A Glittering Evening Exploring Africa With Waris Ahluwalia

An evening set at the Explorers Club on the Upper East Side already has a certain feel to it. Aside from being uptown, you’re surrounded by relics gathered from far-flung adventures, flags that have traveled both to the summit of Everest and the depths of the Mariana Trench (thanks to James Cameron’s deep ocean dive) and a roaring taxidermy polar bear, (the roar unfortunately disabled for cocktail hour). Members have traveled the globe and to the moon, so the headquarters were a helpfully dramatic setting to imagine the African travels of jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, who Forevermark took to Botswana and South Africa to see firsthand the sourcing of the diamonds used in their collaboration.

Waris’ glittering creations were displayed on the second floor while we looked on with champagne, ogling through glass as security loomed nearby. It’s not as if the guards had to worry much, guests like Vanessa Traina, Liya Kebede, Chelsea Leyland, Cynthia Rowley or Natasha Lyonne weren’t likely to stage a heist, though I’m sure we wouldn’t have objected to trying on a few pieces.

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Eventually the party moved on to dinner, Waris seated near designer Olivier Theyskens and Forevermark execs, the designer’s sweet mother hosting another table, seated close to heir Jamie Johnson and writer Glenn O’Brien. Before the meal began, Waris showed a short film of his African expedition, saying “This spring I went on a journey of discovery. To the origins of my materials… To see with my own eyes where diamonds come from and the impact Forevermark has on the people and the land. An experience that’s going to stay with me forever.”

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After a dinner where the waiters continued to refill the wine glasses endlessly, the party moved downtown to Bar Naná (previously Double Seven)… post which the after after party took place at the just-opened Paul (Sevigny)’s Baby Grand at the back of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Fortunately it was a Friday, as the celebration for Waris went all night.

Photos courtesy Julio Gamboa/BFA

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