New York, pour le moment, is comme dit-on, nothing to write home about. But in Paris, ah, tout le monde has been celebrating quelque chose like crazy tous les nuits and some of les jours. Just la mode itself has been a nonstop festival of fashion, but la societé is and was partying relentlessly. Everyone who was anyone in town was showing off their latest couture choices at the Marquise Zozo de Ravenel‘s 80th birthday party. Zozo’s adorable son, Jean-Charles, and equally adorable daughter-in-law, Jackie, stars of international society, gave a glorious party for 100 of Zozo’s copains in their luxurious Paris apartment, certainly one of the most beautiful in the city. It’s on the Rue de Lille, vous savez, just next to the Musée d’Orsay, in a magnificent French house owned by Count Jean-Louis de Maigret, who was invited to the party, bien sûr — and why not?
You all remember Zozo. She was married to the late Marquis Wladimir de Ravenel and is a great friend of Nancy Reagan‘s, whom she met years ago through Betsy Bloomingdale. Zozo was often a guest at the White House during the Reagan years. It goes without saying she comes from the finest of French families. Her father, Prince Jean Louis de Faucigny-Lucinge — Johnny to his admirers in international society — was a wonderful man: gallant, distinguished and filled with joie de vivre (I was with him on a cruise to Russia when he was already an old man, and when the ship docked, he would climb whatever mountains were around like a crazed mountain goat, putting the younger men aboard to shame). The late Queen Mother of England adored him. He was a Grand Seigneur.
At the birthday party, at least 50 of the 100 guests were gossiping about, number one, the famous interior decorator Alberto Pinto selling his house in Tangiers for millions of dollars to the Emir of Qatar, who has billions of dollars. And, number two, about the wedding of the year in Brazil when Athina Onassis Roussel, Ari Onassis’ granddaughter and Christina Onassis’ daughter, one of the richest girls in the world, will marry terminally dashing Brazilian horseman Alvaro Alfonso de Miranda Neto (called Doda for short) in São Paulo on Dec. 3, just six weeks before she turns 21. Supposedly, 750 guests have been invited to the big glittering reception, which follows a small Catholic church service. Rumor has it Jennifer Lopez has been asked to perform at the reception for an incredible fee, but you know how people exaggerate.
Back to Zozo. Some of the guests at the party that you should know about were her daughter, Arielle de Ravenel; Prince and Princess Poniatowski; Bettina Graziani (she of the good ol’, bad ol’ days when she and the late Aly Khan cuddled and cooed and whatnot); Charlotte Aillaud (she is the late Juliet Greco’s sister and the closest friend of the late Parisian social leader Baron Alexis de Rede); Baron Guy de Rothschild; Jimmy Douglas (Barbara Hutton’s onetime darling), who took pictures of everyone with his tiny new camera; Liz Fondaras of New York, who keeps a beautiful little apartment in Paris; Jim Mitchell of New York and Palm Beach; Florence van der Kemp, the American heiress who for years was the doyenne of Versailles; Doris Brynner, who is at every lighted candle; Princess Laure de Beauvau-Craon, directrice of Sotheby’s France; Pierre Celeyron, who plans the most magnificent parties in Europe, and on and on and on.
Just now the City of Lights is filled with light. The Eiffel Tower is illuminated for 10 minutes each hour after 10 at night, sparkling with thousands of lights. Everyone flew to the streets on La Nuit Blanche (the White Night), when Parisians are supposed to shop and stay up all night. And, of course, there was the big tribute to Yves Saint Laurent, the “Smoking Forever” exhibition, an homage to his famous le smoking jacket that is being held at the Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent on the Avenue Marceau, which lasts until April 26. At this party, La Belle Catherine Deneuve was seated between Saint Laurent and Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.
Loulou de la Falaise, who had just shown her latest fashion collection, arrived in a YSL tuxedo made by the house in 2002 before Yves Saint Laurent retired. François Catroux was there with his wife, Betty, who wore Yves’ 1966 le smoking. She said she did not remember her first, but that her secret was always “not to wear anything underneath it.” Ooh, la-la.
Aimee de Heeren, the legendary Brazilian beauty who has houses in New York, Palm Beach, Biarritz and a magnificent apartment on the Rue de Varenne in Paris, is planning to spend Christmas in Spain with her daughter, Cristina … Jimmy Douglas and Roddy Coop gave a dinner for Mary McFadden at their apartment on the Rue du Bac; Charles Sevigny, that icon of French interior design, gave one of his famous lunches at his apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and Jim Mitchell hosted a dinner at Chez Allard for Carmen Saint, the aforementioned Charles Sevigny and the aforementioned Jimmy Douglas and the aforementioned Roddy Coop. If it sounds like everybody is tripping over everybody, that’s because this is Paris.
Dearly beloved, after 14 fun-filled, action-packed, absolutely thrilling years of writing the Suzy column for Women’s Wear Daily, today’s column will be my last one. But don’t go away yet.
From now on, I will be writing all sorts of feature articles on society, fashion, Hollywood and other subjects for WWD’s sister publication, W magazine — and happy to be.
In the future, my title appearing on W’s masthead will be Contributing Society Editor Aileen Mehle (Suzy). So now, if you really love me, will all of you out there please do your very best to be as wildly social as you possibly can, so Suzy can have even more fun? It won’t kill you. After all we’ve meant to each other through the years, it’s the least you can do.
Love and kisses,
(Click here to read about Suzy’s new move.)