Daria de Koning, her Jewelry and the Value of Beauty

On February 1, 2019, Robinson Gardens member Daria de Koning presented a wonderful lecture on gems and an exhibition of her jewelry creations to a packed group of attendees at the Virginia Robinson Gardens.

Daria grew up in New York. Her father is Dutch, and her mother, a fifth generation American. Influenced by her very elegant grandmother, Daria said that her grandmother “did her utmost to instill in me how to be a lady.” The colorful and spirited jewelry that De Koning creates reflects this sophisticated polish as well as a youthful exuberance.

At a very young age, Daria started … Read More

Hutton Wilkinson and Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge

Author and designer Hutton Wilkinson presented a beautiful and entertaining lecture based on his new book, Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge, on December 8, 2018 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. In keeping with the theme of the lecture, some of the elegant attendees were wearing stunning brooches and jewels by Tony Duquette.

In introducing our speaker, Education co-chair Adrienne Horwitch commented on “the sheer force of Hutton’s fabulous personality.” With wit and exuberance, and eliciting much laughter from the audience, Hutton led us on a wondrous journey, unveiling the spectacular designs and transformations of Tony Duquette’s legendary home, Dawnridge.

Hutton related … Read More

CeCe Haydock and the Gardens of Long Island’s Gold Coast

Noted landscape architect CeCe Haydock gave a marvelous and visually stunning lecture titled “Beyond Gatsby: Fabled Gardens of Long Island’s Gold Coast” on November 9, 2018 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Among the distinguished attendees were members of the Garden Conservancy from New York: President James Brayton Hall, Director of Education Patrick MacRae, Development Director Sarah Parker and landscape architect and Board member Joseph Marek.

Presenting a dozen of these grand and elegant estates from the turn of the century through the 1920s, CeCe remarked, “Today, I am bringing the East Coast to the West Coast and what better place … Read More

Lord Charles Spencer Lecture at the California Club

The Friends of Robinson Gardens visited the California Club for their 17th Annual Table Tops Luncheon on October 17, 2018. The speaker of the day was Lord Charles Spencer, and everyone was excited to hear and meet him. The theme, naturally, was The English Countryside, and the table displays were elegant. The grand decor and architecture of the California Club were a perfect setting with which to view the various florists’ work. The beautifully laden table by Gearys of Beverly Hills set the tone with its many settings, and C.J. Matsumoto did the luncheon centerpieces. Several other florists did lovely … Read More

Lecture on Charles James by Michele Gerber Klein

Noted author and founder of Joan Vass, USA, Michele Gerber Klein presented a wonderful lecture based on her book: Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man at Virginia Robinson Gardens on September 28, 2018.  As a special bonus for the audience, member Regina Drucker brought an original and rare Charles James blue periwinkle evening gown from 1933. It came from the collection of Marit Guinness, a beer and banking heiress, whose parents were friends of James’ parents. Marit grew up with Charles, and her mother was one of his first clients.

According to Michele, the British designer Charles James, born … Read More

Ali Rahimi and the Art of Haute Couture


Ultra-talented fashion designer Ali Rahimi of Mon Atelier gave a very inspiring lecture on the art of haute couture and presented a gorgeous fashion show on April 19, 2018 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Ali, along with his business partner John Barle, created a beautiful vista around the pool with his absolutely stunning ball gowns on mannequins, some of which were draped at the moment to great effect!  A true artist, Ali is so passionate for his craft and possesses such a wealth of knowledge that we could have listened to him all day.

Educated in England and at the … Read More

Lifeboat No. 8: An Untold Tale of Love, Loss, and Surviving the Titanic by Elizabeth Kaye

Award-winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kaye gave a very moving presentation on her book, Lifeboat No. 8: An Untold Tale of Love, Loss, and Surviving the Titanic at the Virginia Robinson Gardens on March 22, 2018. On this day of pouring rain, the weather was so fitting to the theme of the lecture. Lifeboat No. 8 rose to No. 1 on the New York Times and Amazon e-book bestseller lists and recounts the adventure of 27 people fleeing the sinking Titanic in 1912.

Beautifully spoken, Elizabeth riveted the audience with her passionate and heart-wrenching tale. The Titanic was built in … Read More

George Geary: L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants

George Geary gave a highly entertaining and sold-out lecture based on his book, L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants: Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played, at Virginia Robinson Gardens on Valentine’s Day, 2018. His presentation elicited much laughter and merriment from the attendees as well as many nostalgic memories of the restaurants featured in his book.

Originally a pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company, George became a culinary instructor, giving lessons all over the country. He then started a tour company, taking people on food adventures in Europe. In 2012, he was honored with a Frommer’s Domestic and … Read More

Behind the Scenes Tour at Virginia Robinson Gardens

Docents from left to right: Tom, Kathleen, Tina, Betty and Chuck

Docent Chuck Tellalian led an exclusive “Behind the Scenes” Tour of the first estate of Beverly Hills on Saturday, January 27, 2018. For the first-of-its-kind tour, guests were invited behind closed doors to hear about and experience what life was like with Harry and Virginia Robinson and how Virginia entertained friends at her elegant one-storied turn of the 20th-century mini-mansion. Chuck had four wonderful docents: Tom O’Connor, Kathleen Campbell, Tina Varjian, and Betty Rodriguez Goldstein who were assigned to various portions of the tour where they each shared fascinating … Read More

Wright on Exhibit Lecture

Noted architectural historian Kathryn Smith gave an outstanding lecture on Frank Lloyd Wright on January 25th, 2018 at Virginia Robinson Gardens. The presentation was based on her book Wright on Exhibit: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural Exhibitions. A historic preservation consultant, author and lecturer, Kathryn has written many books on Wright’s architecture, in particular on Taliesin, Taliesin West, Hollyhock House and Olive Hill. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Wright Spirit Award in the Professional Category from the Building Conservancy.

Born in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright is famous for the home Fallingwater, finished in 1937 and located in Pennsylvania. … Read More

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