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Sunday, September 17, 2006


An A-list that matters?

Inspiration: Socialite Rank
Images: NY Post and Style.com

I've always been a fan of rankings. From Food Network's 'Top Five' to college football to Models.com, rankings maintain order and meaning in the world. Now there is a site that provides much needed order and meaning to the inscrutable world of NYC socialites.

Though it is easy to write off these socialites as vapid, spoiled girls, this would be a grave mistake. In 40 years, these 'girls' be the glue holding the NYC philanthropic world together. They are the Brooke Astors and Nan Kempners of tomorrow.

Unlike their West Coast peers -- the LA starlets -- NYC socialites tend to be better educated and attend charity balls and art fundraisers in addition to fashion shows and club openings. While starlets like Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton often do not have particularly 'distinguished' families, NYC socialites always do. Socialites are usually 'old money' -- like the Hearsts -- or the wives/daughters of powerful businessmen (Trump), foreign billionaires (al Fayed), fashion designers (Missoni), or Conde Nast editors -- yes, Anna Wintour has produced something other than a hostile work environment. My favorites on the list are Margherita Missoni, Camilla al Fayed, and Rachel Roy, who towers over Damon Dash.

Having attended both philanthropic and non-philanthropic society events their entire lives -- or at least since the wedding -- socialites begin joining the steering committees for these events sometime during their mid-20's. There, they gain the experience needed to maintain their power and prestige in the coming years, as their beauty fades and their Zac Posen dresses give way to stately Chanel suits. The most savvy of these socialites will successfully master the manipulative skills of a top PR agent and the organizational abilities of a top event planner, all while maintaining the composure of a more elegant Stepford Wife.

Unfortunately, the Page Six magazine write-up on SocialiteRank.com greatly undermines the image of composed elegance towards which these women aspire. Socialites are spamming the site with comments and e-mails in an attempt to raise their own ranking at the expense of others. They have accused each other of "of being cocaine addicts, 'beards' and, worst of all, poor." Even their mothers are getting involved in the action: "a certain mother...has posted nearly 35 comments under different names on our site in support of her daughter." This news is truly saddening -- these women should be busy picking out dresses and sending out invites to the next breast cancer luncheon, not commenting on blogs. This would never happen in San Francisco.

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