Life’s a Banquet … Don’t Starve: Who You Calling a Diva?

Deborah Roberts Divas Luncheon

After the Carolina Herrera show at Lincoln Center (Theme of the collection: “Ladylike,” a big relief in the days of “Wardrobe by Strippers ‘R Us,”) I dashed uptown to the legendary Apollo Theater for their first annual Divas luncheon.

Many of us got to fulfill a lifelong dream: to be on stage, granted we were just eating and talking, but we were on THAT stage which has been graced by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Mary J. Blige.

The event benefitted the education programs at the Apollo which train young people from the area for careers behind the scenes. They raffled off not one but three Judith Lieber jeweled minaudieres and I regret to say, I didn’t win a single one. But I won’t surrender to bitterness … Back to the affair.

Diva is a horribly overused word these days, and so often misapplied to people with negligeable talent and horrendous manners, but the ladies in this case were stunning exemplars of the breed: Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, groundbreaking director Mira Nair, Emmy award winner Lynn Whitfield, and eternally beautiful Leslie Uggams (I asked her whether her portrait was withering in her attic) were all on hand.

In spite of it’s being Valentine’s Day, most of the ladies refrained from the clichéd impulse to don red (the theater itself is a festival of red velvet and gilding.) Elegant day dresses ruled the day, my hostess, MTV President Marva Smalls wore, a chic black, white and grey floral print knee length number from Prada. MC Deborah Roberts shone in a dusty rose sleeveless charmeuse shift. Mira Nair sounded the ultimate grace note when she summed up the spirit of the Apollo: “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.” Here’s to not remaining silent.

What we ate: Succulent Moroccan spiced chicken and couscous in a red pepper coulis. Mercifully, there was no time for dessert as they ushered us out promptly at two. “Vini, Eaty, Leavy …”

What we received in our gift bags: Scented candles in exquisite porcelain holders from Bernardaud and two scrumptious shortbread cookies covered in white chocolate …

Péché Mignon/Cute Sin of The Day: The chocolates never made it home. I ate two Teuscher truffles in the cab … I think that’s the equivalent of making out in the back seat.

Tomorrow: Stay tuned for Bettina Zilkha and my first joint fashion report, “A Couple of Ethnic Chicks Sitting Around Talking.” We’re covering Herrera, Basso and more …

Life’s a Banquet … Don’t Starve.

Photo: Divas luncheon MC Deborah Roberts.