Gilding the Lily at Oscar de la Renta

Courtney Clenney

After the jump, Intern Courtney's recap of her visit to Oscar de la Renta in NorthPark Center yesterday, where Tatiana Boncompagni Hoover signed copies of her novel Gilding Lily. But among the photos Courtney returned with was this one of Lisa Garza, the not-Next Food Network Star, who's either modeling one of her aprons or has been promoted to Naughty Server. OK, so jump for the a photo of the guest of honor, as well as the recap, wherein there is much girl talk.

Courtney Clenney
Tatiana Boncompagni Hoover

Yesterday, at the don’t-touch-anything-with-your-smudgy-fingers Oscar de la Renta store in NorthPark, some of Dallas’ toniest ladies -- from socialites to champagne hander-outers -- waited for the NYC journalist, author, vacuum-cleaner missus and socialite trainer Tatiana Boncompagni Hoover to arrive at her book signing. The ladies-in-waiting meandered around and sipped on flutes of bubbly and glasses of water topped with floating cucumbers.

Mrs. Boncompagni Hoover was running late, but fashionably so, naturally. “This is Oscar,” she said, gently touching her sequined cocktail number. Which made me wonder, “Just how do you get to be on a first-name basis with Mr. de la Renta?” Does it require being the daughter of an Italian princess? Cannot hurt.

I must have stood out with my notepad, pencil and camera, as TBH -- it's shorter this way -- made her way to me first. I told her she looked beautiful, and she told me I have great skin. Blush. Stupid giggle.

She's no flighty, fidgety thing; she's got skins, among them pieces in the The New York Times, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others, where she used to write about the business of business. Just in time, she's now writing about fashion and beauty, but once a freelancer, always a freelancer.

“You know, sometimes I get a little bit tired writing about society girls," she said. "I mean, they’re a little much sometimes, especially New York ones, but I will never tire of writing about fashion. I just love it that much.” He second novel will be called Hedge Fund Wives, and it's about how the ladies must have their own lives away from their husbands; it's due in the spring.

“My editors tell me I bring an economic and business perspective to it -- a business sensibility," she says. "I love it for what it is, but what I really love is figuring out what the major trends are and what’s selling well and why. I think that women right now are very cost-conscious because of what’s going on in the economy, and those who have money to spend -- and there are still plenty of women who have money to spend -- they want conservative clothing. I think we’re going to have a return to the classics.”

TBH then made her way through the crowd to sign her book, in which the heroine is, but of course, loosely based on the author after she had her first child. But it's not entirely autobiographical; descendants of royalty need not climb a social ladder.

After our chat, I made my way around the room and overheard two girls catching up; clearly, it had been a long time. Said one to the other's query, “What did I do for New Year’s? Oh, I went with Jessica Simpson.” And then it was time for Lisa Garza's snacks -- one of which was, according to a caterer who had the name jotted down in his handy-dandy notebook, Triple Cream Brie with Quince. At moments like that, four-inch heels will still only make a girl feel six inches tall. --Courtney Clenney


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