Coronavirus Means Fewer Ballgowns for the Rich

Illustration for article titled Coronavirus Means Fewer Ballgowns for the Rich
Image: Getty

As coronavirus restrictions begin to thaw in many places across the U.S., you might be wondering how the philanthropists are preparing to handle entertaining going forward. That’s the most pressing issue going on right now, isn’t it?


Audrey Gruss, a former beauty executive at Elizabeth Arden and current philanthropist, has outlined for Page Six the changes she and her moneyed pals are going to have to make to accommodate “the new normal.” No more self-serving at the oyster bar, I’ll tell you that much!

“More casual. Less entertaining. Open spaces. Six people at home at a table for 12. Smaller groups. At most 10. Masks everywhere. Summertime seating outdoors can be at 50 percent the normal capacity. And galas are via Zoom. That way you stick on a little makeup and everyone does the effort. Listen, I’ve done my best by just pulling my hair back.”

This does raise the question about how the nature of how social gatherings will evolve. Guest lists will have to be trimmed down, making lots of space for drama to take hold. I can’t wait for the Real Housewives storylines where the need for social distancing is deployed as a tactic for blowing someone off.

“Wardrobe will be rethought. Fewer ballgowns in future, but we’ll get out of sweatsuits...None of us have worn anything. We’re dying to put clothes on. The charity set loves to dress up,” Gruss said. Speak for yourself, Audrey. I’m having my sweats upholstered to my body. 


It’s a major crisis for a certain type of nonprofit fundraising. The type where fancy women talk high-end shops into donating merchandise to a silent auction where they can bid on a designer handbag or whatnot for less than retail. The store gets a tax write-off (and nebulous “exposure”), the socialite gets a discount, the charity gets cash. And then her husband overbids on a big game hunting trip at the live auction so he can look super high-roller in front of his buddies. How are you supposed to do any of that on the internet? Who will fund [insert cause, like cancer research] now?