Now that we’ve all been treated to a peek at la Patti Davis nude in Playboy, what’s all the fuss about? You don’t have to be a former U.S. President’s daughter to rip off all your clothes for public consumption. Everybody’s doing it — on stage, in movies, in magazines, night and day. The thrill is gone. The come-on here, of course, is that Patti was born a Reagan. Otherwise, would anybody even look up?
Patti has been quoted rather widely as saying she and her family have reconciled. False. If a daughter thinks posing nude for a magazine will foster family togetherness, how does her mind work?
As for Nancy Reagan, she has this to say: “It’s Patti’s life. Other than that, the family has no comment.” It sounds more like it’s Patti’s funeral.
Princess Diana’s stepmummy, Raine, and her husband, Count Jean-Francois de Chambrun, are said to be putting their eight-bedroom chateau, set in 15 secluded acres three miles outside Cannes, on the market. Price tag: $6 million. There’s still speculation about the actual state of this 10-month-old marriage, but the general gossip is that the pair plans to spend more time in London at Raine’s house in Mayfair and in Paris where they are presently house-hunting. As Raine’s mummy, Barbara Cartland, might say in one of her best-selling novels, love still has the upper hand.
Everybody in filmmaking seems to be after Bridget Fonda now that her big Bernardo Bertolucci newie, “Little Buddha,” is out. Bridget’s daddy, Peter, will direct her in a remake of “The Petrified Forest”; another Italian director, Dario Argento, is hot to snap her up for “The Stendhal Syndrome,” and Anthony Hopkins has nothing but praise for her performance in “The Road to Wellville.” Don’t ever say it doesn’t run in the blood. Look at Natasha Richardson and all that Redgrave hemoglobin.
Mark Phillips, the former Mr. Princess Anne of Great Britain, has been photographed in Phuket, Thailand, the resort of the super-rich, in the company of a brand-new blonde, one Carolyn Saunders. Hardly anyone gives a fig, certainly not his ex, Anne, the Princess Royal, who — in a short jade-green dress with a gold and silver lame jacket — recently wowed them in Washington at the dinner given by The Royal Society of Medicine at the Watergate. There was lots of curtsying by the ladies and head-bobbing by the gents there and at the reception beforehand given by Betty and Ed Scripps and Lotte and Jan Leschly, where the princess received the Hewitt Award for her work in the improvement of human health.
When Anne stepped to the microphone, everybody stood until she smilingly told them to sit “because my speech will be 45 minutes precisely.” And it was. And nobody ran screaming for the exits. And you could hear a pin drop. And the next day she flew back to the U.K. without even time to put her feet up. Phuket, indeed.
The Vanderbilt who organized the service commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the legendary family, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, plus the Vanderbilt family reunion at St. Bartholomew’s Church, is Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt III, 45, the eloquent son of Alfred Gwynne Sr., the present head of the family, and Jeanne Murray Vanderbilt. (Alfred Sr., in his 80s, was not at the church, but attended the reception afterwards at the Racquet Club.)
Alfred III got up and told a story about when he was a child visiting the great Vanderbilt estate in Newport, where a caretaker told him all the Vanderbilts were dead, victims of a huge train crash years before. To prove that the Vanderbilts are not only alive but flourishing, Alfred summoned all the Vanderbilt children under eight years of age to congregate before St. Bartholomew’s altar. Before you could say dynasty, scores of Vanderbilt young were streaming up the center aisle. Alfred then called upon the middle and older generations of the family to rise and identify themselves, which they did in considerable numbers. Point taken.
The service concluded with the old Commodore’s favorite hymn, “Nearer My God To Thee,” after which over 150 repaired to the reception, including such non-Vanderbilts as John Davis, who is writing a biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, a great-great grandson of the Commodore, and Dominick Dunne, who is writing a feature on the Vanderbilts for Vanity Fair. The vrai Vanderbilts present were Wendy Vanderbilt and her two Lehman daughters, Paul Szpary, Virginia Smith Burke, former Congressman John LeBoutillier, Nancy Whitney, Harry Cushing IV and Harry Cushing V (with two year-old Cathleen Vanderbilt Cushing), Gerta Conner, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt (Marylou) Whitney, Whitney Tower Sr. and Whitney Tower Jr., Harry Payne Tower and Alfred III’s wife, Allison. Gloria Vanderbilt, the most famous of current Vanderbilts, was conspicuous by her absence — one hears tribal rites of this nature are not exactly Gloria’s cup of tea — but her son, Stanley, by her marriage to the famous conductor, Leopold Stokowski, represented her branch of the family.
Maine Chance, the famous Scottsdale, Ariz., spa founded by Elizabeth Arden, where the elite could meet not to eat, closed this weekend just like that, with scarcely a word of warning — even to clients in residence who were caught in mid-bench press, so to speak. The word was heard on Wednesday that Saturday was sayonara day for the temple of beauty, frequented by such as Happy Rockefeller, the Fords, the Mars candy bars family, the Murchisons and the Hunts from Texas, Barbara Bush, Doris Magowan of the Safeway Magowans and, let’s not forget, Mamie Eisenhower and Edna Ferber, who exercised and wrote bits of her novels there.
Until recently, this bastion of privacy and esprit de corps (ha!) was owned by Faberge, then Unilever, and lastly by the behemoth ITT, who decided to drop the bomb. So sic transit gloria mundi — all over again.
Before irate Egyptologists rise up and smite me with scarabs, let me hasten to write that the sepia photograph on display at Khalil Rizk’s Levantine party at Mortimer’s of various royals and imperials at play at Abdine Palace in Cairo was not the wedding banquet of King Farouk of Egypt. Rather, it was the celebration of the nuptials of the young Shah of Iran and his first marriage to Princess Fawzia, Farouk’s sister. Oh, and Farouk’s mom was misidentified. She was Queen Nazli, not Queen Farida, may they both R.I.P.
There’s always one big night in the season that everyone hops on as the perfect night for a party. Now it’s June 8, when the Colbert Foundation gives its elegant dinner at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, with cocktails in the Great Hall and dinner under a tent in the Museum’s beautiful garden; when the Museum of Modern Art gives it annual party in the Sculpture Garden and when Gayfryd Steinberg and Carolyne Roehm co-chair an AmFAR benefit called “Takin’ It to the Streets: An Evening of Rhythm and Blues.” Gayfryd and Carolyne promise an upbeat, relaxed evening, fabulous American food and a roomful of people who really care and make a difference. This all takes place at the Manhattan Center and the dress is summer block party, so pull out the sheers.