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Holiday Plans for Goldie, Bennifer, Jude and the Palm Beach Crowd

Sick and sated with the same old celeb names and what they’re doing and how they’re behaving and misbehaving? Too bad. The holidays are here and all of them are trying to be sweet and nice, for a few weeks, anyhow.

This story first appeared in the December 19, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck will spend Christmas together, at least as of this moment. They will be in Boston on Christmas Eve with Ben’s family, including his mother, father and brother, and then will head to the Bronx to spend Christmas Day there with Jennifer and her clan, including her mother, father and two sisters. That is, unless there’s a storm, and then they may well be opening their presents on the road.

Gwyneth Paltrow got her husband, Chris Martin, as her early Christmas present and they will spend time with her mother, Blythe Danner, and of course she’ll parade him around to meet all the cousins before they fly off to visit Chris’ parents in England.

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke are still trying to work out a schedule so they can spend time on Christmas with their children, Mya, 5, and Rowan, 1. They definitely won’t be spending any more time together than they absolutely have to because this is one couple that shows no signs of reconciling.

Ditto for Jude Law and Sadie Frost. They’ll spend Christmas morning with their three children in what was once the family home and then run off to open presents with their respective lovers, 20-year-old Sienna Miller for him and 22-year-old musician Jackson Scott for her.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and their two little tykes, Dylan, 3, and 8-month-old Carys, will fly off to Wales to visit her parents and then end up in Bermuda to see Michael’s mother, Diana Darrid, for the New Year, but their plane will remain gassed up and ready to go in case Michael decides to hit his ranch in Aspen for a few days. They’re waiting for the snow report, which is supposed to be good, as the Rockies are currently buried in several feet of new powder.

All the fanciest private jets are already booking their arrival slots and parking spots in Colorado. Parking the Gulfstream 5 is a big problem because space is limited at the exclusive Pitkin County Airport and you wouldn’t want to be shoveled down the Valley to a less prestigious spot in Glenwood Springs now, would you?

Miuccia Prada won’t make it to Aspen to host her annual holiday party this year because she’s busy working on the new fall collections in Milan, but the festa will go on without her anyhow in the Andres Building, the company’s landmark store built in the 1800s. Among those invited to check out the action and the fur-lined ski suits, etc. shipped straight from Italy and show-cased in the five-story chalet are Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, Julia and David Koch, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Fernanda Niven and Kristen Davis. Also invited are Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson, Anne Bass, Marcia and Richard Mishaan, Diana Ross, Michael Ovitz and Jamie and Steve Tisch.

Afterward, the 80 guests will wend their way down the block to the Caribou Club for a private dinner dance. And, of course, they’ll all be up really early to yodel and have lunch at the Aspen Mountain Club, where everybody who is anybody — or hopes to be — has lunch.

Tamara Mellon, the beautiful head of Jimmy Choo, and her husband, Matthew Mellon 2nd, an heir of the Pittsburgh banking dynasty, are trying to be nice to each other once again after their recent split, occasioned because both were having affairs. And not with each other. She was seeing Oscar Humphries, the 22-year-old son of cross-dressing entertainer Barry Humphries, a.k.a. Dame Edna, and Matthew was all over a young heiress. Now they have both ended their brief flings. You may remember their big wedding at Blenheim Palace in 2000 where she wore a drop-dead Valentino and 41 karats worth of diamonds in front of 400 guests. As of this moment, the Mellons will spend Christmas together with their two-year-old daughter, Minty, in their elegant Belgravia apartment in London’s chicest area.

Joan Collins and Percy Gibson have weathered a little rough spot in their two-year marriage — actually it was so rough that some of their friends were comparing them with George and Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” — and have flown off to Los Angeles to spend Christmas at the home of her designer friend, Nolan Miller. They plan to ring in the New Year in Acapulco with her pal, Leslie Bricusse, the composer, before returning to London in January so she can begin rehearsals for “Full Circle,” a play in which she appears as a woman with many husbands. Joan knows all about that.

If all the guests at this year’s annual Coconuts New Year’s Eve party in Palm Beach’s Colony Hotel seem to be basking in a rosy glow, it’s not just from the champagne. Fashion designer Steven Stolman, who has decorated this old, and older, guard gathering for the past several years, promises a really colorful evening. He says he’s done it all, from El Morocco zebra to cool minimalism to Stars and Stripes. This year it’s the colors of Palm Beach. To those of you who’ve never been there, or have lived on Mars for the last 70 years or so, that would be pink and green and in this case we’re not talking pastels, my dears. In preppy old Palm Beach, brighter is better, so think the kind of pink that would please, maybe, Elsa Schiapparelli juxtaposed against the greenish glow of plutonium. You get the look.

Once again, the invitations will arrive zipped inside a real coconut shell holding a mandatory admission ticket to discourage crashers. But in a town where everybody knows everybody else (and in many cases were married to them) it’s a hard party to get into uninvited. Bob Leidy is the head Coconut again, following in the footsteps of Dixon Boardman and the late Guilford Dudley.

So you think that having seen one benefit you’ve seen them all? Not really. Because obviously you’ve never attended the Annual Holiday Dinner, hosted by Ross Bleckner, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera and Bob Colacello, for more than 150 guests who meet, greet and eat in a private artist studio for a seated dinner that benefits the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. This year’s gathering was held at the studio of Stephan Weiss, the late husband and business partner of Donna Karan, who gave this year’s party along with In Style’s Charla Lawhon.

When Weiss wasn’t helping build the company, he was painting and sculpting on a large scale and the studio continues to house much of his magnificent output. The upstairs area of the studio was decorated by a 20-by-30-foot glass wall of votive candles and a fireplace worthy of “Citizen Kane.” Outside, an amazing Balinese garden tempted many of the guests who admired several of Stephan’s sculptures posed around a 12-foot Christmas tree.

On the downstairs level, three 40-foot tables were draped in burlap and decorated with candles, greens, fruit and holiday sweets. The guests came from the art world, the interior design world and the business world and though it’s hard to get thin and beautiful New York to even look at the dessert fork, Jon Gilman pulled out all the stops with his excellent meal, which drew raves from such as Judy and Sam Peabody, Graydon Carter and his pretty English friend, Anna Scott, Muffie Potter Aston, Carol McFadden, Veronica Hearst, Priscilla Rattazzi-Whittle and Hal Rubenstein. Then there was the couple who played card tricks over coffee. Card tricks over coffee! Naughty, naughty.

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