“Laura Brown brings women together,” Kat Graham, the actor, remarked of the actress. Last Thursday night, Ms. Brown, the former editor in chief of InStyle, gathered some of her closest female friends and partners for a dinner with Nordstrom to commemorate International Women’s Month, and it was clear that she meant business.
It was impossible to escape Ms. Brown’s laugh, which was both loud and theatrical but not false, as she hugged every visitor who passed the door of the Saga restaurant on the 62nd floor of 70 Pine Street, in Lower Manhattan’s private rooms. When she’s chatting to Hollywood celebs, fashion critics, or her girlfriends, her laugh breaks out unapologetically and without hesitation.
Mrs. Brown, who was dressed in a black Khaite jumpsuit (by the designer Catherine Holstein, who was in attendance) and glittering Loeffler Randall shoes, commented, “I’m having a lovely time.” What is it about Women’s History Month that makes me laugh?
The removal of mask regulations was still recent at this point in the epidemic, thus partygoers were required to toe the party line. In the words of Cindi Leive, the activist and former Glamour editor, “I believe tonight is about being in a room without a mask on and starting to see a little bit of brightness.” “I assume you don’t want the spew of hatred about anti-abortion legislation, anti-trans laws, voting suppression, and the rollback of life as we know it,” she said. “I’m here only for the sunlight, I promise.”
There was also the unsettling reality that Ms. Brown quit InStyle in February, just a day after the magazine’s owner, Dotdash Meredith, announced that the magazine would be going digital, a further blow to the already weakened fashion magazine business.
In the words of Rickie De Sole, a former Vogue editor who is now the fashion and editorial director for Nordstrom’s print publications, “They still matter, they do.”
Others were left with a wistful sensation after the publication of InStyle’s print edition. In the past, the long-time model would board aircraft and purchase a stack of magazines, according to Helena Christensen. What is it that she is bringing now? “I like to watch movies,” she said.
Mrs. Brown moved from table to table, taking photographs and giving introductions as guests took their places at the meal. As visitors chatted and networked, her laughing could be heard throughout the room. In the course of her conversation with Ms. Holstein, stylist Julia von Boehm was able to get a Khaite dress for her client, actress Laura Dern. Ms. Holstein also shared some insider information with a reporter, revealing that she hopes to build a shop in Lower Manhattan.
The president of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational institution behind “Sesame Street,” Sherrie Westin, rose to her feet and saluted Ms. Brown as the visitors dined on fillets of beef and bass. Mr. Westin began by saying, “Everyone here knows what a wonderful connector she is,” before going on to tell them something they probably didn’t know about her. When U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan last year, Ms. Brown assisted in the evacuation of Afghan employees who had worked on the Afghan version of “Sesame Street”: “Without Laura’s connections, 28 people would not have been saved,” Ms. Westin said. “Without Laura’s connections, 28 people would not have been saved.”
Ms. Brown expressed her gratitude to Ms. Westin and all of the guests before reverting to her usual self. Anyway, let’s go back to your drinking,” she said.