Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lunch: Andre Leon Talley -- Media Star!

February 12th, 2009
DIANE CLEHANE, Writer-At-Large,
Michael's Restaurant, Manhattan, NYC.

We missed Blythe Danner by a day. Too bad, I would have loved to have asked her what she thinks of her daughter's goofy -- but strangely compelling -- Web site, GOOP. It's the gospel according to Gwyneth, where she holds forth on all things great and small -- from how to wear a little black dress to how she got rid of her 'Shar-Pei-like stomach' after her pregnancies (I'm not kidding). No matter. The dining room was jam-packed, as it's been for weeks on Wednesdays now. Even the bar was standing room only. I was happy to catch up with my pals 'The Bar-ettes' Kira Semler and Vi Huse (They had to cancel a few weeks back because of that dreadful storm). But today spring was in the air, and from the looks of things, everyone was feeling upbeat.

I was thrilled when my friend Andre Leon Talley asked me to join him and Linda Wachner for coffee. Looking dapper as can be, Vogue's main man was fresh off his appearance on Today this morning, where he chatted with Meredith Vieira ("She was so easy to talk to") about his much-anticipated March cover story on Michelle Obama. "I'm really proud of it," says Andre of his exclusive up close and personal profile of the First Lady. There had been plenty of speculation on whether Mrs. Obama would be gracing the cover of the fashion bible after her hairdresser (who is getting his own reality show) semi-spilled the beans, but Andre says everyone at Vogue was sworn to secrecy. Now that it's official, he's making the rounds to talk about what it was like to spend time with the First Lady for the piece. He taped a segment for NBC Nightly News this morning, and he was off to do a sit-down after lunch with Wolf Blitzer (and he's going back to CNN for a second appearance tomorrow). With so much interest surrounding the story and accompanying images, I'm predicting the issue will be one of the magazine's strongest sellers ever. "I think it's going to be huge," says Andre. It's a pretty safe bet, I'd say ...

Andre told me he was struck by the First Lady's "focus and clarity" about her new life and, of course, was duly impressed by her fierce determination and commitment to give her girls as normal a life as possible. "She doesn't want them to grow up in a bubble," he reports. Andre saw the bond between mother and daughters firsthand as he made the seven-hour train ride with the Obamas as they journeyed from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. to the inauguration. It was something to see, he said, when the girls threw their mom a surprise birthday party on the train, having spent two hours decorating the car in secret. Michelle was understandably thrilled, says Andre. "Her genuine warmth is amazing." We both agree it's high time interesting people who are actually doing something push the 11-pound, 11 year-old celebutantes who are famous for being famous from the spotlight. Could it be that 'smart' is the new cool? Here's hoping...

Here's the rundown on today's crowd:

1. Kevin Huvane (who got hugs from the staff upon his arrival) and a mystery gent...
2. The Early shift: Dennis Basso and Marjorie Gubelman; Second seating: Bruce Wasserstein and his lovely daughter Pamela.
3. CNBC's Jonathan Wald and Dan Abrams. When I stopped by to say hello, they told me the two "old friends" were having a "catch up" lunch. The Late Show: Lanky Luke Janklow and a distinguished gray-haired gal.
4. Jack Kliger
5. Herb Siegal
6. Lisa Dallos with TV Guide editor-in-chief Debra Birnbaum and The New York Post's Keith Kelly. As a TV Guide alum, it was good to catch up with Debra and see what the old gang has been up to. Congrats to my good pals Lisa Chambers and Carol Dittbrenner on their much-deserved promotions. I know it was a while ago, but still...
7. Andre Leon Talley and Linda Wachner
8. Versace's Lisa Hellman with two unidentified fashionistas
9. Joe Versace
11. Stephen Swid
12. Cindy Lewis, Mandi Norwood (who is one of the few women who can get away with super short hair and look gorgeous doing it) and Bradi Nathan and Terry Starr, co-founders of Butterfly -- a social networking site "for moms who want to spread their wings" geared toward multitasking working moms. (Is there any other kind?) I'd settle for finding a competent babysitter, but what do I know? You can check it out for yourself
14. I stopped to chat with my friend, Nielsen's Gerry Byrne and his pal Brendan Ryan. Gerry had just returned from Quantico, Virginia, where he attended last night's premiere of HBO's Taking Chance at Quantico Marine Corp Base. The film stars Kevin Bacon as Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, who volunteers as a military escort to accompany the remains of 19-year-old Lance Corporal Chance Philips, USMC, back to his home in Dubois, Wyoming after he is killed by hostile gunfire in Iraq. Gerry, who served as a Marine Corps. Officer in Vietnam, was extremely moved by the film. Sounds like a must-see to me...
15. Jeff Pollack
16. Author Sandy Schrier
17. Sandy Hill
18. Francine LeFrak and pals
20. Rob Weisbach
21. Jay Kriegel
22. Lora Graev
23. Michael Kassan
24. Nick E. Rubinstein
25. Jeremy Philips, News Corp's EVP
26. Bev Camhe and Patty Watt
27. Peter Miscovich and Peter Slatin
28. Kristin Bedard
29. Shelly Zalis

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Newsletter from Butterfly

February 23rd, 2009

In the past two editions of Weekly Wings we have made much to-do about the celebrities we have, and will, interview for Butterfly. We have stated how remarkable each and every one is and have clearly voiced exactly why each woman was chosen as a mentor. We truly believe, as we wrote, that you will be inspired by their stories and you will relate to their struggles.

What we would like to do in this edition of Weekly Wings is to recognize our peers who are just as important as the Kathie Lee Gifford's of this world! Women like Paula Schmitt, Founder and Editor of Mom’s Literary Magazine. Paula is a mother to five, and has devoted herself to her family and to creating a forum for moms "across the globe to share stories and triumphs... who try hard to get it right." Join Paula's Women's Literary Magazine group on to connect to a fascinating group of women.

Shawn Slevin, as you may know, was the recipient of our very first Butterfly contest as she proudly invited her entire database of mothers into our community. Shawn's circle of moms grew from her organization called Swim Strong. Swim Strong "inspires kids to get off the couch and changes lives through competitive swimming." Join Shawn's Swim Strong group on and become inspired, for yourself and for your children.

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, is yet another Butterfly that needs to be recognized. She is an attentive mother who has earned the title of The Go-To Mom as a national parenting expert. Her book is proudly showcased on Butterfly's home page and her informative parenting spots can be seen on

Like Kimberley, Lynne Kenney, PsyD, also lends her expertise to TV and to radio as well. Lynne is a psychologist who "writes, produces and directs short TV/Radio content to improve the lives of families." She so kindly invited Butterfly to speak on her ever popular radio blog. (Click here to listen to Lynne's interview with Butterfly's Co-Founder Terry Starr.) You see, we too believe that celebrities and high-profile moms are fascinating but we want to make sure that your efforts and achievements as everyday moms are also recognized. We are all Butterflies, no matter where we started or how our journey may evolve.... reach out to one another on as we take this journey together.

A Newsletter from Butterfly

February 16th, 2009

Love and passion are two words that are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. But, to me they are synonymous with so much more. Women. I love women and am passionate about women. And, while my husband may feel a tad jealous, I don’t care. Terry and I are so lucky to have interviewed the most dynamic and inspiring group of mothers in the past four and a half months. Mothers who are passionate about their families and love the work they do.

Liz Lange revealed to us this past week that even though some people questioned her intentions to start a maternity line, she was determined to fill a niche. Who’s questioning her now? Her line is sold nationally at Target and Nordstrom.It’s hard not to love and feel passionate about Liz and the dozens of women that will be showcased on Listen to their stories. Learn from their experiences. Know that you can love and feel passion for your family and for your job, whatever that might be.

In 2009 Butterfly will feature exclusive interviews with the following mothers who struggle everyday to “do it all”: Emme- Plus Size Supermodel and TV Personality, Anne Sutherland Fuchs- Chair, NYC Commission onWomen’s Issues, Laurie Gelman- Host of Toronto’s The Mom Show, Samantha Ettus- Best Selling Author and Web TV Host, Jane Skinner and Jennifer Griffin- Fox News Correspondents, Rebecca Lobo- ESPN Sports Commentator and Former WNBA Superstar, and Dr. Robi Ludwig- Nationally Known Psychotherapist as seen on Today, Oprah, E!, to name a few. It is hard not to feel the love and the passion for these remarkable women.