Everybody who matters in the political, banking and business worlds knows The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, the personable and handsome former prime minister of Canada. Brian ran his country when Ronald Reagan ran his and Lady Thatcher ran hers. And when they worked together it was as smooth as silk. The powerful trio meshed brilliantly.
The Right Honourable is a lucky fellow. He has a beautiful wife, Mila, to whom he has been married for many happy years; a beautiful family, and he sings like a lark — and at the drop of a hat. Naturally, he has mighty friends in high places and low, too, for Dear Brian could have invented the common touch.
This story first appeared in the March 24, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Many of these friends came from far and near to help Brian celebrate his 65th birthday at a fabulous party, a dinner dance, given by the Mulroney family in Palm Beach over the weekend. They took over Club Colette, the restaurant everyone who is anyone in the resort frequents, and in came the passing, star-studded parade. Everyone was thrilled to see Barbara and George Bush, who flew in from Houston just for the party. Oh my, but the Bushes are in fine fettle. Barbara, full of life, in a bright blue silk jacket and George, dancing with Mila Mulroney in her silver lamé Dolce & Gabbana confection while the room looked on.
Tycoons abounded — Canadian tycoons Paul Desmarais and Galen Weston and their bejeweled wives, Jackie and Hilary; the Irish tycoon Sir Anthony O’Reilly and his Greek heiress wife, the former Chryssie Goulandris; General Alexander Haig and his wife Patricia; Judy and Alfred Taubman, and Lauren and John Veronis. Marjorie Fisher, the wife of Detroit tycoon Max Fisher, wore the showstopper dress of the party, black silk with enormous gazar ruffles at the shoulder designed by Ralph Rucci, a gown to wear when someone famous does your portrait. Another showstopper was worn by Nancy Silverman, the wife of American tycoon Henry Silverman — a short, dazzling semi-vintage orange-and-brown paillette sheath designed by Maria Snyder of New York. After Nancy bought it, she thought she’d never wear it, so she gave it to a thrift shop. After a while, the thrift shop sent it back and said they couldn’t sell it. So Nancy said she took the bull by the horns and decided to wear it to the Mulroney party. It was a grand success. You just never know, do you?
Texas tycoon Tom Hicks was there with his wife, Linda; Robin Hambro flew in from London, and American tycoon David Koch and his wife, Julia, swept in from their magnificent nearby Palm Beach estate, which is growing more and more magnificent by the moment, filled with treasures and decorated by the international designer Alberto Pinto.
George Bush was flanked by Mila and Princess Firyal of Jordan, dressed by Jean Paul Gaultier, and at that same table, along with Max and Marjorie Fisher, were Ambassador Nancy Brinker and Vic Damone and his wife, Rena.
Lord Black, staying at his Palm Beach house (it’s still for sale), sat next to Lesly Smith, Palm Beach’s mayor, and close by were American tycoon Wilbur Ross (steel and textiles) with Hilary Geary; the Duchess of Marlborough; Cristina Goldsmith, now divorced and back to her maiden name of Cristina de Caraman; Charles Gargano; Jessie and Rand Araskog; Maria and Raymond Floyd; Robert Higdon; sugar tycoon Pepe Fanjul and his wife, Emilia; Pepe’s brother, sugar tycoon Alfie Fanjul; Dr. Marjorie Fisher (daughter of Marjorie and Max); Bill and Barbara Evans of California; Paul Desmarais Jr. and his wife, Helene; Venezuelan tycoon Gustavo Cisneros and his wife, Patty; Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee, in from Washington; Michael Bublé, the young Canadian singer mentored by David Fisher, who is selling more records than he can count, and Ira and Nicki Harris. Cristina Macaya, the best-dressed Spaniard, made an appearance, as did Aziz Radwan, the Eton-schooled Egyptian magnate who flew in from Cairo, and the tycooness Kate Ford, widow of Henry, who drove in from her new Palm Beach house, maybe the biggest in the resort. She was with Frank Chopin, as ever.
Winston Churchill and his wife, Luce, were greeting friends from all over the world, including the Canadian banker John Deitcher and his wife Diane, David Metcalfe and Pauline Pitt, there with Jamie Niven. Michele and Howard Kessler flew in from Boston; Freddie and Virginia Melhado came from just a few minutes away and so did Hillie Mahoney, Anna and Bill Mann, and Tom Quick with Lucia Musso, all of whom winter in Palm Beach.
Brightening their tables were such as Claudine and Jorge Pereira of Portugal; Christine and Steven Schwarzman, the New York banker who runs Blackstone; Susan and Ross Johnson; Terry Kramer and Nick Seminich; Alyne Massey; Grace and Chris Meigher; Jean Tailer; the famous Canadian doctor David Mulder and his wife, Norma; Cynthia Boardman; Brian’s brother, Gary Mulroney; Sondra and Michael Palangio; Pierre-Karl Peladeau, merely the biggest printer in North America, with Julie Snyder; Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd; Nancy Tsai; David and Sherrie Westin of the ABC Westins; Rajko and Silvija Renusa from Croatia; Rosemary and Wafic Said of Paris and London; Harry and Gail Theodoracopulos, and Miss Joan Rivers, at her funniest. Wearing 5-inch rhinestone heels, she brought the house down. Last but not least were the three unbelievably handsome Mulroney boys, Ben, Mark and Nicolas, who each spoke humorously and lovingly about their father. (Sister Caroline Lapham couldn’t make the party because she was sick in New York.)
This party started a social revolution in PB, said one of the terminally enthusiastic guests when the party was still going on at 2:30 in the morning. Most parties here, you see, end at 10:30. Not when the Mulroneys give one. Oh, and George Bush, 80, in his speech about Brian, called him “kiddo.” That put the young whippersnapper in his place.