There were too many cocktail kickoffs and galas to count this past Saturday evening. But Dispatches made sure to attend the God’s Love We Deliver 13th Annual Midsummer Night Drinks. Hosted by designer Vince Camuto and his altitudinous wife, Louise (Camuto Group's creative director), the event was held at the couple's stately historic residence, Villa Maria, in Water Mill.
Mr. Camuto, who also founded Nine West, and who more recently partnered with Tory Burch to launch her footwear line, also happens to own the license for Jessica Simpson’s eponymous line. Louise is a former Miss Sweden and a Miss Universe runner-up.
Villa Maria, meanwhile, is a landmark, 21,000 square-foot estate. Architectural Digest, a sponsor of Saturday's event, recently featured the home in its July issue. Needless to say, the venue drew design stars en masse. Dispatches spotted Dennis Basso, Geoffrey Bradfield, Ford Huniford, Steven Gambrel, Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper, and Vicente Wolf, as well as God’s Love board member Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest.
Geoffrey Bradfield and Sue Chalom
Through imposing gates, sun backlit impossibly the broad lawns that gently slope down to a stream that connects Mecox Bay to Mill Pond. Strolling revelers in the distance resembled a 19th century painting.
Some background on Villa Maria: A behemoth Queen Anne house first graced the property in 1887. It was later purchased by the son of U.S. president Martin Van Buren. After World War I, the home was handsomely rebuilt with limestone fronting by Edward P. Morse, an astonishingly successful shipyard owner. It would later become a retirement home for an order of aging sisters who at one point added the Siena Spirituality Center. Additionally, General Ruxton, Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite horse, later owned by Morse, is said to be buried here.
And as if it weren’t enough for real estate envious East Enders to drink in the prize grounds, there were also elegant food stations. Swedish Summer Culinary chef Gorgen Tiden offered up cream of Västerbotten cheese with cloudberry marmalade and salmon with caviar. Also a hit was Red Thread Good Coffee and a one-bite burger station.
Thanks to the generous hosts, 500 guests nibbled and imbibed for a sensational cause. This year alone, God’s Love, founded only 25 years ago, will deliver 1.2 million meals to clients living with severe illness in all five boroughs of New York City and portions of New Jersey.