Great triumph mixed with crushing defeat the other night as highly competitive people with lots of disposable income gathered at the Gramercy Park Hotel Private Roof Club for a fancy quiz night to benefit Darna, an organization that feeds struggling women and children in Tangier. It was a strange mix of monied New York: socialites, models, fashion designers, and, of course, investment bankers, who felt a little out of place. “We’re investment-bank nerds, so we spent pretty much a month planning our outfits,” said a member of the Goldman Sachs team. “We had wardrobe consultations on conference calls.” The grand prize they were competing for? A trip to Morocco to stay in the family villa of model Jacquetta Wheeler, the host.
Here’s how it worked: Each room in the club held a list of questions from a different trivia category (Science & Nature, Sports, and so on). Corporations from Valentino to Bloomberg sponsored teams, which then went from room to room, debating the questions in each. We didn’t see any inter-team strife, but we’re told things got tougher as scores were being tallied. “This guy comes up to me and says, ‘You suck at pop culture, Goldman Sachs,’” said one of the bankers. “And I said, ‘Well, you suck at history, Michael Kors.’” She later learned the man she’s said this to was Michael Kors. It also didn’t matter: Goldman, surprising no one in the room, took home the grand prize. Other teams won various smaller prizes; Deutsche Bank, for example, won a vast supply of Agent Provocateur lingerie. Kors, sadly, took home nothing.
“Michael Kors, poor Michael Kors,” said Andrew Saffir, whose Cole Haan–sponsored team won a dinner at the Inn LW12. “They didn’t even place. We were standing there when they announced the winners and he left in a semi-huff. As soon as the last prize was announced, he said, ‘We’re going.’ I think they were planning on going anyway, but the bitter sting of loss didn’t help.”