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Self Magazine's Self-Celebration

April 17, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Self's National Self Day kickoff party The Park Monday, 04.16.01, 6 PM to 9 PM
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“This is going to be a very successful party,” Origins' “color psychologist” Marianna Ortega told us, “because everyone is choosing red.” As part of the spa-and-self-awareness theme of Self magazine's second annual National Self Day kickoff party, Ortega was asking guests to choose which of five colors they liked best. She divulged that a majority of the women (and yes, it was mostly women) were choosing red--a color that symbolizes boldness, confidence, ambition and focus. “People are going to be making a lot of contacts tonight,” she said.

After perusing the scene at the Park, the hot new place-to-be restaurant on 10th Avenue, we were convinced that she was right. Guests were mixing, mingling and generally having a good time. But what's not to like about getting a back rub, fruity cocktails and a reflexology session?

Organized by Deborah Williamson and Mary Wible of Swell Productions, the event was held to promote Self Day, a national campaign spearheaded by the magazine to encourage employers to treat their often tired and overstressed employees to a day of self-indulgence and rest. Among some of the major companies participating in the Self Day program are Viacom, Liz Claiborne, Origins Cosmetics and, of course, Self's owner, Conde Nast.

Swell brought in Michael George to adorn the Park's interior with an array of plants and flowers. Two tall vases of blooming papyrus added a very textured, dramatic element to the darkened bar area, and gorgeous arrangements of white freesia and tulips adorned the tables and cocktail areas.

For the event's silent auction (benefiting the Girl Scouts of America, Planned Parenthood and Dress for Success), some of the auction lots were decorated with fish tanks containing a pair of real goldfish and item placards planted in the gravel. Other lots had some colorful ladyslipper and cattleya orchids, and another had a shallow dish filled with water and single hydrangea flowers floating on top. The entire area evoked a calm, spa-like feeling that went well with the beauty and spa packages that were donated for auction by Chanel, Bliss Spa, Canyon Ranch and Peninsula Spa, among others.

Some of the featured drinks of the evening were fruity martinis and cosmopolitans with pineapple, orange, banana and strawberry flavors. The party was attended by more than 450 guests, who included Conde Nast employees, their friends, advertisers, bankers and a few celebs, including fashion designer Shoshonna Lonstein and ex-Law & Order star Jill Hennessey. The Park was the perfect size for the event: Even with lots of people, there was enough room to maneuver from one room to the next without spilling your drink. Most of the venue's big outdoor patio went unused by the guests, despite the glowing lighting and extra seating.

--Suzanne Ito

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