The true cost of being a New York It-girl: Socialite reveals how she and her peers spend more than $200,000 every year on gowns, party tickets and male escorts
If you want to be part of New York’s high-flying social scene then you’d better have a fat deposit of cash in the bank.
Alexandra Lebenthal, 46, a Manhattan power player, has revealed that from September to June – the main party season – that many of her peers spend a six-figure sum on event tickets, new outfits, chauffeurs, haircuts and manicures.
On the personal maintenance front, private hair and makeup sessions can cost up to $500 a time while the Park Avenue set are known to splash $400 a month on sessions with personal trainers from AKT in Motion.
THE ESTIMATED ANNUAL COST OF BEING A NEW YORK SOCIALITE
Five gala / opening night tickets: $25,000
Ten private beauty sessions: $5,000
Gym sessions: $4,800
The gym was started by celebrity fitness expert Anna Kaiser, who trains Kelly Ripa and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Many women also invest in minor cosmetic procedures in a bid to look their best.
Some of the most popular quick-fix treatments include liposuction, brow lifts, Botox injections and laser rejuvenation around the eyes and mouth.
Apparently most ‘It’ women attend two or three small events each week and at least five big-ticket parties a season at venues like the upscale Waldorf Astoria or Cipriani 42nd Street.
Those affairs, which cost from $5,000 for a single ticket to $100,000 for a desirable table, all require ‘drop-dead’ gowns. Shopping budgets can run as high as $20,000.
Keeping up appearances, Ms Lebenthal was photographed at the Conservatory Ball in June, at the American Ballet Theater opening-night party in May, and in April she danced at the Society of Sloan-Kettering ball. She also took her seat at a handful of charity dinners.
To help women like Ms Lebenthal decide which soirees to attend – as many dates fall on the same night – some hire personal publicists, which come in at $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
These also help manage their media profile. Diana Petroff, a publicist who has geared several New Yorkers up for the society circuit, explained that her service can help ‘create a lot of buzz’.
Jill Kargman, a frequent guest at glitzier bashes in the city, explained: ‘Most of the time it’s the women, not the husbands who want to go out, so you need to pay for the walker.’
A private car service, thank yous in the form of flowers, trinkets or luncheons, push the total cost of being a socialite further through the roof.
While most would say the amount these women spend is excessive, Ms Lebenthal, a mother-of-three, insists it is worth every cent.
‘When I put on a gown, I feel like a fairy princess,’ she concluded.