Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Nan Kempner, RIP


(Warhol headshot of Kempner via Jablonkagallerie)

As The Corsair always said: If Nan Kempner didn't exist, then it would have been necessary to invent her. On the epitome of the smart Upper East Sider we have written, earnestly, "the icy-thin American socialite launched a thousand parodies (and 'air-kisses') from the pages of Spy, and served as the prototype for Vanity Fair's Nan Darien." May Nan Kempner rest in peace. Our favorite social chronicler David Patrick Columbia of NYSocialDiary gives her a proper sendoff:

" ... got back into town about six o�clock on Sunday night. About eleven-fifteen I was at my desk when I got an email from Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman announcing that Nan Kempner had passed away about ten-thirty p.m. at home, only three weeks before her 75th birthday, surrounded by her family.


(image via lookonline)

"Nan had not been well for several weeks and many were aware of the seriousness of her condition although she was such a plucky woman that it was hard to imagine losing her.

"She had suffered from emphysema for a long time. More recently she�d often had an oxygen tank at her side, although that didn�t stop her from going anywhere she wanted. She was a devotee (and an original investor) in Swifty�s, the successor to her beloved Mortimer�s, and she lunched and dined there often. There were some special occasions � formal affairs for example � when she went without the breathing assistance, no doubt because it marred the aesthetic of the moment. It made some nervous to see her unassisted because they knew the seriousness of her affliction. But they also new her determination.

"She was one of those people who could be identified by one name only: 'Nan' meant only her.

How sadly ironic that Nan's Swifty's has filed for Chapter 11. If this is indeed the passing of an era of swishiness, then let us duly mourn.

Nan Kempner, RIP.

DPC here.

More Nan.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm surprised I haven't heard this yet since I've had my nose pressed to the monitor all day indulging my news fetish. I've always been fascinated by her. I wanted to BE her when I grew up. Of course either her or Anne Slater.

Anonymous said...

She really seemed to have it all. She was supremely stylish, elegant and well-mannered, but wasn't afraid to utter a well-chosen "fuck" when the situation called for it.
Sure, she didn't cure cancer or anything that monumental, but she sure was fun to watch.

The Corsair said...

I agree. I was a Nan watcher during the 80s. A supremely stylish woman who will be missed.

Thanks for the comments guys,

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of being Nan Kempner's ski instructor for almost 18 years in Vail. I must say riding a thousand chair lift rides, wining and dining with royalty like Ross Perot, the Wyatts, Henry Kravis, Shieka and Pepi....crashing the Gerald Ford Parties and ah yes the back bowls with Nan and the kids. I shall never forget her and how much I will always love her. Oh... if chair lifts could talk! That little tiny skinny stick of a body going down Seldom or Chicken Yard (an avalanche shoot that most would shy away from) never missing a beat and I swear, never falling. Oh if you all could have seen the outfits both on an off the slope! My God! I skiied with the Diva of all Divas! The lunches, the dinners, the giggles and the balls out skiing. We smoked like choo-choo trains and drank great martinis and wine. Why even in 40 below zero, winds a blowing 60 up the back bowls we would light up a Marlboro together. We both had the same horsey voice. God I loved her! Tom, the boys, Leila, I loved them all. Certainly a glorious time in my life. Nan was all of New York rolled into one ball of "Hello Darling". I truly regret her passing and hope that anyone who knows her family will pass on the word from someone who will always think of her fondly. I will do a run in the bowls for her! She was my queen!
David Childs, Vail Colorado
Presently working in China

Anonymous said...

Nan was a turn on,whenever I would see her pictures and those long legs I would get a HARD ON.I will miss her.