What seemed like at least half of le tout New York were perched on Valentino’s front row for his big show. Versace may have had Chelsea Clinton and Madonna to crow over, but Val also boasted big-time shimmerers like Gwyneth Paltrow in a black Valentino with lace sides and a matching coat trimmed in fur; Sheryl Crow, looking somewhat demure in a black satin Valentino suit trimmed in mink; Cornelia Guest in black and gold brocade bordered in sable, and such etoiles and would-be etoiles as Bianca Jagger, Carolina Herrera, Marina Palma, Nan Kempner, Patty Cisneros and her darling daughter Carolina, Eugenie and Nicholas Clive-Worms, Alexandra Theodoracopulos, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Joan Collins, Georgina Brandolini, Marjorie Gubelmann, Jacques Grange, that sort of thing. The scintillating list went on and on, and so did Valentino’s smile.
After the show, a select group swept over to Val’s chateau, Wideville, the one with the moat meant to keep out all but the terminally chic, there to dine on souffle, pasta and lamb at three oval tables in the dining room, crowded but cozy. Most of the women were done up in Valentinos, but Carolina Herrera, looking beautiful, wore one of her own designs.
The next night, a smaller selection of swells gathered at a buffet dinner at Valentino partner Giancarlo Giammetti’s stunning apartment on the Quai d’Orsay, surrounded by Twomblys, Warhols and the twinkling lights of the Seine. Designed by Peter Marino, some say it is the most elegant flat in Paris. Valentino was there, but of course, along with Nati Abascal, Carolina Herrera in chocolate brown cashmere, Carolina Herrera Jr., Cornelia Guest, Marina Palma, Charlene de Ganay, Marina Livanos and, from Valentino’s fashion establishment, Carlos Souza and pretty, pretty Ellen Niven. Everyone just loves being invited to Giancarlo’s, and for many reasons, including the food, which is incroyable, thanks to his superb chef.
After all that, the guests hopped into their fancy voitures and off to the Ritz for the Dior party. That’s where Valentino ran into one of his favorite models, Claudia Schiffer, who was on the arm of Gilles Dufour. Bernard Arnault quietly held court in a corner table near the bar, where it was easy to genuflect. And the more adventurous tripped downstairs for a quick look at the packed dance floor, where 1,200 of the brave gyrated. It was all terribly exciting, really. Or so they all said over lunch the next day — and every day — at the Ritz Bar, where they sat at the best tables, best tables being only their due, vous savez.
In another part of the forest, Tiffany’s second floor — the splendid new location for its shimmering pearls and sparkling diamonds — is the glamorous setting for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s cocktail party on Wednesday. The evening is a prelude to the Society’s big spring gala on May 30 — they’re calling it “Penguins and Pearls” — to be held for the first time at the Central Park Zoo under canvas and surrounding the penguin habitat. (The penguins may not give a fig if it’s under canvas, but the guests certainly do — one drop of rain, and there goes the hair).
You do remember that the Wildlife Conservation Society was founded in 1895 and manages all four of New York’s zoos and its aquarium. Its heroic mission is to save wildlife and wild lands throughout the world. May it grow and flourish.
The honorary chairs of the gala are Brooke Astor and Carroll Petrie, and the chairs are Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera. Tiffany president Mike Kowalski and WCS president Steven Sanderson will welcome the gala’s honorees, Louise and Edgar Cullman of New York’s social and philanthropic swim.
Sotheby’s Jamie Niven, a darling bit of wildlife himself, will lead the bidding that night for the auction items, which include a white keshi pearl pendant from Tiffany, a sleek black evening dress designed by Carolina Herrera, a trip to Belize with a WCS marine scientist and, listen to this, the right to name one of the zoo’s baby penguins! Is that a must-have or what!
The vice chairmen of the gala include Allison Stern, Norma Dana, Patricia Hearst Shaw, Jamee Gregory, Muffie Potter Aston, Pamela Gross, Carol Mack, Debbie Bancroft, etc. It is hoped they will arrive with husbands and, yes, checkbooks. As for the associate and junior chairs, they are Ashley Schiff, Jennifer Creel, Tory Burch, Lydia Hearst-Shaw and her sister Gillian Hearst-Shaw (they are Patricia Hearst Shaw’s daughters and unlike mummy, their names are hyphenated, OK?), Amanda Hearst, Marisa Bregman and Elizabeth Kieselstein-Cord.
Expected for the fun are Jackie and Nicky Drexel, Lisa and David Schiff, Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman, Grace and Chris Meigher and hundreds of others just like them. The ladies are asked to wear pearls and the gentlemen black tie. The gentlemen penguins won’t even have to change their clothes. Oh, hahahahaha.