Last Tuesday, dynamic jazz and R&B singer-songwriter Grace Garland stood in front of a grand piano instructing a predominantly female crowd to repeat “I love me some me!” before launching into a group sing-along of Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Wine glasses in one hand and lyric sheets in the other, authors, animal advocates, entrepreneurs, TV personalities, and dating experts alike huddled close to sing with abandon. A log burned in the fireplace, a chocolate fountain flowed near the kitchen, hors d'oeuvres and drinks were aplenty, and tables were decked out in conversation hearts, candles, and heart-shaped confetti. A friendly black and white rescue cat named Rico zigzagged through the carefree crowd.
With the exception of a few more sing-alongs, no music could be heard the rest of the night. Instead, exciting conversations and belly laughs filled the impeccable and inviting Upper East Side apartment belonging to actress, entrepreneur, and comedy video producer, Alison Chace, who was wearing a sweater that said, “Will you accept this rosé?”
This event didn’t necessarily scream Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t a reminder of who’s single and who’s coupled off. Rather, it was a wonderful way for Chace to bring together the most inspiring women she knows, on a day of the year that is “all about recognizing the people you love,” said one guest.
The party went well past its two-hour time frame. And not once was Pink Wisdom mentioned, even though many of the guests are entrepreneurs and romance experts from that community. Pink Wisdom is Chace’s online platform—one she plans to transform into “a female-focused online media empire” à la Arianna Huffington—where a group of nearly 60 female experts give other women invaluable tips on love, business, self-worth, and more.
“The party was an opportunity to express appreciation for all our experts, and for them to meet each other in person and network with each other,” says Chace, a seasoned salon party thrower.
On one hand, yes—it was Pink Wisdom that brought these fascinating women under the same roof. But once they got there, it felt less like networking and more like getting a chance to meet a like-minded friend or forty.
“I am a student of Dale Carnegie and Helen Gurley Brown,” Chace explains. “They both maintained that success could be found by charm, appreciation, and personality. It can't be found by trying ‘to sell’ something to someone.”
Chace isn’t the first host of feminism salon parties in New York. She refers to Sunny Bates as the “queen bee.”
“What is happening right now in our society, as evidenced by the Women's March, is there's a movement for grass-roots feminism in which women are supporting each other instead of tearing each other down,” explains Chace. “I think my own salon parties have a homespun quality to them, which is in line with both my Midwestern upbringing and our brand Pink Wisdom. We strive to be friendly, giving, accessible, down to earth, and fun.”
Click through for a closer look at the evening!
Words by Cynthia Orgel
[Alison Chace and Jody Caiola via Emanuel Hahn]