Make way for the Royals, the Serenes and the Odd Movie Star, and I do mean odd. The Spanish Institute, which fosters warm and friendly relations between the U.S. and Spain, olé, has a huge and really very exciting announcement to make. On Nov. 19, Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain is arriving in New York to be the dazzling guest of honor at the Institute’s Gold Medal Gala at the Plaza celebrating its 50th anniversary. And on that very night, the Institute will officially announce its new name, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute! It’s a great and deserved name, as anyone who knows anything at all about the gracious Sofia will be only too happy to tell you. She will receive the Fiftieth Anniversary Commemorative Gold Medal at the gala and Dr. Fernando Aleu, the Institute’s chairman, will be honored with a 2003 Gold Medal. He has done absolute oodles for the center over the years, literally working his fingers to the hueso, the dear man.
It rained cats and dogs and a whole lot of bullfrogs on Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s highly touted Light Cycle celebrating Central Park’s 150th anniversary Monday night. So the pillars of light that were supposed to shoot up a thousand feet high didn’t quite make it, to say nothing of the havoc the rain wreaked on the Grucci’s firework display, which sort of sizzled and then fizzled. But there were 150 parties all over New York to celebrate the great and glorious park, which many consider the lifeblood of the city. Some of the best parties of the night were given at the new Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, in the AOL building by such hostesses of note as Patricia Patterson, Gail Hilson, the Rand Araskogs, the Donald Millers, the Lee Gammills and the Joseph Missetts, inviting such guests as Norma Hess, chic in black; the Philip Millers; the Roberto de Guardiolas; the Coleman Burkes; Nicole and Derek Limbocher, Mai and Ridgely Harrison; Boaz Mazor; Alyne Massey; Susan Burke; Ambassador Nancy Brinker, home from Hungary and happy to be; Thorun Wathne; Mario Buatta; Hilary Geary with Wilbur Ross; Jamie Figg, and on and on into the night. Glorious Food did the glorious food and Philip Baloun did the glorious decor, dark velvet tablecloths, great towering birch trees as centerpieces and miles of clinging ivy with a life of its own.
This story first appeared in the September 17, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Oh, and Mayor Bloomberg dropped in. He’d been to several parties before with, of course, Diane Taylor in a smart gray suit. The mayor kissed the girls and made them laugh and made a little speech and read a little toast written by Frances Fitzgerald and went on his way. You would have loved it.
The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy was responsible for this big night chaired by Norma Dana and Eleanore Kennedy, who worked on the parties for literally a year.
Reports out of Germany say that 38-year-old Princess Stephanie of Monaco married her lover, Adans Peres, a 29-year-old circus acrobat, somewhere in the Rhinelands over the weekend. Adans is not just another acrobat, you understand. He’s a fifth-generation Portuguese one. Those who know say that that’s the best kind. Such leaps and twists and jumps you’ve never seen the like. They met when she gave him an award at The International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo, where they really love the action under the big top.
Adans comes from a famous family of clowns and circus artists. His brother is also an acrobat and his mother was a flamenco dancer. This is Stephanie’s second foray into the circus. You remember she was recently involved with a married Swiss circus owner called Franco Knie. Her father, Prince Rainier, and her sister, Princess Caroline, are said to be upset, nay, furious, but her brother, Prince Albert is supposedly more understanding. Monaco’s Pink Palace will only say that they “believed a ceremony had taken place but there would be no further official comment as the wedding was a private matter.” Some private. That place hasn’t been private for a hundred years.
Demi Moore is encouraging Bruce Willis, her ex, to settle down and focus on one woman. So he’s focusing on “Baywatch” beauty Brooke Burns, 25. The two have been frolicking for photographers in Costa Rica where Brooke is making a movie. Demi hasn’t met Brooke but she has told Bruce that she’d be happy to. Perhaps they should attend the opening of Brooke’s new movie, “Hand in Hand,” a surefire way to get a little extra attention, something they all need desperately.
Kate Moss and her lover, Dazed and Confused magazine editor Jefferson Hack, the father of her 11-month- old daughter, have sent handwritten invitations to their wedding with not one but four different “save the dates” written in for November. It sounds as though they were probably scared off over the horror created by you know who’s wedding. It’s supposed to be a state secret — sure it is — but it’s rumored that Kate’s friend, Stella McCartney, is designing the dress. Time will tell. In other Kate news, she has decided to close down her design business called Burn Ltd., which she founded three years ago. Let’s just say it didn’t exactly set the rag trade on fire.
As for Stella McCartney, she left thousands of white roses as a parting gift for the villagers on the Scottish Isle of Bute, where she married publisher Alasdhair Willis. She also left dozens of hot water bottles for the staff of the castle, someone said to help them get over the aches and pains caused by her wedding guests. But that wouldn’t be very nice of her because they included her father, Sir Paul McCartney, his wife, Heather, Pierce Brosnan, Hugh Grant, Kate Moss, Rod Stewart, Liv Tyler, Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna and Guy.
Nancy Kissinger and Elaine Langone are the chairmen of The Animal Medical Center’s Top Dog Gala at the Waldorf on Sept. 23 where the famous financier, Ace Greenberg, and his wife, Kathy, will be honored. Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler and Page Hershey are the junior chairs and the committee members and supporters include Pauline Pitt, Cynthia Phipps, Lydia Hearst-Shaw, Karen Clark and Jane Seymour. Bill Tansey will drape the ballroom with mint and lavender silk panels and the gardens on the table will spout orchid water. A highlight of the evening will be a video of Pasha, a young dachshund that was paralyzed until she had surgery at the Medical Center. President Bush’s niece, Lauren Bush, who we all know is both an animal lover and a vegetarian, will walk out Pasha with her owner at the end of film to what is hoped will be a standing ovation.
Gisele Bündchen is so excited over the news that she will make her movie debut in a remake of the 1998 French comedy, “Taxi.” The supermodel will play a bank robber pursued by a speed demon of a New York taxi driver named Belle, played by Queen Latifah, and her NYPD partner, played by Jimmy Fallon of “Saturday Night Live.” Gisele is still flashing that $150,000 diamond ring from Leonardo DiCaprio, who is supposed to propose marriage for the second time this summer, but she’s not sure he’s the one. “I get on well with him,” she says. “But I’m not rushing things. I want a man who loves me and supports me. I’m still looking for my own Prince Charming.” Maybe Leo’s not ready to walk down the aisle just yet, either. The two have been off and on for more than three years. At the moment, off is looking pretty good.