Jill Kargman's new novel, The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, was written before the economy came crashing down, which explains why if you pick up a copy—it came out last week—you may feel like you've been transported back in time to the middle of 2006, when everyone walking down Park Avenue was full of optimism and no one had any problem spending $50,000 on a two-year-old's birthday party. Things have changed a bit since then, although Kargman isn't allowing the unfortunate timing of her novel derail her PR campaign. Quite the opposite, in fact: Her book party this evening will feature a blood-red cocktail called the "Nightmare On Wall Street," and she's using the financial crisis to detail how some of the city's richest women have been coping with the downturn.
In a piece in Harper's Bazaar, Kargman, who was raised in the territory she writes about—her father, Arie Kopelman, is the former president of Chanel—says that there numerous ways women have adjusted to the crisis.
Rich wives who thought nothing of paying $750 for a pair of shoes are now spending $400 (although that might be because everything is on sale these days), some couples have decided against renewing their country club memberships for the summer, and some have even been reduced to flying commercial. Socialite Nina Griscom reports that she now "treks" to the wholesale flower market downtown instead of shopping at her local florist and tries to buy buds "with an eye toward longevity." Bettina Zilkha says that while she'd never think of going without a pedicure, she is cutting back on "the full spa version for 90 bucks."
But there are limits, says Kargman, so don't go assuming that anyone will be trading in their Diptyque candles for Glade PlugIns any time soon:
There is another line the banker spouses I know would rather not cross. And that's the one to buy a subway pass. "No matter how bad things get, my husband and I would never take the subway," one wife told me. "We would rather limit our social life to walking distance from our apartment than rely on going underground." When I bumped into an oft-photographed socialite on public transportation, she seemed beyond horrified to be "caught" by the tracks. "Oh, hi," she said sheepishly. "I've never been down here! This train goes so fast," she marveled.
The horror! Let's just hope this unnamed social isn't forced to move to the Upper West Side or things could really turn tragic!