The Hamptons Party Scene Returns With Net-a-porter, Zimmerman

“We’re not used to this in Montauk — it feels very East Hampton,” said Rachelle Hruska Macpherson on Thursday evening from The Crow’s Nest, where indeed the usual breezy fresh-from-the-beach crowd was looking a little bit more on the polished side. The cause? Net-a-porter’s annual summer party (after a year’s hiatus), thrown at the Montauk hotspot in celebration of the retailer’s “fashion family,” the likes of which included Nina Agdal and Jack Brinkley-Cook, Wes Gordon and Paul Arnhold, Francisco Costa, Cynthia Rowley and Kit Keenan and Jacquelyn Jablonski.

After a year-plus off the social circuit, the events are back in a big way this summer; gone is the usual summer slowness and instead it’s been nonstop parties. And with work-from-home still in swing, many have been out east full-time, meaning plenty of parties on work days from Long Island. Case in point: earlier in the week Mytheresa threw a luncheon on Tuesday at the Wölffer Estate, co-hosted by Naomi Watts and Gucci Westman. Elsewhere on Thursday night, Tod’s was celebrating summer at a private home in East Hampton with guests who included Cristina Cuomo, Carolyn Tate Angel, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Christina Lewis and Loida Nicholas Lewis, featuring a performance by pianist Chloe Flower.

The Net-a-porter dinner was the brand’s first event since March 2020, and president Alison Loehnis couldn’t have been more pleased to be back in hosting form.

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“I’ve really really missed this — if you said to me you need to give a word for how you feel, I’d say elated,” she said from the lawn at The Crow’s Nest, where guests mingled around her. “I’ve missed being here, I’ve missed these kinds of events. When I explained to the team who put everything together [for tonight] I said, ‘I just want a fashion family meal.’ All these people we haven’t seen.”

Loehnis, whose favorite Net brands for summer out east include The Row and Loewe (and plenty of Mother Denim), noted that she, like everyone else in attendance, had delighted in the thrill of once again getting dressed up with somewhere to go.

“Right now I feel like there is such an appetite for getting together and getting dressed up. I’ve been asked over the past months about what is going to change and I think one of the silver linings, if there could be something, is that I think we appreciate things we took for granted,” she said. “There is a sense of ceremony over things that felt routine before.”

The following evening the fashion crowd was in Amagansett, gathered on the beach at publicist Malcolm Carfrae’s home for a Zimmerman dinner. With the brand’s leads Nicky and Simone Zimmerman stuck in Australia, Athena Calderone and Laura Brown hosted in their place, drawing several Aussie friends and otherwise brand loyalists alike to the beach for dinner in the sand. New mom Emma Roberts attended with pal Nicky Hilton, Katie Couric and Naomi Watts were there, as were Rachel Zoe, Bambi Northwood-Blyth and more.

It was the first IRL event Calderone has planned since the pandemic began, and she spent months working with the Zimmerman team arranging everything, including a custom 60-foot tablecloth made from the brand’s famed white eyelet fabric and custom napkins from a dress pattern of their latest collection.

“We were really being cognizant that they couldn’t be here and wanting them to be part of it,” Calderone said.

Maybe it was the fact that nearly half the attendees were barefoot or being seated on pillows on the sand, but the guests were unusually relaxed and at-home seeming for a fashion dinner. Couric greeted everyone with bear hugs before sinking into a beach chair with Watts, where they held center court during cocktail hour as friends came to greet them. Gucci Westman, kneeling down to chat with Watts, reached over and blended in the actress’s blush at one point, ever the makeup artist.

“I’m Emma, it’s nice to meet you,” Roberts said to Watts, extending a hand as she walked by (they would later engage in selfies).

“I want to talk to you about working with us,” Couric told Hannah Bronfman as the influencer walked by. “I’ll DM you.”

Calderone noted that the guest list was nearly identical to that of the Zimmerman event she hosted out east nearly five years ago, a testament to the brand’s loyal followers.

“It feels really good to create beauty together with people who appreciate both Zimmerman, beauty, togetherness and being celebratory again,” she said.

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