Princess Stephanie of Monaco, big as a house, is saying her new baby, her second by lover Daniel Ducret, will be a girl and will be named Pauline Grace. Sweet.
Gianni Versace’s friends are saying that the designer may pull up stakes in Milan and move his fashion business to New York and Miami where he has a multimillion-dollar house as big as Princess Stephanie and a new swimming pool to boot.
Hubert de Givenchy is said to be interviewing talented designers in Paris, with a view toward creating a strong new design team at his fashion house. The grand master of the couture is not repeat not retiring, merely taking a step or two back so as not to have to contend with the day-to-day grind. But he will supervise, and nothing will escape his impeccable eye.
Sharon Stone was invited to Chicago to star as the poster girl commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 6-23. So Sharon flew out to Chicago on a private plane (of course) accompanied by her hairdresser (who better?) and her makeup people (life is bare — and so is her face — without them). The next day, she swept into his studio for a six-hour shoot with Victor Skrebneski, the famed photographer of beautiful women, who proclaimed, “Sharon Stone is a classic beauty with an almost perfectly constructed face and pale eyes with which contact is imperative. The most simplistic portrait of her is mesmerizing.” Not a word about the bod, but then maybe it wasn’t that kind of a poster. When will it be unveiled? On May 16 at a gala party at the Cannes Film Festival, where Chicago’s Film Festival will celebrate its 30th birthday in that like-to-think-they’re-Rabelaisian little town where if you show me your deal, I’ll show you mine.
They’re still talking about the cake Mercedes Bass had wheeled out at the New York party at Elio’s restaurant she gave to celebrate her husband Sid’s birthday. (That’s Sid Bass of the Texas Basses, as though that needed clearing up.) The towering confection in the shape of an edible computer was the creation of Sylvia Weinstock, New York cakemaker extraordinary, and atop it was a big straw hat (edible) trimmed with flowers (also edible). It was a bit of an inside joke, because Mercedes insists that every minute Sid doesn’t spend with her he’s with his computer. She calls the computer Conchita. Let her tell you why. Whatever; this is not about rich boys and their toys. Sid built a lot of his vast fortune himself with a little help from a partner or two.
The Basses’ 50 guests crowded into Elio’s after the fabulous Save the Rain Forests concert at Carnegie Hall to eat pasta and drink red wine riotously and to listen to Barbara Walters, Linda Wachner and Oscar de la Renta sing — if you want to call it that — a special song written for Mercedes and Sid to the tune of “If I Loved You” — though you’d never know it. To quote the old cliche, even if their hearts were in the right place, they’d better keep their day jobs.
And this is who was there for the fun: Cecile and Ezra Zilkha; Anne and Moose Taylor of the Denver Taylors; Jayne Wrightsman; Barbara and Conrad Black; Judy Taubman; Oatsie Charles, in from Washington and wondering if they’re always this crazy in New York (not quite); Gil Shiva; Marina Cicogna; Khalil Rizk; Chessy Rayner; Giampiero Dotti; Patricia Patterson; Mica and Ahmet Ertegun; Lorna de Wangen; Bob Silvers; Georgette and Bob Mosbacher; Duncan McLaren; Vivian Duffield and Jocelyn Stevens from London; Princess Firyal of Jordan; Texans Mireille and Ted Pillsbury; Peter Flood; Gayle Hunnicut; Kay and Ben Fortson; Marsland and Dick Moncrief; Dennis Holahan and Ann and Ed Hudson; Florence Grinda from Paris; Kenneth Jay Lane; Boaz Mazor, and Maureen and Robert Oxenberg, like that.
That day, most of the Texans plus Betsy Bloomingdale, Bob Colacello, the Mosbachers, Princess Firyal, Oatsie Charles, Alexis Gregory, Duffield and Stevens, Marina Cicogna, Bob Silvers, Florence Grinda, Kenny Lane, Boaz Mazor, Mary McFadden, etc., all showed up at Gil Shiva’s splendid apartment in the Dakota for a lunch for the two Basses, whose birthdays fall on successive days. Of course there was a birthday cake with perfect likenesses of Mercedes and Sid on their wedding day pictured in the frosting on top and of course Mercedes cut the cake with a big knife and of course she nicked the sugar Sid where she shouldn’t have and of course everyone burst into hysterical laughter and did everything but roll around on the floor. Whatever; happy birthday always, Mercedes and Sid. How many people do you know who bring their action with them?
Alice Mason put on her new spring Galanos — black chiffon printed with dark green and violet flowers — tucked her tiny white dog Fluffy — red leather collar set with rhinestones — under her arm and gave one of those series of dinners for 50 that have made her a hostess to reckon with in New York. Marina Palma stopped the show in her caramel Armani dinner suit with a printed scarf tossed around her shoulders. Unutterably chic. Regine Traulsen wore a yellow/gold/tangerine colored cocoon/stole trimmed in burnt orange appliqued leaves, a vintage creation from Isabel Canovas who once brightened up Madison Avenue. Too stunning for words. Alice’s daughter, Dominique Yang, wore a black silk and jet Vicky Tiel and brought along her baby son, Christian, who wore a little black velvet suit. It was all better than most of what you see on your friendly local runways. In the crowd: Lisa and David Schiff; Allison and Leonard Stern; Rena Rowan and Sidney Kimmel of the Philadelphia Rowans and Kimmels; Arthur Altschul; Lucille Peyrelongue; Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Carl Spielvogel; Joe Armstrong; Luke John Yang; Dana and Jamie Hammond; Louise and Henry Grunwald; Virginia and Billy Salomon; Anna and Robert Sarnoff; Marilyn Evins; Kitty D’Alessio; Helen Gurley Brown and David Brown; Cynthia and Graydon Carter; Robert Denning; Howard Slatkin; Paul Hallingby with Jo Davis; the model Carmen; the Salvador Assaels; Anna and Robert Sarnoff; Bill Diamond, etc.
May is the time for spring flowers, no showers, galas under a big tent and Tchaikovsky. So there will be spring flowers, no showers (God willing), a dazzling gala under a giant marquee and a celebration of the genius of Tchaikovsky at American Ballet Theatre’s big party on May 9 at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center. The evening starts at 7 with excerpts from Tchaikovsky full-length masterpieces and a pas de deux danced by the Company. Immediately after, there will be a black-tie dinner-dance in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park under canvas that Robert Isabell has promised to make beautiful to die for. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is the honorary chairman and Mrs. Robert (Blaine) Trump and Aileen Mehle, also known as Suzy, are the co-chairmen of the evening which will be dedicated to the memory of the elegant and beloved Oliver Smith, the renowned set designer and master teacher, who helped lead American Ballet Theatre from 1945 to 1992. Lancome and Movado are underwriting the Spring Gala, and tickets priced from $650 to $1,500, which include the performance and the party in the park, may be obtained by calling American Ballet Theatre, (212) 477-3030, extension 246 or 247.
November is the time for the Rita Hayworth Gala, celebrating its 10th anniversary on Nov. 3 in another enormous tent, this one adjacent to Tavern on the Green, which will be decorated al Espanol deriving its theme from Rita’s movie classic “The Loves of Carmen.” As you read here, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Rita Hayworth’s daughter, will be the chairman of the gala, which benefits the Alzheimer’s Association, assisted by her friend Diandra Douglas. (Yasmin’s mother died of the disease, and Diandra’s mother has it.)
The ladies have been asked to come dressed as gypsy or flamenco dancers, and mantillas, guitars, castanets and roses between the teeth will be welcome. As for the men, those wearing a traje de luz will not be turned from the door. Except who do you know who might look good in a bullfighter’s costume? Good grief no, not him!