Saturday, July 11, 2009

Robert Isabell, A-List Party Planner, Dies

From the NY Times: Robert Isabell, the floral designer and events planner whose shrewdly lavish aesthetic helped create the buzz around Studio 54 and who made Kennedy weddings and a White House Christmas, not to mention museum galas, corporate celebrations and charity balls, into occasions of glorious moment, was found dead on Wednesday in his Greenwich Village townhouse. He was 57.

The cause was a heart attack, said Alex Folger, a lawyer who is one of the executors of Mr. Isabell’s estate. The club owner and hotelier Ian Schrager, a friend, said he had seen Mr. Isabell on Saturday in the Hamptons and that Mr. Isabell had left at about midnight to return to Manhattan, but that no one had seen or spoken to him after that.

Mr. Isabell was an events planner before such a thing was common. He was known for imagining an occasion in its entirety — the flowers, of course, but also the location, the d├ęcor, the lights, the table settings, the sound — and in the eyes of many of his clients, his skills amounted to artistry. Among the style-conscious, fashion-conscious, glamour-conscious and status-conscious, Mr. Isabell was considered, in the words of Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue, “the king of the event world.”

“He was the first one that all of New York society went to for a wedding, for a gala, for a private party,” Ms. Wintour said in a telephone interview Friday. “If you could afford him he was a magician. All the great society hostesses — Pat Buckley, Annette de la Renta — used him, and because they used him, all the others wanted to use him.”

Afraid of neither simple elegance nor opulence, gifted with both taste and creativity, he used them all in the service of the joyous, the somber and the playful. He worked on Caroline Kennedy’s Cape Cod wedding to Edwin Schlossberg in 1986 and John F. Kennedy Jr.’s wedding to Carolyn Bessette on Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia in 1996. He worked on the funerals of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994 and of her friend the horse breeder and philanthropist Paul Mellon in 1999. Entire article can be found here.

Photo: WWD.com

1 comment:

TERI REES WANG said...

Tragic!..another talent lost to us.

...a simple trick for all of us. Look to see if there is a crease across either or both of our ear lobes. If we do, then we have an artery blocked. Be careful. Be well.