Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease currently affecting 36 million people worldwide. Rita Hayworth, the iconic movie star, was sadly stricken with Alzheimer’s. Her daughter, the brilliant and caring Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, has made helping people with Alzheimer’s, and finding a cure, her life’s mission. She started the Rita Hayworth Gala in honor of her mother, a dazzling yearly event at the Waldorf, to raise awareness of, and funding for, this incredible cause.

This year the gala will take place on October 25, and will be chaired by Anne and Jay McInerney, who generously co-hosted a kickoff cocktail at their beautiful Hamptons home with Khan. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and supporters of the cause were there in full force. This year’s gala theme will be Hollywood Glamour.

Alexandra Lebenthal, looking glamorous herself in a long green silk Alice & Olivia dress, got involved because of her own mother.

“My mom had Alzheimer’s for 10 years and died a year and a half ago,” said Lebenthal. “She was such an incredible part of my life and my children’s, particularly my son Ben. This has been really meaningful, to be a part of trying to find a cure for this disease.”

I asked Yasmin Khan what she felt was most important to communicate to the world about Alzheimer’s.

“There is help out there for those loved ones and family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s really important if you believe your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia that you go to your internist and get checked,” said Khan. "There is more information on the Alzheimer’s Association Web site,”

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katie Lee

Brilliant. Controversial. Genius. Provocative. Hilarious. Serious. Pompous. Ridiculous. Sublime.

These comments, and more, were being thrown around at every turn at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center this year.

The theme was Voluptuous Panic, and Wilson didn't disappoint. A big, faux breasted woman in a red rose miniskirt greeted us at the entrance. A steamroller designed to generate atonal music as it rolled on the sand greeted guests in the courtyard. Three artists dressed in white, with white hoods, were attached to a giant white spine that culminated in a cloud. A “dog” in platforms held a woman in a black dress on a leash near a sign that warned, “Beware of Woman”.

“It's brilliant, bizarre and fabulous at the same time,” said LTMH Gallery owner Leila Heller, who knows a thing or two about contemporary art. “It's my favorite benefit of the year.”

There were a variety of conceptual pieces in the forest as well, the most alarming being two men buried up to their chins with microphones in front of each. One of them was pale as a ghost, beads of sweat dripping down his face. One of the guests was seriously worried, and asked if he needed help.

“I'm ok,” answered the poor guy, looking like he was about to faint. “I have to sing now," and both men proceeded to sing an out of tune rendition of “Tonight, tonight”. Another guest spritzed him with water. Did they rehearse this? What if he needed to scratch his nose? How about mosquitoes and ticks?

A doctor friend of mine was nonplussed, so I felt it was safe to move on to the extraordinary silent auction, where many savvy collectors have found pieces in the past by the likes of Will Cotton, Peter Dayton, and Robert Wilson himself.

This year, IFF, one of the evening's sponsors, created a special scent in honor of Wilson's 70th birthday and named it Black Rider after one of Wilson's musical productions. Seventy bottles (for 70 years) were included as an item in the silent auction item. Created by IFF Senior Perfumer Loc Dong, who had been in residence at the Watermill Center last summer, the scent is made up of seven ingredients, one for each of Wilson's decades.

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It's over 90 degrees out and we're suffocating from the heat. Is there anything better than jumping into a cool, crystal clear ocean? The ocean is way up there on many people's lists of favorite places. It provides us with physical and spiritual nourishment. We need our oceans to survive. Yet we treat them with terrible disrespect, and the situation is getting desperate.

Fact: There is a garbage spill the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean made up of mostly plastic bottles.

Fact: Since the 1950s, 90 percent of the big fish—such as sharks, tuna and swordfish—are gone. In 1960 a swordfish weighed 266 lbs; today it weighs 90 lbs.

Fact: Nearly half the people on the planet—some 3 billion— rely on fish as a primary source of protein.

Fact: As a result of ocean acidification, all coral reefs could be gone by the end of the century. And 25 percent of all marine life depends on coral reefs.

Luckily, there are people out there who are motivated to stem the tide (if you'll pardon the pun) of destruction that humankind has wrought. Oceana, a wonderful organization dedicated to saving and preserving the oceans for future generations, held its second annual fundraiser in Southampton on July 30, at the beautiful seaside home of Margie and Michael Loeb.

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hip'tique Santa Monica

If I had a sister I would have to insist she have a closet exactly like hip'tique—someplace I could go to pick out just the right sweater and the perfect dress for any occasion—which East Coast transplant Christine Berardi (no connection to designer Antonio) opened in Santa Monica mid-February.

Bright and airy, hip’tique (the H is lower case at all times … ) is filled with an eclectic mix of designers from the worlds of fashion, beauty, and home, including Black Halo, Amanda Uprichard, Obakki, IRO, Habitual, DVF, Tucker, Ulla Johnson, Susana Monaco, and LNA

The crowd snatching up the stylish selection of goods is just as eclectic as the stock list itself, with everyone from local celebrities and their pups, to an all-ages roster of clients who can find something for everyone on Christine’s upbeat shelves.

What was the design inspiration for the boutique? 

I am mildly obsessed with gold. You could make anything gold and it instantly becomes amazing!  Since we are one block from the beach, I wanted the boutique to have a sophisticated, fun, beach vibe ... with gold accents and splashes of color! The refinished concrete floor is great for all the dogs that visit us.

What kind of experience do you want the shopper to have? 

I want customers to feel completely at home, relaxed … for the customer to want to take the time to look, touch, feel, smell and try on everything that excites her in the store. It's shopping … there's nothing abut it that is supposed to be too serious, so the experience needs to be fun and relaxing.

Do you have celebrity customers? Who would you love to have shop at hip'tique?

We have had celebrity customers but oddly enough I rarely recognize them. I was on the floor playing with a very famous 'Kate's' dog and had no clue who the leash was attached too. Needless to say we treat everyone the same.

Where do you find new designers?

We are always online looking for new designers.  People in L.A. are so in the know that I am always looking and talking to customers about what they are loving now.

Have you put any unknowns on the map?

Not yet but I am working on it!

Is the boutique a reflection of your personal style? Who are your go-to designers?  

Absolutely!  I buy only things I love and would wear.  I am obsessed with denim and dresses and, I guess, everything in between. Picking a favorite is impossible, just depends on my mood.

What's your must-have accessory? 

An Alexis Hudson clutch and Deity necklace

What prompted you to move hip’tique from the East Coast to Santa Monica?

It honestly just happened, as most things do in my life. I sublet an apartment in Santa Monica for three months after I sold my first boutique. I came here waiting for my house to sell, to hang with friends, and enjoy time off for the first time in my life. When it was time to make a decision [about] what was next I decided to move to Venice and open another hip'tique. I think my personality and style fit much better on the Westside vs. the city. hip'tique in Pittsburgh is still open and has the same name so that causes some confusion. Different store and different styles now with the new owners, but I'm proud of the fact that in this economy, it's still thriving after almost eight years.

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