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By Christina Wood, Special Report for the Civic Association - The intimate gathering of major donors and directors of the organization gathered for champagne, conversation and a little holiday shopping.

Both champagne and conversation flowed at the Palm Beach Civic Association’s First Annual Girls Night Out, held on Wednesday evening, Dec. 7. 

Hermes girls1 w600Hermѐs Palm Beach on Worth Avenue provided a colorful backdrop for the gathering, which was hosted by Civic Association Directors Michele Kessler, Linda R. Olsson, and Mary Watkins.

The event was more than an opportunity for supporters of the Civic Association to share a little holiday cheer.  “We want to engage more women,” Ms, Kessler said.  “Traditionally, women have run the charitable aspects of this town.  Now, with a woman mayor and three women on the Town Council, it's the perfect time for women to get even more engaged and involved with the workings and future of Palm Beach through the Civic Association.  Plus,” she added, “we knew an evening at Hermѐs would be fun.”

Sharlene1webThe evening turned out not only to be fun but also informational.  Sharlene Nichols, managing director of Hermѐs Palm Beach, provided an entertaining lesson on how to wear and care for the iconic scarves that bear the company’s name.  She deftly tied two simple knots, transforming The Savana Dance, a 55” x 55” cashmere and silk shawl, into a stylish “cocoon” that was modeled by Ms. Kessler.

Michele and EllenwebWhile Bing Crosby could be heard crooning The Christmas Song in the background, Ms. Nichols went on to demonstrate other ways to create signature looks with Hermѐs scarves – from a basic fold to a halter top.  She even showed the group how to transform a woman’s scarf into a style statement for men, declaring, “Ascots are in again!”

That comment created a bit of a stir among the intimate group of Civic Association directors and major donors gathered around Ms. Nichols as she, and members of her staff, displayed a variety of signature looks.  Among those in attendance at what Ms. Kessler called “the first annual” Girls Night Out were Heidi Duffy, Gail Engelberg, Judy Harpel, Pat McLaughlin, Harriet Miller, Patricia Mintmire, Mary Alice Papas, Lee Poppel, Kathryn Vecellio, and Maggie Zeidman.

At the end of the presentation, Ms. Kessler expressed her thanks and gave Ms. Nichols a gift on behalf of the Civic Association.  “We look forward to continuing our friendship with the Civic Association as we move into our new location,” Ms. Nichols said.  Hermѐs, which will be celebrating 40 years in Palm Beach in 2017, will be moving to the Royal Poinciana Plaza in November.  The move will provide the additional space needed to display, among other things, the new Hermès Furniture Collection by Jean-Michel Frank.

“We are grateful to Hermѐs for providing such a warm welcome,” said Susan Keenan, vice president of marketing and membership at the Civic Association.  “Bringing people together – whether to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow members or to take a stand on issues that impact the welfare of the Town – is essential to our mission at the Palm Beach Civic Association.”

Hermes girls2webAs the women proceeded to browse through the store and sip champagne, their conversations joined together to produce a friendly hum.  “There are a lot of talented women here,” noted Ms. Olsson, a director who is on the Civic Association’s Executive Committee and the owner/broker of a boutique real estate agency specializing in luxury properties on the Island. 

Hermes girls8webWhen clients ask her how to meet people in Palm Beach and how get involved in the community, she tells them to join the Civic Association.  “The organization enjoys a tremendous amount of support from the community,” she said.  “It’s a great way to meet your neighbors.”  

“You have dedicated, intelligent people taking a hard look at what is going on in our town and county,” added Ms. Kessler, a Civic Association member of 10 years and also on the Executive Committee, and who serves as the director of Community Relations at The Kessler Group and co-founder and director of the Kessler Family Foundation.


Girls Night Out at Hermes - December 8, 2016