Even though Graydon Carter hasn’t been at the helm of Vanity Fair for more than a year, that doesn’t mean he can’t support its talent.
Such was the case on Tuesday night in New York, where he threw a release party for Lili Anolik and her new book “Hollywood’s Eve,” about the under-the-radar writer and one-time West Coast ‘It’ girl Eve Babitz. While the event was surely about Anolik and her book, it was clear that Carter has not lost his ability to throw a party and work a room.
Guests vied for his attention, one after another. “The man of the village,” one said in greeting; “I’ll email you,” said another as Carter was inevitably tapped to speak with someone else. Meanwhile, looking tan with those signature three points of white hair unchanged, he joked that he was “just here to fill the drinks.”
As for what he’s actually up to lately, since he was not even holding a drink much less carrying a pitcher, he was mum. But there’s definitely something brewing — he brought his p.r. along to the party, who said he’s not “yet” ready to reveal what’s coming up. He was there to celebrate Anolik and her book, which grew out of a 6,000word story she wrote for him and Vanity Fair in 2014.
As for the party, it was really an industry affair, with just enough celebrity charm to keep it on the right side of solipsistic. There was Christie Brinkley, blonde and smiling as ever; Debbie Harry looking almost preppy; Victor Garber, pulled into a conversation that got him to say the theater is “still magical.” Andy Warhol favorite Jane Holzer (no more “Baby” in the front) came, too, and there was a man who, if it wasn’t Antonio Banderas, should enter the next lookalike contest.
But most of the very cozy space at the Waverly Inn (which Carter owns) was taken up by editors and authors like Ken Auletta of The New Yorker, Dan Halpern, Dan Lipsky and Peter Biskind. Photographer Lloyd Ziff also made an appearance, as did Annabelle Dunne, whose aunt Joan Didion had a hand in discovering Eve Babitz as a writer, not just a party girl, in Los Angeles decades ago. There were also plenty of former Condé Nast editors who stopped by, like Linda Wells, Robbie Myers, Jane Sarkin and Joan Kron. Surprisingly, Steven Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast parent company Advance Publications, made an appearance. And although Anolik is still a contributing writer for Vanity Fair, current editor Radhika Jones didn’t make it, even with her bookish pedigree.
No matter. Anolik seemed genuinely awed by the room and that Carter, who was the only magazine editor to accept her pitch for a story on the now reclusive Babitz years ago, threw it for her. “Dream come true” is how she put it the next day.
“There’s Graydon, Debbie Harry, all these publishing people, my family — I only would have wished Eve could have been there,” Anolik said. “If it was 40 years ago, Eve would have been doing coke in the bathroom and seducing a guy. That was the only thing missing.”
— KALI HAYS