The Fabulous 40
David Ortiz, 29, slugger, Boston Red Sox
Yeah, he's now officially the Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History
of the Boston Red Sox, and the heart and soul of the team. But he's
also the baddest satin-wearing, diamond-flashing, Kangol-rocking dude
in town. The airline Song named one of its planes after him. Big Papi,
baby—they don't make 'em any more fabulous than him.
Robin Brown, 50, codeveloper, Mandarin Oriental Boston Hotel
Only this dapper Brit could shoulder the weight of building a $230
million hotel as if it were a Burberry umbrella. His accent is charming
as hell, but it's his wit that seals every deal.
John Kuntz, 37, actor-playwright
Seen any good theater lately? We bet Kuntz was in it. Perhaps best
known for his “cast of thousands” one-man shows, he's less actor than
chameleon, equally mesmer-izing as a ditzy starlet or a snooty waiter,
or at center stage in a gripping drama.
Fabulous in Drag
Kris Knievil, Destiny, and Mohogany, 29, 22, and 24; performers, Jacques Cabaret, Axis, Avalon, and Embassy
“I love every inch, curve, freckle, and pimple on my body,” purrs
Mohogany. “I'm perfectly imperfect.” The stage is where this trio's
most at home. Says Destiny, “The crowd makes us feel fabulous.”
Amit Handa, 29, VP of fine-watch sales, Alpha Omega
He's made himself essential to the biggest spenders in Boston—and
around the world—by knowing what makes their watches tick. But it's not
just about selling $30,000 accessories. A passion for fine timepieces
cloaks him as snugly as his bespoke suits, which, of course, he
accessorizes with his own Panerai.
Christopher Myers, 47, co-owner, Radius, Via Matta, Great Bay
Twenty-five years in the biz have refined this restaurateur's
palate—and his scruffy confidence. Twenty-five years have also helped
him hone the ingredients for success: Creative eats by a top-quality
chef, paired with spot-on service, make for a dish this city devours.
Alexandra Cherubini and Camilo Alvarez, 28 and 29; co-owners, Samson Projects art gallery
“I have a crush on them,” a colleague says of the well-connected and
soon-to-be-married art mavens. The works in their SoWa gallery defy
classification, though “achingly cool” is a start. The same term, of
course, applies to Cherubini and Alvarez themselves.
Doug Gates, 35, owner, Showroom
Home décor guru and man about town, Gates can spice up any interior
with his signature sophisticated style while simultaneously dishing on
the city's latest hot spots. Debonair but not a diva, he's made
Showroom a mandatory destination for the most demanding design-seekers.
Colette Phillips, 51, president and CEO, Colette Phillips Communications
For three decades she's taken some of the biggest names in corporate
Boston—Blue Cross Blue Shield, Reebok, Foley Hoag—through some of their
biggest ups and downs. All without a wrinkle in her reputation—or her
St. John suits. Hey, she says, “I'm in the image business. What you
wear says a lot about you.”
Ioannis Miaoulis, 44, president and director, Museum of Science
When he's not getting his groove on with his wife on Lansdowne
Street, fishing for sea bass, or cooking dinner for 30 in his
height-of-fashion house, the Greek-born Miaoulis immerses himself in
his other passion: trying to make the rest of us scientifically
Fabulous—and In Charge
Joan Parker, 73, author, philanthropist
You think fantastically chic detective Sunny Randall—heroine of such bestsellers as Melancholy Baby and Family Honor —got
her style savvy from a man? Hardly. The writing adviser (and wife) of
author Robert B. Parker informs Sunny's feminine sensibilities, from
how she thinks of the opposite sex to what she wears on a chase.
Most Fabulous Player
Deion Branch, 26, wide receiver, New England Patriots
He caught 11 passes in last year's Super Bowl and was named the
game's MVP. But it's his 1,000-watt smile and confident swagger that
make Branch (sorry, Tom) the most fabulous member of the dynasty.
Jan Saragoni, 50, president, Saragoni & Company
Stop in at one of Saragoni's glittering Cambridge dinner parties and
you'll find yourself swilling champagne with literary stars, artists,
and bigwig politicians, all drawn to this elegant bilingualist like
moths to the light.
Gabriela Cincotta and Alberto Vasallo III, 28 and 37; cofounders, Three Amigos Entertainment
Known collectively as the Latin Embassy (not pictured is cofounder
Alexis Peña, 34), these entrepreneurial spirits fill a void in Boston's
social scene by throwing parties for the single Latino set that show
the rest of this sleepy town a thing or two about la vida loca.
Leo Blanco, 34, founder, Leo Blanco, World Jazz Ensemble
The Venezuelan-born composer and pianist puts on a scintillating,
energetic show without ever tarnishing his sheen of metropolitan
elegance. His striking stage wardrobe is stocked with the staple hues
of the Diddy School of Fabulousness: “Whites and blacks,” he says.
“More white than black.”
Fabulous at Large
Cosmo Macero Jr., 38, business editor and columnist, Boston Herald
Cosmo—as everybody calls him—has done his best to turn the Herald
business section into a must-read for downtown pooh-bahs by making it a
reflection of his garrulous and irreverent personality.
Fabulous at Law
Joan Lukey, 55, partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
With her vivacious attitude and distinctive wardrobe—”I don't own
any traditional suits,” she says—this former Massachusetts Junior Miss
turned fearsome litigator proves legal titans need not be
Fabulous to Look At
Krystal Hatchett, 31, model, Maggie Inc.
Demure in her regular life as a dedicated volunteer for the
Community Sickle Cell Support Group, this model and budding pop/R&B
singer blossoms in front of the camera. The secret to her success? That
Fabulous After Dark
Jason Tobin, 26, general manager, Middlesex Lounge
This handsome hipster not only runs the refreshingly unpretentious
Middlesex Lounge, but makes sure it stays that way by corralling an
amicable staff and a laid-back, trend-setting clientele. He's a
self-proclaimed aspiring oenophile who believes one can be stylish
regardless of what's in vogue.
Jonathan Soroff, 40, social columnist, the Improper Bostonian
Only when Soroff waltzes through the door does a party become an
event. A charmer who can just as easily chat up a crusty old Brahmin as
he can a social-climbing wannabe, Soroff has made his name by knowing
Marie Galvin, 38, milliner
Her shocking-orange locks may not need much accessorizing, but that
hasn't stopped Galvin from creating the hottest, haute-est head couture
around. The self-taught Irish milliner, who opened her Fort Point
Channel studio in 1999, boasts hats that have appeared at New York
Fashion Week and on several celebrity heads.
Tony Nunziante, 56, deputy director, Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events
Nunziante's numerous duties include representing City Hall's arts
and tourism arm at parties and receptions. The natty dresser can work
any crowd with vim and wit; he's such a natural-born schmoozer, you get
the sense he'd do the job for free.
Paulina Neely, 31, mother
The original Player's Wife, she garners exposure for husband Cam's
cancer research foundation by working the crowds at “more than several”
events a month. And yet the bombshell mom of two would rather stay home
than party. “My focus is on happy children,” she says—which, in our
scene-to-be-seen age, is pretty fabulous.
Doris Yaffe, 76, public relations consultant for nonprofits
“I've lived on the edge of life,” says Yaffe, who's been everything
from a women's libber to a civil rights activist to a Vietnam War
protester to an AIDS fundraiser. “And I've done it all. Boston is a
sweet, lovely, provincial town, but I belong smack-dab in the middle of
Manhattan.” We're happy to have her here.
Miro Nikolov, 29, retail partner, filmmaker
In his native Bulgaria, he was a professional water polo player.
Now, when not pursuing a burgeoning career as an independent filmmaker,
Nikolov runs the Sean store at 154 Newbury Street, which sells
affordably priced, slim-cut French suits that give even guys who don't
look like models a touch of Parisian élan.
Ming Tsai, 41, chef-owner, Blue Ginger
Whether he's signing autographs, kissing babies, or putting out
perfect plates of peppered lobster and lemongrass fried rice, chef and
TV superstar (and cover model) Ming Tsai never forgets his Boston
roots—or his manners. A celebrity who makes you feel special. How fabulous is that?
Maggie Gold Seelig, 32, attorney, Brown Rudnick
Asked how she's doing, Seelig doesn't respond with a ho-hum “okay”
or “fine.” “I'm fabulous!” is her reply. The beneficiaries of this
effervescent charity-ball fixture's philanthropic efforts—the Institute
of Contemporary Art, various Jewish nonprofits—would concur
Doug Meehan, 41, helicopter reporter, Fox 25 Morning News
Meehan's flashy shirts often invite needling from his on-air
colleagues while he reports on traffic and breaking news from his perch
in the SkyFox chopper. But when a guy's got “the best office view in
Boston,” a little sartorial flair seems only appropriate.
Fabulous by the Glass
Stephanie Browne, Katherine Kennedy, Carolyn Hebsgaard, and Karen
Holmes Ward, late 40s to late 60s; founder and three (of 10) members,
What began as a monthly wine tasting among girlfriends has grown
into a national movement. The mission? To take the snobbery out of
sipping—and give the wine world a well-deserved kick in the pants.
Pia Schachter, 43, photographer
Over the decades, this art-scene good girl/bad girl has worn the
glamorous hats of punk singer, fashion designer, Girl Scout leader,
beauty columnist, even music video director, but her pièce de
résistance is challenging photography that leaves us breathless and
eager for more.
Marcia Cross, 43, actress
Whether playing the psychotic Dr. Kimberly Shaw on Melrose Place or the delightfully neurotic Bree Van De Camp on Desperate Housewives,
the Marlborough native turns her campy characters into the most
captivating women on TV—and, in the process, makes Bree's argyle
sweater sets as fabulous as her La Perla lingerie.
Randy Farrell-Forstein, 31, senior stylist, Salon Mario Russo
When this hairstylist to the stars caught a nasty case of
conjunctivitis before a recent dinner, he instinctively did what the
fabulous do so well: He turned trouble into triumph. With a few dozen
rhinestones and a little bit of glue, a CVS eye-patch was transformed
into a monogrammed statement of pirate chic. Just imagine what he can
do for you on a bad hair day.
Professor Peter J. Gomes, 63, minister, the Memorial Church of Harvard University
This acclaimed American Baptist minister has a gift for oratory and
a soft spot for bow ties and straw boaters—in season only, he stresses.
He asked us to send a Town Car to bring him to his photo shoot; this is
one man of the cloth who likes to travel in style.
Betty Riaz, 38, owner, Stil
Trend- and jet-setter Riaz was importing funky, modern Danish looks
long before boho hit big. Between raising two young children and
traveling the globe in search of style, this formidable fashionista
finds the time to outfit Boston's best-dressed at her two stores.
Gwen Butler, 34, general manager, Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks
Flashing her famous toothy grin at every guest from Larry Lucchino
(who's a regular) to the college crowd, she runs Eastern Standard as if
she's hosting her own party—which, we might add, keeps the place
Deborah Hughes, 53, co-owner, UpStairs on the Square
Eccentric and witty, with an Alice in Wonderland sense of
style, Hughes has made her mark in Cambridge by cooking up
inspirational food for hungry locals at the pink, dreamlike UpStairs on
the Square, and for the local hungry through meal-providing charity
Carolyn Bernstein, 45, neurologist, Cambridge Health Alliance; instructor, Harvard Medical School
She's writing a book called Migraine! The Hip Harvard Handbook for Healing Your Headache and
has built a thriving practice within the male-dominated field of
neurology. The “Hip” in the title is the flourish of a brilliant doc
who dresses like a punk-rock princess.
Samantha Greenberg, 13, eighth grader, the Park School
She may still be a teenager, but this aspiring model packs more
fashion panache than half our city's professional stylists. The
daughter of Louis Boston doyenne Debi Greenberg, this remarkably
grounded middle schooler juggles classes and sports with hip-hop
dancing and foraging for funky vintage ensembles.
Kenn Gray, 33, interior designer; host, the Travel Channel's Travel Spies
“My meemaw always used to say, 'You fake it till you make it,'” he
says with a Mississippi drawl. Make it he has. This “basic-cable” star
is writing the book on fabulousness. Really. It's called How to Be Fabulous and Mean It.
Billy Costa, 52, news/entertainment director, Kiss 108; host, T.V. Diner
Sure, he's shameless, hooked on appearances, and lovably
obsessive-compulsive, but he's still glam—whether he's joshing around
with fellow DJ Matt Siegel, mingling with celebs, or literally shouting
the virtues of a local restaurant.
How Fab Are You?
You're the eye of the storm at the office Christmas party. You kiss
your friends on both cheeks. Your credit card has long ago overdosed on
Jimmy Choos. But are you absolutely fabulous? Take this quiz to find
out. —Andrew Rimas
Faced with an appetizer choice at Bugaboo Creek, you opt for:
a) The Bunyan Onion.
b) Chicken wings. Man, I love those chicken wings.
c) Nothing, thanks. These Marc Jacobs pants don't stretch.
d) What's Bugaboo Creek?
When presented with the gift of a feather boa, you:
a) Drape it over the Christmas tree.
b) Stroke the soft, purty feathers and observe that it feels like bunnies.
c) Laugh at the sauciness of the gift, then do a convincing Mae West impersonation.
d) Throw it into your closet with your 37 other feather boas.
When checking in for a transatlantic flight at Logan, you:
a) Injure your back hauling luggage, then get seated between two sneezing kids.
b) Sweat, and pray that no one asks you if you're transporting live animals.
c) Reply to security, “I'll take off mine if you take off yours.”
d) Bat your eyelashes and get bumped up to first class, as usual.
Your most successful seduction technique involves:
a) Getting someone really drunk.
b) A cash transaction.
c) Flowers, a candlelit dinner, and an awkward moment in the taxi.
d) “Sorry, I'm busy tonight, dahling.”
When you take a stroll in the Public Garden, your entourage includes:
a) An undercover narc.
b) Four generations of musical gypsies.
c) Those damned paparazzi who killed poor dear Princess Di.
d) Kevin Dillon.
Give yourself one point for every time you picked “d.” If you scored:
0ï¿½1: You have all the glamour of bologna.
2ï¿½3: Please get back behind the velvet rope, sir. We're not letting people in right now.
4ï¿½5: You're even more fabulous than a spectacular gay man with his own television contract.
A Brief History of Fabulousness in Boston
Conventional wisdom to the contrary, Boston has a long and storied
legacy of fabulousness. Who can possibly deny the utter fabulosity that
was Isabella Stewart Gardner, the most smashing woman of her, or any,
era? Or Paul Revere, tosser of British tea, silversmith, accomplished
equestrian, patriot nonpareil—a fabulous résumé if ever there was one.
As the bloodline of our Puritan forebears became diluted by an
influx of less inhibited newcomers, Boston's fabulousness quotient
really climbed. Consider Mildred Albert, a European transplant who grew
up in Roxbury and became Boston's original fashion doyenne and an avid
social-scene commentator, and Sonja Loew, a Czech who married theater
magnate E. M. Loew and was fabulous for her generosity, outrageous
outfits, and indecipherable accent. JFK and Jackie, of course, took
Irish-Catholic impishness, Hamptons high living, and a good dose of
giving not one flying crap what people thought of them and created the
gold standard against which the fabulously powerful continue to be
judged. Mission Hill's Donna Summer helped define the most inherently
fabulous of all musical genres: disco.
Fabulousness today is de rigueur. There must be at least one
fabulous guest at every dinner party. Reality shows are required to
have a fabulous host or contestant. Our sports teams?
Supermodel-dating, Sports Illustrated -cover-gracing,
stupid-haircut-wearing fabulous. We even find the attribute in
traditionally ordinary objects. (“Have you tried the tagliatelle at Stella? It's positively fabulous. “)
In this age of fabulousness, people citywide have turned their backs on
the status quo in favor of shiny, loud new quos that bring ever more
panache to our streets. No longer is fabulousness a goal to be obtained
by a chosen few. It is a duty, and we can all do our part to answer the
call. —Kris Frieswick