Three rousing cheers! David de Rothschild, the 25-year-old son of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and his former wife, Victoria, has broken the world record for the 1,149.5-mile coast-to-coast traverse of the Antarctic continent, crossing the perilous Axel Heiberg Glacier. The last time the record was set was in 1911 by the famous explorer Roald Amundsen, who took 99 days. David and his three British teammates completed the arduous trek in 52 days on skis to win the Trans-Antarctica Challenge. They pulled 220 pounds of supplies across the tundra of the Trans-Antarctic Mountains and the South Pole in 30-degrees-below-zero weather to reach the finish line on the Ronne Ice Shelf on Antarctica’s western perimeter. Only 10 other people have made this trudge, but all from the opposite direction. David and his friends will be listed next year in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for their feat. He adds this accomplishment to his list of other extreme conquests, including the treacherous triathlon, Escape From Alcatraz. He hopes his journey will raise awareness of global warming in the polar zones and emphasize the need to protect their ecology for the future. He returned to London this week for any number of celebrations, and of course his parents are very, very proud of their boy.
Now that the Golden Globes are over, the focus in Hollywood is, of course, on the Oscars, to be held at the Kodak Theater on Feb. 27 with Chris Rock as host. The nominees will be announced Tuesday by Adrien Brody. Charlize Theron, last year’s best actress winner, will hand out this year’s best actor award, and she’s already looking at sketches and samples from all the world’s top designers as well as ideas from several of the lesser-knowns. With her sun-kissed beauty and golden gown, she was the hit of last year’s awards show.
Minnie Driver is telling the world she would like to sing a song from her new film, “The Phantom of the Opera,” if one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s melodies gets an Oscar nod, which may be a long shot, considering she lip-synchs her way through her role as an opera diva in “Phantom.” But the two things she loves the most are singing and movies, and she says, “The thought of singing at the Academy Awards fills me with such glee — it would be both bizarre and amazing.” I’ll say.
Minnie also says she’s been receiving Oscar dresses from stylists for the last three months, and so has Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwynnie says she can’t even look at the Oscar she won in 1999 for “Shakespeare in Love” because she is still embarrassed when she remembers how she cried and sobbed through her acceptance speech. “I keep it tucked away at the back of the bookshelf in my bedroom because it weirds me out. I won’t even put it on the mantelpiece. I just feel sort of embarrassed, and it brings up traumatic feelings. It’s associated with a tough time in my life.” I feel like crying myself when I remember that pink Ralph Lauren she wore when she won.
First Lady Laura Bush asked Lana Marks to design the two one-of-a-kind couture bags for her to use at the inauguration festivities. She carried a powder gray leather clutch to go with her winter white Oscar de la Renta dress and coat, and for a series of candlelight dinners across the capital, she carried Lana’s pastel pink baby inaugural tote, lined in the identical beaded fabric of her Peggy Jennings pink gown. This bag is carried open to show the beadwork and to make it easy to retrieve a lipstick. I knew you’d want to know. As for Lauren Bush, the long satin cream-colored dress with straps that she wore to perfection was designed by Ralph Lauren.
Buffy Cafritz, the redheaded dynamo and Washington hostess par excellence, may just have invented the trick of how to win (and keep) friends and influence people in our nation’s wildly partisan capital. Everyone knows she and her husband, Bill, are true, blue Republicans but Democrats love them, too, and when Buffy gives a party, you will always find donkeys happily cavorting with elephants. In Washington, that’s a big deal. It’s bipartisan big-time, and all the big shots show up for the fun.
Buffy and Bill (sometimes along with co-host friends) have been giving their presidential inaugural eve party beginning with President Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981. Over the years, the venues have changed, but the guest list remains powerful — cabinet members, senators and congressmen, ambassadors, the lot.
This year, Buffy and Bill, along with Phyllis George, Kelly and Robert Day and Ann and Vernon Jordan, entertained the celebrating multitudes at a supper at Café Mozu in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The windows of Café Mozu look out over the Jefferson Memorial and the Potomac Basin, so even if you went heavy on the champagne, you always knew where you were.
Tip-toeing through the butternut squash soup, the crab cakes, the chicken hash and the chocolate mousse were such dignitaries as Secretary of State and Mrs. Colin Powell; Senator and Mrs. George Allen; Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; the philanthropist Eli Broad and Mrs. Broad; Senator and Mrs. J. Bennett Johnston; the British Ambassador and Lady David Manning; the Hon. and Mrs. Robert Mosbacher; the Kuwaiti Ambassador and Mrs. Salem Abdullah; Senator and Mrs. Christopher Bond; the Jordanian Ambassador and Mrs. Karim Kawar; Paige Rense and Kenneth Noland; Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Schwarzman (he is the chairman of the Kennedy Center); the Hon. Nancy Brinker; Jan Chipman (she is Buffy’s sister); Congressman and Mrs. Roy Blunt; Mr. and Mrs. Roland Betts, and the Hon. and Mrs. Wayne Burman (she is the new White House social secretary.) It is not necessary to say a good time was had by all.