Dear fashionable friends,
As you know, the Socialite Benevolent Association is an organization dedicated to serving the thousands of generous New Yorkers who attend the charity gala circuit, thereby supporting our cherished institutions, one gift bag at a time.
It’s our way of giving back to those who give back after taking so much.
This year, however, the traditional fall benefit season is on hold due to COVID-19. Many events are now taking place either virtually or in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Please note the following adjustments to the calendar:
• Bellevue Hospital’s annual comedy fundraiser, Crack Up for a Cause, will this year take place on FaceTime.
• The New Yorkers for Children fall benefit will be held over Zoom for two minutes at 10:45 a.m. on a Tuesday, between remote guided reading and 11:15 a.m. playtime for your youngest; 10:30 a.m. indoor soccer practice for your middle child; a 10:50 a.m. Skype doctor’s appointment for the twins; and 11 a.m. advanced calculus for your eldest.
• Save Venice will hold its gala in 450 individual gondolas, each floating 30 feet apart, on the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. To welcome each guest, Lauren Santo Domingo will personally swim between gondolas in a Body Glove x Carolina Herrera wetsuit collab, which will also be available on Moda Operandi.
• The Rubber Hood Foundation, whose mission is disciplined giving, will host its virtual Whip Poverty event on the pay-per-view platform OnlyFans.
• The Manhattan Opera will hand out inflatable sumo wrestler suits, customized to resemble Luciano Pavarotti, to keep donors safely separated at its fall performance and dinner. Female guests will especially appreciate the enhanced social distancing, as Plácido Domingo is expected to attend.
• The canceled Couture Museum Gala, sometimes called “fashion’s Oscars,” is inviting donors to post an Instagram selfie in the outfit they would have worn had the party gone ahead. For $25,000, the event’s fashion arbiter host will reply with a comment that at first seems vaguely complimentary, but which upon reflection is actually a withering put-down.
• The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foundation has announced no changes to its annual gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, as it expects everyone will be texting each other from the bathrooms as usual.
Most importantly, please spare a thought for the pandemic’s invisible victims: New York socialites. Because, if you’ve ever been to a benefit, you know these people don’t like to be invisible.
To spread the gala season spirit, I, Joy Smirnoff — the leading philanthropist and party fixture, and president of the Socialite Benevolent Association — am available to come to your home in person to recreate the benefit experience by sitting on your sofa and asking for money.
Besides, I already bought the ball gowns, and all that taffeta isn’t going to wear itself.