I just love Sir Elton John, don’t you? He’s so funny and witty and such a good host. He also sings a little and plays an instrument.
He and his adorable companion, David Furnish, are at all the best social and showbiz parties in London and give even better ones themselves, entertaining the swells and whatnot at their beautiful house “Woodside,” in Windsor, just outside London. A curving driveway leads to “Woodside,” passing on the way a jewel-like folie (Elton likes to call it an orangerie). The house itself is quite perfect, and when they entertain, every window in the house is ablaze. All terribly cheerio.
Their latest dinner was for American heiress Cornelia Guest, who really lives in a baronial manse on Long Island, but is lately spending so much time in London, one wonders if she’s turning into a bit of a Brit. Her horses are stabled in the English countryside, and she rides like the wind in this hunt and that. She’s been staying at the London apartment of Prince and Princess Pierre d’Arenberg while they’re off at one of their other places. Cornelia is so happy to be there, having been used most of her life to living like a little princess anyhow. La! (Oh, there was a bumpy spell there at Miss Porter’s academy for young ladies, and maybe a few too many years with a too-horsey boyfriend, but let’s not go into that now).
For Cornelia’s dinner, Elton and David cornered every tulip from London to Rotterdam and back. The chaps wanted to bring an early spring into the house, the hell with what was outside. Elton was resplendent in Versace, and David was dapper in Dior Homme. Miss Cornelia was a vision in a black beaded pantsuit hung with mink. There was caviar to dive in — they did. And champagne to swim in — they did. They dined on lobster and artichoke, baby lamb on a potato galette and vanilla and chocolate mousse. Elton said how thrilled he was to have Cornelia in London and that he himself was so glad to be back among his friends after his tour in the U.S. with Billy Joel. Apparently, that takes a lot out of a fellow.
All the lumies — short for luminaries — were there: Sting and Trudie Styler; Guy Ritchie, who spoke about directing his wife, Madonna, in her new movie, oy; Tim Jeffries, the British man-about-town who goes out with naught but beautiful women; the famous milliner Philip Treacy (you mean you’re going to put THAT on your head?) escorted by “Mr. Pig,” his Jack Russell terrier; Elizabeth Hurley; Patrick Cox; lovely Lily Safra, who lives in one of the most staggeringly beautiful houses in London; Lord Dundas of Asprey’s and the beautiful Lady Dundas, rocking the room in a white Armani dinner suit (she is Ruth Kennedy, David Linley’s right-hand woman); Nigella Lawson, the seductive cooking expert who could make even a jellied eel look sexy; the noted jeweler Theo Fennell, his wife, Louise, and on and on into the night.
When the other guests had gone, Cornelia gave Elton and David silver ice cream bowls and silver scoops suitably engraved in her very own handwriting, as thank-you gifts. Dear Cornelia. Her jeweler pal, Theo Fennell, had made them especially for the boys, who are famously into ice cream. Who else would tell you these things?
The next time Elton and David open the gates of “Woodside” will be for the “White Tie and Tiara Ball” to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation — Cornelia’s on the committee. At least half the world must be counting the moments until July 27, the auspicious date for this momentous occasion.
Joan Collins and Percy Gibson are back in London from their honeymoon in Malaysia to promote Joan’s new novel, “Star Quality.” The author is becoming as famous for her one-liners as her sex appeal. When she was asked about the 36-year age difference between her and Percy, she said, “If he dies, he dies.” When some friends asked if she wanted a shower for the baby they’d heard the newlyweds planned to adopt, she snapped, “The last thing I want is a child. I don’t even want a dog.” (She already has three adult children.) Anyhow, Joan will soon be in New York with the new husband and the new book. They plan to live here while she writes still another novel and an autobiography telling us all how she maintains her ageless beauty. Didn’t she already do that already?
You’ve probably heard that that beautiful couple Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie Chantal of Greece and their three little children are moving to London in June. They want to be closer to Pavlos’ parents, former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, and to their close friend the Prince of Wales, who is the godfather of their three-year-old son, Constantine. They all hope to return to Greece as soon as it’s politically possible and feel that London, where the grandparents live in Hampstead Garden Suburb, is a better place for the children to learn Greek and Greek traditions. Their Manhattan townhouse in on the market, and they are looking for a substantial house in London’s Knightsbridge. New York society will miss them as much as English society will welcome them.
A happy throng will shriek at Shrek and Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy at The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s annual “Bunny Hop” at FAO Schwarz on Tuesday. Katie Couric, Sigourney Weaver, Christie Brinkley, Ann Curry and Grace Hightower (Mrs. Robert DeNiro) and their cute broods have all been invited. DeJuan Stroud has built a welcoming arch of spring flowers for the adults and kiddies to crowd in under, and the gift bags will be stuffed with good things from Mattel, Frette, Frederic Fekkai and Eleni’s New York Cookies. Stephanie Griswold and Alexis Waller, the co-chairs of this family affair, also hosted the kickoff party at Scalamandre. Their greatest hope is to top the $240,000 they raised at last year’s “Bunny Hop.” So hop to it. It’s a wonderful cause devoted to children undergoing cancer treatment.