By Anna Sekula Posted January 30, 2008, 1:05 PM EST
Politicians, business executives, and entertainers in New York didn't have the opportunity to attend Monday night's State of the Union address in Washington, but they did gather to view it at a gala hosted by The Atlantic along with Microsoft and social couple Boykin Curry and Celerie Kemble. (How's that for a mix of cohosts?)
While the political magazine's recent 150th anniversary party raised some eyebrows by inviting guests to watch a V.I.P. cocktail party on stage, this event has been held in New York since 2004; its Washington counterpart is in its fifth year. Held at the recently reopened grand ballroom at the Plaza—Chanel held the first event there, on Wednesday, January 16—the party drew 113 invited guests including Mariska Hargitay, Alan Patricof, and Frederic Fekkai, who took in cocktails and dinner.
Overseen by Stacey Pavesi Debré, director of events for The Atlantic, and designed by Bronson van Wyck of Van Wyck & Van Wyck, the event featured a candle-filled cocktail hour in the foyer and dinner in the ballroom. With a large screen to view the speech at one end, guests sat at two 50-foot-long tables set with assorted succulents, dendrobiums, phalenopsis, and white ranunculus, and mirrored tiles in place of fabric runners.
In addition to the president's proposals for domestic policy and strategies for national security, guests heard commentary from James Fallows, the magazine's national correspondent (and former chief speech writer for former president Jimmy Carter), who also led a discussion.