Last year’s New York Women in Communications’ Matrix luncheon, hosted by Rosie O’ Donnell, caused controversy and generated headlines. Monday’s lunch, with Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi as Master of Ceremonies, was as uncontroversial as the accompanying cold chicken salad. Each year, the Matrix Luncheon honors Manhattan’s top media women. This year’s was a very huggy-kissy affair, with each presenter planting a big wet one on his or her honoree. Arthur Sulzberger Jr. smooched the New York Times’s soon-to-be-retired Linda Greenhouse, who won for newspapers. Chef Wolfgang Puck bussed Ruth Reichl, Gourmet magazine’s editor-in-chief who won for magazines. And Bob Woodruff not only hugged and kissed ABC President Anne Sweeney but called her Anne Sweetie. He said he had called her that once before when he was having trouble with words. This time he did it, he said, on purpose.
Maybe because Hillary’s campaign is deflating, none of the honoree’s speeches were in the “Women Should Rule the World” mode that has sometimes characterized the event. Instead, they thanked parents, children, husbands, bosses, clients, and each other. Only Diana von Furstenberg, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award seemed a bit miffed after her presenter, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, described her as someone born during the war whose family had suffered in the Holocaust. Diana, wearing the brightest dress on the stage, declared, “I have to get one thing straight. I was born after the war. I’m old but I’m not that old.”
But that was the extent of this year’s controversy. It was a very lady-like affair — a welcome change from last year’s unpleasantness.