Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brooks Brothers Loosens Tie for Swingin' Soiree

Members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis, left, engage the crowd's attention at the Brooks Brothers Fifth Annual Holiday Party. Photo by Susan Zanger.

MOST associate Brooks Brothers with high-quality, conservative clothing. But the venerable American clothier has a whimsical side, too. It’s manifested in such things as mad plaids and corduroy pants with whale embellishments.

This latter side was on display last night at its Brooks Brothers Fifth Annual Holiday Party. The joint was jumpin’ at the 44th street store with an A-list lineup of entertainers: Marlo Thomas, from Billy Elliott, Emily Skinner and The Billy Elliot Ballet Girls. ( On the bill, too, The Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble ( and the closer, Wynton Marsalis and members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. (

The "halls" are decked with bows of holly; Christmas trees/plants and wreaths are placed strategically around the first and second floors. In every corner partygoers are in high spirits, including the retiree who disclosed to anyone within hearing that she has attended the party every year since it started.

Helping the good cheer is an open wine/apple martini bar that also serves egg nog and apple cider that is sweet! because it isn’t too sweet. Sliders and pig-in-blankets make the rounds. Dessert-lovers eat at the trough of various cookies, including sugar holiday; miniature doughnuts glistening with sugar, accompanied by an artery-clogging chocolate sauce are like honey to the human butterflies.

To further sweeten the deal, Brooks Brothers offeres 15 percent off of all purchases made during the party. Ten percent of proceeds from those sales are earmarked for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, MT’s baby. (

Some of the evening's highlights are EK’s heartfelt rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The BE ballet girls – got up in white shirts, Brooks Brothers holiday ties, black leggings and various kinds of boots – perform a medley of Christmas carols. The showstopper – “Santa Baby” – has to cause the late, great Eartha Kitt to blush from on high. Wynton&Co. bring a star medley, too. The biggest star of them all, none other than “Carol of the Bells,” which appears on WM’s popular Christmas album, “Crescent City Christmas Card.”

The joint was jumpin’.

It Takes a Little Diva to Know a 'Little Diva'

IS it so surprising that since she sings, acts and authors that Kristin Chenoweth also designs?

The Tony-winning Southern belle and owner of a famous, high-pitched twang, along with distributor ShoeDazzle (, introduces a bootie called Little Diva. One little diva knows another, no?

It is the cutest little thing, with its curves and voluptuousness. And its raison d'ĂȘtre is to promote good, which was also the case last year when ShoeDazzle teamed on a shoe with Kristen Bell. Sales of “Little Diva” benefit the Donaldson Adoption Institute, a darn good cause close to the heart of proud adoptee, KC. (

When KC was embedded in her creative zone, pondering what her little one would be, she was taken back to styles of the 1960s; particularly, she channeled the “demure sexiness of vintage styles,” of the day. It is not at all hard to imagine both

Kristin Chenowith, left, and "Promises, Promises" co-star Sean Hayes try to maintain their composure while Ellen DeGeneres does her thing. Photo from "Promises, Promises" Facebook page.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth slipping their feet into a Little Diva-esque type.

Not-so coincidentally, this is also the seminal era in which KC's latest Broadway play, “Promises, Promises,” is set. (See video clips:

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