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Casita Maria Cocktail Party
Roberto Cavalli
711 Madison @ 63rd Street
December 13, 2012

Written by Wendy R Williams
Photo Credit:
Patrick McMullen

Opposite Photo: Barbara Hemmerle-Gollust, Adrienne Vittadini and Enrica Arengi Bentivoglio

It was lights, camera and action on a set swirling with the holiday glitz of Roberto Cavalli's Boutique when Jacqueline Weld Drake, Ernica Arengi Bentivoglio, John Bernbach, Mario Buatta, Fe Fendi and Kalliope Karella hosted over 200 guest at the Casita Maria’s Holiday Cocktail Party.

The design industry came out in full force to support the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education and its mission of bringing the arts to one of the poorest neighborhoods of the Bronx. Design notables attending the event included
Michael Rena, President of Chanel SRL; Barbara Cirkva-Schumacher,Division President of Fashion, Watches and Fine Jewelry at Chanel; Cristiano Mancini, the Director of Public Relations at Roberto Cavalli; fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini; and interior designers Susan Gutfriend and Mario Buatta.

Fe Fendi, Christiano Mancini, Carmen Limbari and Paula Fendi

Guests included: Edgar Batista, Haley & Jason Binn, Liliana Cavendish, Ann Dexter Jones, Paula Fendi, Anges Gund, Susan Gutfreund, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Maria Eugenia Haseltine & William Haseltine, William Ivey Long, Kalliope Karella, Eleanora and Michael Kennedy, Sandra Landy, Carmen Lambari, Cristiano Mancini, Daisy Olarte de Kanavos, Lauren Remington Platt, Michael Rena, Barbara Cirkva-Schumacher & John Schumacher, Jean Shafiroff, Daisy Soros, Stephanie Stokes, Christine Schwarzman, Felicia Taylor, Adrienne Vittadini and Cipriano Zabbos & Alexandra Zabbos.

Allesandro Fendi and Fe Fendi

Laura Remington Platt Mario Buatta
Barbara Cirkva-Schumacher and
John Schumacher
Jason Binn and Heley Binn
Kalliope Karella, Jacqueline Weld Drake and Enrica Arengi Bentivoglio Jacqueline Weld Drake and Agnes Gund

Here is some information about the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and about Roberto Cavalli from the press release from Jonathan Marder +Associates.


The mission of the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education is to empower youth and their families by creating a culture of learning through high quality social, cultural, and educational opportunities. Casita Maria was founded in 1934 by Claire and Elizabeth Sullivan, two schoolteachers in East Harlem. Working from a small East Harlem apartment, Casita Maria’s goal back then was to give the children of recently arrived Latino families the educational support needed to thrive in their new homeland—the young could lead their parents and their community to full participation in the American Dream. By developing new programs as new issues arose, and relocating to the South Bronx as its community moved around the city, Casita has been able to effectively serve each new generation. By 1961, Casita was offering programs similar to those created by its founders and thousands of New Yorkers gained skills and were offered essential services through its work. As the Bronx “burned” in the 1970's, Casita was a safe haven and a route out of poverty. Casita Maria continues to be a driving force in the communities it serves through vital after school and educational programs that focus on the arts and technology.

With the opening of our new, state of the art facility, the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education on Simpson Street in the South Bronx, we now present musical, dance, cinema and theater performances, as well as art exhibitions and installations. With state of the art facilities, carefully designed classrooms, and fully equipped studios the new building allows us to triple the number of New York City students able to participate in our in school, after school and summer arts and education programs. Built by the NYC School Construction Authority, under the auspices of the NYC Department of Education, on land owned by Casita Maria the new building is the culmination of a remarkable public/private partnership that has developed over many years. By diligently working together our Board and staff, our partners in New York City government, our supporters, and our community, we have created something very special for the South Bronx, and for the city at large. For more information see:


Roberto Cavalli was born in Florence, Italy. His grandfather, Giuseppe Rossi, was a member of the Macchiaioli Movement, whose work is exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery. Following in the family footsteps, Cavalli enrolled at the local Art Institute. While a student concentrating on textile print, he made a series of flower prints on knit that caught the attention of major Italian hosiery factories.

By the early 1970s, he invented and patented a revolutionary printing procedure on leather, and started creating patchworks of different materials. He debuted these techniques in Paris, immediately getting commissions from the likes of Hermès and Pierre Cardin. At age 30, he presented his first namesake collection at the Salon for Prêt-à-Porter in Paris and later brought it to the catwalks of the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence. In 1972 Roberto Cavalli opened his first boutique in Saint-Tropez.

Today Roberto Cavalli’s collections are sold in over fifty countries worldwide. Roberto Cavalli designs RC Menswear as well as the youth aimed line Just Cavalli, launched in 1998 as well as the Angels & Devils Children Collection and the Class line. Roberto Cavalli’s collections span multiple product categories including accessories, shoes, eyewear, watches, perfumes, underwear and beachwear. In 2002 Cavalli opened his first café-store in Florence, revamping it with his signature animal prints. This was shortly followed by the opening in Milan of the Just Cavalli café at Torre Branca and another boutique on Via della Spiga.










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