Under The Blue Star Jets VIP Tent

July 28, 2011 by Susan Saiter

Bridgehampton Polo opened the season with different sponsors and a makeover in format and crowd control, and the result was, like the match score itself, a landslide win—the herd was where it belonged, out on the field, and stomping was confined to divots this year, sparing the pedicures.

In the game White Birch Farm versus Yellow Cab, the former led all the way. Tailgaters lolled in the shade sipping their homemade brews, and the bleachers, where the price is right (free), held the hardy true-blue fans, who said what 90 degree heat? Well anyway, guess what, they have the most excellent view of the field, plus delicious shade a few chukkers into the game as the sun moved behind them. White Birch claimed victory over Yellow Cab, 16 to 10.

The Blue Star Jets VIP tent scene this year was definitely more VIP and less scene. While in past matches sweaty bodies made for one big mass, it seemed this time fewer people were having more fun. Maybe in part it was those rosy Aperol spritzers that made everyone and everything look even more beautiful (if possible!) and helped whisk away inhibitions. Maybe it was DJ Airloom's party tunes in counterpoint to the excited buzz under the tent. There's nothing like a sexy rhythm in the air and confidence-in-a-glass to smooth the way to approaching that lady in the sundress that is cut down to here and hemmed up to there, or the guy with the standout tan that broadcasts "sports car, top down." While a few women arrived in attire that looked more like it belonged on the beach, most ladies hit exactly the right note, whether in designer duds like flowy Puccis or classic Ralph Laurens, or in designer-unknown but great-looking garb, like Julia Hueholdt and Victoria Schmidt-Schaft, a blonde and a brunette in slinky sundresses, one black and one tan. "No designer," Julia said in a luscious accent. "We just like the dresses." The two women, new to polo, are from Germany, visiting Terri Nelson of Southampton.

The frothiest dress was on the most famous fashion figure there—Betsey Johnson—accompanied by her daughter, Lulu. Johnson, tossing her long blond hair back, put all of her 90-pounds-plus into hurling the first ball to begin the game. Johnson was in a billowing confection of a dress with itty bitty pink flowers on a cream background. "This fabric is from an old nightgown I had in high school," she said. "and it's the best-selling of my designs in stores right now." It is probably safe to say that she was the only polo fan in pantaloons. "Not on sale, just a way of personalizing the outfit," she laughed, twirling and kicking to show them off.

If the pantaloons were reminiscent of another era, so was another polo fan, model Adrianna Bachich, in a mini dress revealing a wasp waist that would have made Scarlett O'Hara envious. Speaking of envious, wouldn't anyone like to have the many-faceted success of her companion, Cindy Barshop? Barshop founded Completely Bare, the salon best known for hair removal anywhere you want it removed. She said she had just expanded nationally this year, and next year she expects to go international, starting with Brazil. And when she's not working, she's still working—Barshop is also the newest housewife on the reality show The Real Housewives of New York City.

In the past, Bridgehampton Polo provided one big VIP section. This year, it is segregated: $10,000 will buy you and your guests one of the comfy outdoor sofas, coffee table, and wait staff. No complaints were heard in the standing-room-only back, since it is next to the bar. The only real incident was a woman breaking the new no-kids rule by strolling in with a couple of toddlers, one of whom proceeded to try to take apart some of the displays, almost dropping a crate of fake coconuts on his bare feet from the Vita Coco booth, while Mom broke another rule by pulling out a pack of cigarettes from her orange Chanel bag and lighting up. The security person who arrived was as polite as could be. "I really don't want to have to do this," he said apologetically, "but we are serving alcohol here." After making the understatement of the year, he was ignored. Eventually, she walked out, and nobody lost face, it seemed, except one of the little boys who was crying.

Anyone who left early would have missed Russell Simmons, co-founder of hip-hop label Def Jam and creator of the Phat Farm clothing line, who was immediately surrounded by reporters as he discussed his approval of the new gay marriage law.

With Mercedes-Benz gone as a sponsor, the fancy car display was missed by some, but new sponsors offered great browsing, and co-founder and owner of the club, Peter Brant, was optimistic about the great tradition continuing.

The two teams who tenaciously fought it out in the heat were loaded with superstars, like Nacho Figueras, who played the number two spot for New Jersey team Yellow Cab. That team's owner, Simon Garber, played number one, alongside other team members Michel Dorignac and Luis Escobar. Anyone who attends Bridgehampton Polo regularly will recognize names from White Birch Farm's lineup: Mariano Gracida, Fredy Mannix, Mariano Aguerre, and owner Peter Brant.


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