Sunday, November 22, 2009

that publicist guide in occasional series

Cracking the so-called social scene isn't as easy as it seems. Talent and beauty is all very well but why not take the fast track and hire a publicist. But not just any PR will do. As one of the richest woman in Australia, Lady Mary Fairfax (right) found when she bought the most expensive apartment in New York in 1990-the penthouse of the Pierre Hotel which came complete with it's own ballroom and 4 amazing terraces overlooking Central Park and the NY skyline.

Lady Mary's Sydney parties were legendary-US presidents and the British Royal family members were regulars. Lady Fairfax is the Honoury Consul for Monaco and her palatial harbourside mansion Fairwater the Consulate with Prince Rainier and Prince Albert dropping in as household guests.

She had all the qualities to crack the New York scene-she is mega-rich, a noted philanthropist, has impeccable credentials and top-notch connections and was a regular guest at the Ronald Reagan White House. But did Lady Mary hire the right PR firm ?. An expensive publicist isn't always the best and in the end you are only as good as your publicist's connections.

Whilst New York's social media was intrigued by the media mogulette from Down Under, she really needed 3 of the most connected PRs in town to infiltrate New York's snooty upper class. The Pierre apartment remained largely empty for years except for the occasional visit from Lady Mary's loyal chauffeur and his wife who acted as a part-time caretakers. In 1999, she sold it for the knock-down price of $21M to a hedge fund manager. She was asking $35M.

Lady Mary may have done better with New York public relation's expert R.Couri Hay.

 Couri Hay is one of Andy Warhol's Factory survivors and a refugee from the legendary nightclub Studio 54 for which he was the publicist and has an amazing handle on the local media from  alternative publications to direct lines to the all-powerful Cindy Adams, Richard Johnson, and Michael Musto. Hay is an often featured commentator on diverse TV shows from Geraldo At Large to Larry King Live.

And he has the Hamptons wrapped up. If you can't make it in the Hamptons-forget New York.

clients: the Ritz Carlton Hotel, British Airways, department store Bergdof Goodman, fashion label Fendi, private eye Frank Monte, jewelers Bulgari & Harry Winston, magazine Ocean Drive and the American Ballet Theater.