with our mom’s best friend; Maria and Matthew Waldman; Maria takes a selfie withfriends Dana and Robbie Davidson; sponsor Breanne Butler and Frank Nan; Matthew and me; with childhood friend Bob Mayo; sponsor Chef Camillo Sabella (rt.) with Tom Porto, and actress Nina Mehta.
A beautiful duplex apartment was the site of my party, courtesy of NINE52 luxury condominiums; Club Rayé Champagne flowed all night; Breanne Butler (EllaV) provided the party favors; delicious dishes courtesy of Chef Camillo Sabella. All photos: ©2016 Stephanie Badini
©2016 Stephanie Badini
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