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Just breathlessly back from all the fabulous — well, sort of fabulous — festivities in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Never saw so many movie stars I’d seen so many times before. Couldn’t even count the tycoons and dealmakers at Diane von Furstenberg’s and Barry Diller’s big lunch party on the lawns of their estate, which sort of roll on forever. Glam Diane was in something diaphanous she had probably stitched up herself. Barry casually wore his shirttail out.

Everyone ate roast duck breast and chicken pie while sitting on redwood benches pulled up to long redwood tables adorned with red and yellow tulips. You would have loved it.

Never cast eyes on so much strange footgear. Ugg boots, etc. Ugh! Some people looked like they were wearing squirrels on their feet.

Steve Martin wandered about, greeting this one and that one. Perfectly dressed Carolina Herrera, Betsy Bloomingdale, Connie Wald, Denise Hale and Lynn Wyatt, who really have nothing whatsoever to do with the cinema, stood out like stars. Social stars to be sure, not the other kind.

Denise Hale wore her daytime jewels, never to be confused with her nighttime jewels, please (the diamond yoke she wore to the Vanity Fair party rivaled the one Beyoncé wore when she sang — a lot — at the Oscars). “My jewels are mine, not borrowed,” remarked Denise, lifting at least one of her unique eyebrows.

Rupert Murdoch, the publishing giant, and his wife, Wendy, brought his beautiful baby daughter to the luncheon. Warren Beatty came alone, wearing shades. Annette Bening, it seems, was rehearsing for her Oscar appearance. The whole thing was absolutely tons of fun. Of course it happened the day before the Oscars, when things were sunnier than afterwards.

The Vanity Fair party at Morton’s was touted night and day on every TV station in L.A. as “the place to be,” and, of course, it was, as it is every year. This is the story: everyone loved the party, hated the awards show. Stultifyingly boring was the general reaction. For whatever reason, maybe because he was vocally hobbled or maybe because he was out of his element, Chris Rock — and the opinion was general here — never caught fire. “They’ve got to stop trotting out those brigades of technical types on stage to grab their prizes. Even people in the industry don’t know who they are or care what they really do so how can an audience of millions give a damn?” This opinion was made by one of the most important men in the business world.

This story first appeared in the March 4, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

S.I. Newhouse Jr.; Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter; his lovely fianceé, Anna Scott, dressed by Armani, and Fran Leibowitz were all in the receiving line outside Morton’s when the starry fashion parade began. Elle Macpherson who gets taller and willowier by the minute, slithered in a beaded Dolce & Gabbana; Gwen Stefani wore Versace; Heidi Klum decided that Kevin John was the designer for her, and Elizabeth Saltzman, Vanity Fair’s fashion director, was a fashion dream in a long white strapless Calvin Klein. Lynn Wyatt wore vintage Valentino, a white velvet skirt and pearls; Ellen Barkin wore vintage Jean Patou; Denise Hale was in Gianfranco Ferré, Betsy Bloomingdale wore the same gray satin Dior she wore to the Vanity Fair party 12 years ago. Wald, just elevated to the best-dressed list, put herself together in a Gap T-shirt, a Balenciaga black skirt and one of the many beautiful scarves Audrey Hepburn, one of her dearest friends, gave her through the years.

Anjelica Huston, with a diamond ring the size of a dish glittering on a finger, let out a whoop and a holler when “Million Dollar Baby” won the Oscar for Best Picture because it was Anjelica who brought the book from which the picture was filmed to producer Al Ruddy’s attention.

It was no surprise that Tom Ford was the beau of the ball in a Tom Ford custom suit. Peter Morton was in Prada, Anderson Cooper wore Ralph Lauren, and so did Gavin Rossdale, Stefani’s husband. Other stand-outs in the throng were Sherry Lansing, Anne Douglas and Angie Dickinson.

Betsy and Andrew Lack of the Sony Lacks; Carolina Herrera in ruby red and rubies; Reinaldo Herrera; Countess Marina Cicogna of the fine old Italian family; superagent Sandy Gallin, and Anjelica Huston and Robert Graham all brightened the same table. Not to be missed were Diane von Furstenberg in white chiffon embroidered with a jet sequined tiger which ran the full length of her dress, Faye Dunaway, Wendy Stark, Bridget Moynahan, Karolina Kurkova, Meg Ryan, Vanessa Getty and Mischa Barton.

They all milled and mixed in a big parking lot (by day), which Vanity Fair turns into a fantastic party place for that one big Oscar night. There were so many beautiful young female things flitting about it made you wonder where all the beautiful young male things had gone.

***

Sir Elton John quietly gave Elizabeth Taylor a diamond wristwatch with a pink crocodile strap from the collection he designs for the Swiss jeweler Chopard. It was her 73rd birthday present and when he slipped the bauble on her wrist she squealed with such delight you would think she had never seen a diamond before. This all happened at Elton’s Oscar party at the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood the same night as the Vanity Fair fete. In Hollywood, they’d like to think the action never stops. More of this anon.

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Cate Blanchett is still laughing about how her Oscar mysteriously disappeared at the Vanity Fair party when she was talking to Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. The same little statue just as mysteriously reappeared at 2 a.m. after having gone missing for over an hour. Cate said Katherine Hepburn’s goddaughter gave her a camisole that once belonged to the legendary actress, which Cate wore when she made “The Aviator.” So maybe Hepburn’s ghost snatched the Oscar feeling it really belonged to her. Because it would go so nicely with her four others.

<p>Karolina Kurkova</p>

Photo By: WWD Staff

<p>Anjelica Huston and Faye Dunaway</p>

Photo By: WWD Staff

<p>Bridget Moynahan and Tom Brady</p>

Photo By: Tyler Boye

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