Women's Wear Daily Correspondent
Friday, July 30, 2010; 1:00 PM
Women's Wear Daily New York correspondent Rosemary Feitelberg was online Friday, July 30, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss Chelsea Clinton's upcoming wedding to Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Feitelberg wrote exclusively about Clinton's visit Tuesday to dress designer Vera Wang's showroom.
Video: Rosemary Feitelberg on the Today show (NBC News)
Rosemary Feitelberg: Hi there,
This is Rosemary Feitelberg of Women's Wear Daily. I am here in New York and am happy to field any of your questions about the Clinton wedding. We have been busy working the phones and tomorrow we will be off to Rhinebeck to weaves through the crowds to see what we can find out. Clearly, the Clintons know how to keep state secrets considering what little information has been confirmed.
I did see Chelsea and HRC visiting Vera Wang's and Oscar de la Renta 's showrooms Tuesday afternoon (Women's Wear Daily has the only photo that proves it.) Both appeared to be cool as can be.
Silliest Question about the wedding: A journalist asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about how she juggles planning Chelsea's wedding with her job. Duh? Isn't Chelsea over 25? Last time I saw Chelsea she appeared to be an intelligent and capable woman. I think Chelsea can organize a wedding without a hovering mother.
Rosemary Feitelberg: There's no question Hillary Clinton has no shortage of things to do - her recent travels are testimony to that. But most mothers whose daughters are being married, she isn't about to let that happen without her input and support. It is not so much a matter of maturity as it is an opportunity to share in what is supposed to be one of the highlights of your life.
JFK, NYC: How much of the interest in this story/wedding do you think is driven from the fact that America watched Chelsea grow up at 1600 Penn Ave?
and ... who made the floppy hat?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Many Americans feel as though they know Chelsea since she has been in the public eye for 28 years. She was only 12 when her father was first elected. They have seen Chelsea evolve from an awkward adolescent to a confident young woman.
As for the hat, many designers and brands have similar styles this season. The other day one particularly zealous publicist insisted it was designed by one of his clients and orders skyrocketed after Chelsea was photographed on the street in her. The truth is it could be from any number of companies and unless Chelsea offers that information (highly unlikely), it is too common to call. The milliner Erica Javits suggested she may have picked it up in Martha's Vineyard where many stores carry similar styles. Wherever she got, he loved it. Eric said it spoke to her generation and shows how assured of herself she is. It was practically umbrella-like.
Ardmore, Pa.: Do we have any idea who may be in the wedding party? Bridesmaid's dresses? Is there a rehearsal dinner tonight?
Rosemary Feitelberg: The wedding party seems to be keeping up their end about staying mum. Yesterday I was told the guests are mostly friends (like anyone else there will be some obligatory work-related guests.) Supposedly there will be a strong showing from Arkansas, a smattering of New Yorkers and presumably some VIPs like Vernon Jordan. The rehearsal dinner is said to be in Grassmere, N.Y. at a stone barn owned by Pamela Newhouse. There has also been talk of a series of cocktail parties tomorrow night that Chelsea and Marc will stop in at.
America's Ruling (Royalty) Class: I don't have anything against Chelsea Clinton. Her parents are another story, of course. Funny how two "civil servants" who were reportedly broke 20 years ago can afford a multi-million-dollar wedding. I forget, what wonderful product did they invent? What business did they nurture into a fortune?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Speaking fees can be sizable, no? In 2008, the former president pocketed a $15 million advance for his autobiography which was the highest at that time.
Boston, Mass.: Hello Rosemary,
Can you tell me -- What is "country chic?" Is it true that the rehearsal dinner party invitations requested guests wear this motif? Does common etiquette allow for the hosts to dictate this?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Country chic sounds a little jumbo shrimp to me. Some party givers do like to guide the dress code with a theme. Many who choose to entertain in this economy are trying to tone things down with simpler fare and decor. Street food is a summer trend for New York parties.
Washington, D.C.: Is it true that Streisand and Spielberg are going to be there? What does Chelsea have in common with them? Has press speculation blown things out of proportion with this wedding?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Supposedly, they are on the list but like any red carpet event no one will know for certain until the big day. The Clintons vacationed on Martha's Vineyard during their White House years and Spielberg summers there.
Anonymous: Love the hat. It is so sexy. (I am male).
Rosemary Feitelberg: Do you like beach umbrellas too?
Anonymous: How are they handling the embarrassment of the father-in-law's legal issues?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Every family has matters they deal with privately.
Arlington, Va.: I have seen estimates of $5 million on the costs of this wedding. Really, does it cost that much? Any thoughts on just giving the money to the kids, and calling in a j.p. instead of this expense? Given what I know of Reinbeck, N.Y., that's enough money to keep this downtrodden town running for a couple of years.
Rosemary Feitelberg: That is not a call for me to make. The grand total should be more concise once the details are revealed or leaked.
Arlington, Va.: Why Rhinebeck, N.Y.? Some family connection? Also isn't he Jewish and she Baptist? So who and what is the preacher?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Rhinebeck is a pastoral upstate New York town that isn't terribly far from Chappaqua where the Clintons have a home. No word yet on who is officiating or what type of ceremony it will be. In 1975, HRC and Bill Clinton wed in a Methodist ceremony in their Fayetteville, Ark. living room.
Bridal gowns: If you had to choose between Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta, which would you choose? Or, if you don't wish to play favorites, what sort of features of each would you recommend brides to be to look for? I guess wearing a dress from each, one for half the day and another for the rest of the day is out of the question?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Now that's a loaded question. Vera and Oscar both have incredible depth in terms of the range of their designs. The workmanship (much of which is done by hand) is exceptional. Neither is known for any one style. Chelsea very well may change into a second dress during the reception.
Anonymous: If the Salahis show up, what precautions are in place to prevent interlopers?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Aside from the Secret Service, state and local police? Nearby roads have been closed and additional ones will be. Earlier this week several visitors said downtown was already jammed with hangers-on and media.
The food: Any truth to Chelsea serving vegan food at the reception? If so, good for her!
Rosemary Feitelberg: Chelsea is said to be a vegetarian. We shall see.
Midwest: Robin Givhan just wrote an article about how Clinton's wedding has been over-covered given how she hasn't sought publicity. Do you agree?
washingtonpost.com: Chelsea Clinton can't catch a break in media frenzy over wedding (Post, July 25)
Rosemary Feitelberg: There really does seem to be no shortage of interest in Chelsea's wedding. Maybe people are just welcoming good news.
Woodbridge, Va.: Who is in charge of this wedding? Recently I read somewhere that Chelsea was having a fit because the wedding was turning into something she didn't want, that being a full blown affair with hundreds of people that only her parents know.
This must've been incorrect Internet gossip because I find this hard to believe. She doesn't strike me as someone who is easily pushed around.
Rosemary Feitelberg: A Boston-based event wedding planner Bryan Raffanelli is the maestro. He has handled a number of private events for the Clintons so he knows the drill.
Cocktail parties tomorrow night?: Isn't tomorrow Saturday, the wedding day? Will the happy couple really be stopping by a series of cocktail parties tomorrow night? Is the wedding on Sunday?
Rosemary Feitelberg: The wedding is Saturday night. Supposedly the cocktail parties are tonight.
Virginia: I believe as a former president, Clinton still gets Secret Service protection. Hillary Clinton has her own security as secretary of state. So, tell us more about the security at this affair. Is it really tight?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Beyond tight. The Secret Service was all over the Garment Center when Chelsea and Hillary were there.
Seattle, Wash.: I ate at the Beekman Arms twice. They have this huge Brunch with table after table of pastries and other goodies, plus an omelet bar. Any idea if there will be a Sunday event there?
Rosemary Feitelberg: A brunch is planned but no one has said exactly where.
Washington, D.C.: Serious question: Any complaints in the town about cost of overtime? Roadblocks, etc? (not sure if their neighbors are Dems or not -- hahaha)
Not so serious question: How in the world did WWD get that fabulous photo of Chelsea in that hat? My mom says to ask who makes it!
Rosemary Feitelberg: Some residents are less than thrilled with the disruption but several that I have talked to are thrilled. Obviously, this should lead to more visitors in the coming months. As for the WWD photo, I walked over to the Garment Center to see what I could find out about the dress. A secret service agent was stationed in the lobby of the first building I went to and several people confirmed the Clintons were in the building. I called the office to request a photographer. Then Robert Mitra and I just waited on the street.
Fairfax, Va.: I've heard estimates that the wedding is going to cost over $2 million. Is that true? It seems like it's more for Bill Clinton than for his daughter, what with the invitees mentioned in the news. Please comment.
Rosemary Feitelberg: Aren't most weddings more for the parents than the bride and groom?
washingtonpost.com: Photo: Chelsea Clinton Visits Vera Wang Before Wedding (WWD)
Alexandria, Va.: I adore Chelsea Clinton and am so happy for her. I hope her wedding weekend goes off without a hitch and that we will get a small glimpse of some of the details. I was wondering if anything is known about who is in the wedding party and what the accent colors might be.
Rosemary Feitelberg: I wouldn't bank on Barbie pink. Vera Wang is said to be designing the bridesmaid dresses. She is known for her sophisticated and intricate styles.
Washington, D.C.: Souvenirs?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Some entrepreneurial Rhinebeck-ers are selling masks of the Clintons. This one isn't a souvenir, but several local storeowners have decorated their windows with "Congratulations Chelsea and Marc" and wedding-related themes.
D.C.: This being Washington and Hillary being secretary of state, are any foreign diplomats invited as a special privilege? Bet a lot of noses will be out of joint if they aren't asked.
Rosemary Feitelberg: You would think there will be some politicians in the crowd.
New York, N.Y.: Are Vera and Oscar invited to the wedding?
Rosemary Feitelberg: Both would be safe bets for invites. Oscar is very friendly with the Clintons. The former first couple have vacationed with the designer.
Anonymous: Do designers hike the price tag on dresses they make for the famous, just so they can justify ordinarily high-prices for dresses sold the hoi-polloi? Do you believe the $1 million price tag for Chelsea's dress?
Rosemary Feitelberg: The price of most designs are based on the quality of the fabric, the amount of fabric, any embellishment, the hours of labor. One million is ridiculous.
Rosemary Feitelberg: Thank you for tuning in. I am afraid I need to get back to it. WWD is always on to the next...
Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.