I can tell when a party is going to be a smash when I first walk in the door, can’t you? There’s something in the air, something almost palpable — a subtle feeling that tonight everything will mesh and it’s going to be fun. (You can pick up negative feelings just as easily, too: signals that a party is going to be a bomb, all but dead on arrival, and you don’t want to stick around for the funeral — or the speeches — or are they the same thing?)
If a hit party deserves four stars, the only way to go is to hang five stars on the party that Blaine and Robert Trump gave for Viscount and Viscountess Linley at Glorious Food’s establishment Wednesday night. You all remember Lord Linley. He is Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon’s son, who has become a first-rate furniture designer and cabinet maker. His latest works, five state-of-the-art humidors made of precious woods for Dunhill, are beautiful boxes made after the style of England’s most famous architects of the ages: William Kent, John Soane, Sir Christopher Wren, Inigo Jones and Pugin. As for Viscountess Linley, David Linley’s bride Serena, if you don’t remember her, you should. She is the lovely blond granddaughter of the Earl of Harrington and the daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Petersham. One doesn’t like to be too crass and commercial about this sort of thing, but she is also an heiress.
At the party, Serena was wearing a red-hot dress under a black organza jacket. The jacket didn’t last long when she got on the dance floor.
The setting for the party was the third floor and the tented garden terrace of Glorious Food, where a cozy fire was burning on the inside, and spring was bursting on the outside. The trellised terrace was alive with climbing azaleas (planted and trained three years ago) at the foot of the trellises, blooming pansies and geraniums planted especially for the party and boxwood and azalea topiaries everywhere. A glittering mirrored ball revolved overhead, and the disco, with Tom Finn at the controls, played cabaret music during dinner and let out a blast for the after-dinner dancers who didn’t leave the premises until they were politely swept out by Miss Blaine, the beautiful hostess, chic in a short black and white lace by Carolyne Roehm.
Orange and lemon trees bloomed in the dining room, and each table, covered in pastel plaid clothes and centered with sprays of peonies, lilies and sprays of spring blossoms, was named for various woods David Linley uses in his work: maple, satinwood, ebony, cherry and walnut. Sean Driscoll and Jean-Claude Nedelec — with enormous input from Blaine, of course — were responsible for everything from the perfect lighting to the wonderful food — potato pancakes with caviar and creme fraiche, Cajun lobster, shrimp and scallops over Creole rice and, for dessert, cakes baked by Jean-Claude in perfect likenesses of the five boxes David Linley made for Dunhill, served with little fruit sorbets. You would have loved it. Certainly the 40 guests did, maybe because they were such a mix.
Iman, the gorgeous model, sat next to David Linley. Diane Sawyer, in a crystal-beaded pantsuit, sat next to lawyer Robert Altman, whom she had interviewed, along with his wife, Lynda Carter, on her “Prime Time” television program. Princess Firyal of Jordan, in peacock satin, brought along her one-time love interest, the Greek tycoon Stavros Niarchos, who seems never to have quite gotten over her. Then there were Stavros’s son Spyros and his wife, Daphne; Anne Bass in a stunning white pantsuit; Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner; David Bowie; Barbara and Henryk de Kwiatkowski; Cecile and Ezra Zilkha; Pat Buckley; Fernanda and Jamie Niven; Ruth Kennedy, who directs all David Linley’s business interests; Paul Wilmot; Emilia and Pepe Fanjul; Nan Kempner; Anne Hearst; Diandra Douglas; CeCe and Barry Kieselstein Cord; Maria Snyder; Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera; Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg; Greg Jordan; Gil Shiva; Timothy Gosling and, from Dunhill, the Richard Dunhills and David Salz. Then, after dinner, in trooped Pauline and Dixon Boardman; Ann Jones in about 10 sequins; Joy Henderik, and Ashley Judd, after her Broadway performance in “Picnic.”
During the course of the evening, it was learned that while they were in college, Diane Sawyer and Jamie Niven had a blind date. “And you never called me back afterward,” twitted Diane, while Jamie blushed and said gallantly he didn’t think she was interested in him. “I sat by the phone waiting and waiting and nothing,” teased the stunning Diane. “Maybe that’s why I’m so warped and twisted.” Oh, sure. We should all be so warped and twisted.
Will Julia Roberts hit the all-time high for a woman screen star starting with her next picture? The word is she’ll take home $12 million, two million up from the last time around.
Do you believe for a minute that Princess Caroline of Monaco is in an interesting condition? Via her lover Vincent Lindon? And that whatever is supposed to happen is supposed to happen in November?
From the video cam on her cap to the camera lights on her bosom, everything is outrageous about Spanish bombshell Victoria Abril’s portrayal of the scar-faced, trashy, tabloid TV reporter/host in Pedro Almodùvar’s latest shocker, “Kika.” Jean Paul Gaultier designed the astonishing attire for Abril, who finds Hollywood parties dull and boring. “Everyone always talks about ‘the business,”‘ she complains. “But at one party, a woman came over to me and we talked about everything except films. She’s the most ‘normal’ person I’ve met in Hollywood — Madonna!” Time to screw that video cam on your cap and fly back to Madrid, honey.
Their friends think Natasha Richardson and her lover, Liam Neeson, are planning to marry the minute the ink is dry on her divorce from producer Robert Fox. It certainly seems Natasha has tamed Neeson, whose name has been linked with everyone from Julia Roberts to Brooke Shields. And after they wrap up “Nell,” now filming in Arkansas, the lovebirds will fly off to Scotland, where Liam will play the 18th-century kilted swashbuckler Rob Roy. The only problem is, with their busy schedules, they can’t find time for a wedding. Oh, yes, they can. In the immortal words of some matchmaker, “You want to get married — you get married.”
At the recent auction of vintage clothes at the William Doyle Galleries, the excitement peaked when a Charles James-designed ball gown, once owned by the great diva Lily Pons, fetched $29,900. Arnold Scaasi bought an evening dress he designed for Pons in the 1960s. And Cecil Beaton’s 1970s sketch of Coco Chanel went for $9,775. Everything old is new again — or whatever.
(Next week, read about maestro Giancarlo Menotti’s visit to New York and the parties given for him by such admirers as Lily Auchincloss and Judy Peabody.)