When society and PR rainmaker Susan Shin invited The Observer to drinks and dinner “under the stars” at 620 Loft + Garden to celebrate “stellar women,” we were curious. While the drizzly, muggy gloom didn’t allow us any stargazing, a bevy of extravagantly stylish women provided enough sparkle to form their own constellation. Co-hosts Julie Macklowe, Selita Ebanks and Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos had summoned their best gal pal, along with a few blokes, to pay tribute to non-profit Seven Bar Foundation. The organization, which works to empower women in Guatemala with sustainable work opportunities, helping them to be self-sufficient, recently inked a global partnership with premium rum label Zacapa Rum.
“Booze doesn’t empower anybody!” said Ms. Macklowe in an HONOR dress and Alexander McQueen S&M leather harness, an outfit that her daughter helped style. “It might empower you to be bold,” she continued. Talking more seriously, Ms. Macklowe said that the microfinance initiative was a smart one and would improve the lives of female Guatemalan artisans and their families—especially in the aftermath and recovery of the devastating civil war in the late 1900s.
“I like a nice, dark liquor,” she yelled before prancing off with a glass of Zacapa Rum XO, served neat.
Tekla Israelson, Rum Brand Ambassador, explained that the new partnership would more specifically raise funds for small business and provide jobs for petate reed weavers, whose ancient skills are used for the packaging of each Zacapa bottle. She added that Guatemala’s volcanic and tropical climate make it ideal for growing premium rum.
For cocktail hour, Ms. Israelson had concocted two special libations, which were slurped aggressively by guests such as Alexandra Lind Rose in a lemony Oscar de la Renta frock, Chiu-Ti Jensen in a sherbet tiered lace dress and Valesca Guerrand-Hermes in an HONOR outfit. The modelesque Donna D’Cruz, had slipped into a gilded, lime graffiti linen cocoon dress and matching chartreuse platform sandals, all by Giambattista Valli, for her Latin-flavored DJ set.
“For a minute you actually feel like you’re in Europe,” The Observer overheard Guy Laroche Artistic Director, Marcel Marongiu, sardonically utter about the view of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral from the Rockefeller Center roof terrace.
Just in time, Ms. Shin herded her patrons off to an exquisite orchid and candle-lit banquet room for dinner. Sonnier & Castle’s Chef Patrick Phelan constructed a sensible two-course meal with dessert that featured Zapaca Rum throughout: A chilled Gazpacho with rum, red onion, cilantro and Jalapeño; filet of beef marinated in run with grilled summer vegetables and Israeli couscous; and finally, Giaduja milk chocolate cake with chocolate feuilletine crunch and Hazelnut crème Anglaise. Naturally, Ms. Israelson paired her own original Zacapa cocktails with each serving.
Seven Bar Foundation founder, Renata Mutis Black, concluded the evening with a speech thanking the group for their support and summarizing the agenda of her cause. “We deploy funds in Guatemala to make [these women] sustainable,” she concluded.
Everyone raised their glasses to that.
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