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When Sir Elton John decided to doll up for his Oscar fest at The Marquee in Hollywoodland, he jauntily tossed on a black dinner jacket designed by Yohji Yamamoto and a red shirt as red as one of his rubies. The ensemble was further accessorized with a tasteful sprinkling of diamonds, including a pin that spelled out the word love in capital letters. Quel chic.

Naturally, his adored one-year-old cocker spaniel, Arthur, who hates to leave Elton’s side, came along for the ride wearing his diamond collar by Dior. Quel chien. (Brilliant readers — and aren’t you all? — will instantly “get” the teeny, tiny pun here. Chien means dog in French, but it also means chic to swoon over. Voilà!)

This story first appeared in the March 5, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Among Elton and Arthur’s friends at the party were Cornelia Guest in a sexy white Badgley Mischka gown, beaded with silver and crystals that flattered her figure from every angle, every conceivable angle and some inconceivable ones, too. Cornelia sat at Elton’s table with his partner, David Furnish, who sported a tiny diamond wasp by Hedi Slimane on his Dior evening jacket. Both insect and jacket were Oscar gifts from Elton. Such a nice man. Also at the table were beautiful triller Faith Hill and her husband, Tim McGraw, the famous country singer, wearing a saucy little black straw hat. Once a country singer, always a country singer.

Others flaunting about the lime green lined tent were Sir Ben and Lady Kingsley; Ian McKellen; Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler; the photographer David LaChapelle; Elton’s long-time collaborator, Sir Tim Rice; John Stamos and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos; Andre 3000 from Outkast, and shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, who made stilettos for four of the Oscar nominees, including Alison Krauss and Patricia Clarkson. Everyone took home gift bags stuffed with a selection of Elton’s new candles by Slatkin & Co., whose sales help fund Elton’s AIDS foundation, which hauled in more than $1 million on that Oscar night. Dear, dear Elton.


Betsy Bloomingdale, Hollywood’s five-star hostess, gave a sparkling dinner party for her visiting Oscar-time friends from New York and all four points of the compass. The guest everyone wanted to see and dine with was Nancy Reagan, there in a smart black dress and a long necklace with a diamond pendant and diamond earrings on her pretty ears. Among the guests at the long oval table facing the swimming pool, Betsy’s gardens and the stunning patio filled with orchids were Reinaldo Herrera, Kenneth Jay Lane, Merv Griffin, Denise Hale, Connie Wald, Lynn Wyatt, Joan Rivers, Marina Cicogna and others too splendid to mention.


Hot and semi-hot news from London: Jude Law has a new problem to discuss with his pal Nicole Kidman, who not so long ago went through the very same sticky wicket — child custody and visitation. Jude has said that he was bruised and battered by the painful breakup of his seven-year marriage to Sadie Frost, but what worries him most is the welfare of his three small children with Sadie, including baby Rudy, an eight-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. He has spent time with his attorneys trying to figure the best way to get to see his children on a regular basis, even if it means suing for full custody. “If I don’t see my children for two weeks, that’s too long,” he is quoted as saying. Recently, Sadie sacked the children’s long-time nanny but Jude rehired her immediately and moved her into his house. According to friends, the nanny told him and his attorney wild stories about Sadie’s partying with Kate Moss and her current boyfriend, 22 year-old flamenco guitarist, Jackson Scott. “The nanny is Jude’s doomsday option,” one of them said. Meanwhile, Sadie’s support group has warned her to take it easy. Her recent public frolics, including the one where her bosom popped out of her dress for photographers as she left Kate’s 30th birthday party in London, could very well work against her if she has to go to court.


Now that Gwyneth Paltrow is living in London and expecting a baby, she has acquired a whole new circle of like-minded friends, including Kate Winslet, Heather McCartney, Emma Thompson and the ever popular Kate Moss, who all had babies in birthing pools. Water births are supposed to make the process more comfortable for the mother and child so it comes as no surprise that Gwyn and her husband, Chris Martin, are talking about installing a birthing pool at home so they won’t have to make a mad dash to the hospital. It would also keep the summer birth a secret, far away from prying eyes.

While Mrs. Martin waits for her due date, she is said to be keeping her talent warm by giving Kate acting lessons at Kate’s London residence. Tit-for-tat, the supermodel is giving Gwyn tutorials in breast feeding and nappy changing. Ms. Moss has wanted to be a movie star ever since the days in the early Nineties when she dated Johnny Depp. Kate and Gwyneth watched the Oscars on TV and rooted for Johnny. They were sorry when he lost, but you knew that.

As for Sadie, she also watched the Oscars on television since her ex-husband, Jude Law, was nominated for Best Actor. She didn’t think he had a chance against Sean Penn and was said not to be surprised when he didn’t win. In other words, she didn’t break down and knock her head against the wall. On the other hand, the rumor is Madonna went into a nostalgic reverie when her ex, Sean Penn, accepted his Oscar and thanked his understanding and devoted wife, Robin Wright. Madge is said to have sent her congratulations. Maybe yes, maybe no.


Also missing from the superstar lineup at the Kodak theater and at the Vanity Fair party were Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, but the boys are not giving up showbiz. They are set to co-star in a movie called “Internal Affairs,” a hip and hard-boiled story about gangsters in Canton, China, directed by Martin Scorsese. That should pull them into the Cineplex.


Sweet Charity: The New York Botanical Garden held its annual Orchid Dinner at the University Club, and among those stopping by to smell the flowers were Mary and Howdy Phipps, Meile Rockefeller, Barbara de Portago and Kate Spade. The exquisite arrangements on each table were created by some of New York’s top decorators, such as Robert Ruffino, who did a birdcage in Tiffany blue feathers with green and white orchids; Ralph Lauren, who built a miniature Eiffel Tower out of multicolored orchids, and Lisa Jackson, who carpeted her table in moss and centered it with a lantern created of white orchids. This night, which signaled that spring is about to bloom, was chaired by Dominique Browning.


Muffie Potter Aston, Cynthia Lufkin and Susan Fales-Hill are just some of the hostesses who have invited their friends to a cocktail party at the J. Mendel boutique at Bergdorf Goodman next Tuesday night to have a peek at the shop’s new spring collection. A part of all sales will benefit Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victim assistance organization. Among those who are promising to stop by are Stephanie March of “Law & Order,” who just got engaged to celebrity chef Bobby Flay; Arianna Boardman; CeCe Cord; Valesca Guerrand-Hermès; Amanda Hearst; Lauren Bush, and the organization’s ceo, Gordon Campbell.

(Next week, read all about Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg’s fête champêtre on the vast lawn of the Beverly Hills estate. And about the glamorous party at La Grenouille given by Deborah Norville for her husband, Karl Wellner’s 50th birthday.)

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