Today Mercedes and Sid Bass, Lord Rothschild (that’s Jacob), Beverly Sills and Joan and Sanford Weill are inviting friends and fans and music lovers to a cocktail party at the Georgian Suite on East 77th Street to honor Renee Fleming on the publication of her fascinating book, “The Inner Voice: the Making of a Singer.” Renee thrilled the audience at the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Handel’s “Rodelinda.” Among those leaping to their feet to applaud her and the stunning production were Mercedes and Sid Bass (she wore an embroidered Chinese, sable-collared silver jacket over a long cranberry skirt); Jayne Wrightsman, in a pewter-colored wrap over a long black dress; Nancy and Henry Kissinger; Sills in a black cape over black pants, and Hannah Pakula in a taupe smoking jacket. Also covering themselves in glory were counter-tenor David Daniels as Renee’s husband King Bertarido; Stephanie Blythe as the king’s sister, and Kobie van Rensburg as the villain. If you want to know what they were wearing, go see the opera.

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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Fashion notes from all over: Fergie the Duchess of York has discovered Jackie Rogers, or is it the other way around? Whatever the case, the Fergster is wearing Jackie’s clothes and has gone so far as to buy one of her popular blouses in blue gazar. Scarcely exclusive, because maybe half the people you know are wearing one, including of course, Jackie, who is currently on the cover of the Palm Beach Shiny Sheet in one. Incredibly, it seems no one has left home without one. Jackie’s new Palm Beach store opens tomorrow.

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Stop the fashion presses! Alice Mason, New York super-stylish hostess and top-drawer real estate broker — she sells big, rich houses to big, rich people — gave one of her famous dinner parties NOT, repeat NOT wearing one of her extensive collection of Galanos gowns. Has this ever happened before? Not within living memory.

Alice traded in Galanos for the night for a pair of black Armani fancy pants and a black embroidered chiffon top by Oscar de la Renta. Nobody went so far as to drop a fork, but there was a lot of buzz. Alice, after all, practically wears Galanos nightgowns.

Mary Tyler-Moore and her husband, Dr. Robert Levine; Vera Wang and Arthur Becker; Evelyn and Leonard Lauder; Mary and Mike Wallace; Nan and Gay Talese, and Paula Zahn were all dining in various stages of excitement, as were Patricia Altschul; Mario Buatta; Olivia and Warren Hoge; Helen Gurley Brown and David Brown; Mona Ackerman and her beau, columnist Richard Cohen; Roz Jacobs; Connie and Randy Jones; Gaetana Enders; Alexis Gregory; Jennet Conant and Steve Kroft; Boaz Mazor; Sondra Mack; Laura and Will Zeckendorf; Michele and Larry Herbert, and, of course, Alice’s darling daughter, Dominique, in a black Vera Wang that Vera Wang duly noted. (Has anyone told Jimmy Galanos about this astounding turn of events?)

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News from London: Prince Harry has found himself a new baby and this one seems to be sticking. Her name is Chelsea Davy and she is a pretty 19-year-old blonde who attends the University of Cape Town in South Africa. They met while she was going to the Cheltenham Ladies College near Harry’s daddy’s country house, Highgrove. Things got a little hotter when they met again in South Africa, where Chelsea lives, and again in November, when they took a trip to a polo ranch in Argentina. They were photographed together embracing a few days ago at her family’s retreat in Durban and are planning to meet again soon in a timber-framed beach hut on a tiny island off Mozambique. Then it’s back to England for New Year’s. Of course all these plans depend on what happens in the hut.

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Minnie Driver says she modeled her portrayal of the Latin prima donna Carlotta in “Phantom of the Opera” on Maria Callas. “It was fabulous being a diva. I kept shouting and stamping my feet,” she said. (Callas did a lot more than shout and stamp her feet, honey.) There were a few unamused bystanders at the London premiere of “Phantom” that think Min should get out of character now that the film is finished. On Monday, Minnie said she wanted to be photographed alone when asked to pose with her co-stars and did an abrupt pirouette in the opposite direction when asked to stand next to the film’s ingenue, Emmy Rossum. Naughty, naughty.

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The romance between Halle Berry and her blue-eyed “Barbershop” star boyfriend, Michael Ealy, is getting a little serious. They’re planning to spend a lot of time together in the $8 million beach house Halle is building in Malibu. Some say they are already calling it their “love nest.” Some will say anything.

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Rachel Hunter, who is a great-looking 35, was once and perhaps still is, at least on paper, wearing a huge sapphire ring from her boyfriend, Sean Avery, 24, who signed a new two-year contract with the L.A. Kings hockey team this year. Whether it’s an engagement ring or a friendship ring depends on whether her divorce from Rod Stewart is finally final. Rachel can be seen reprising the Tina Louise part as Ginger in “The Real Gilligan’s Island” on Ted Turner’s broadcasting system this month. I can wait if you can.

Speaking of Rod, who turns 60 in January, he says he will not have a big birthday extravaganza like the one he had when he turned 50 because it didn’t turn out as he hoped. “I was so disappointed — I did not enjoy it at all.” No explanation why. Instead he is going off “to the Caribbean with my children on a modest yacht.” Isn’t that an oxymoron or it that just Rod being Scottish?

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Orlando Bloom is taking his first steps to convert to Buddhism. He recently took part in a ceremony at a Buddhist center in England, where he received his gohomzon, a scroll that is usually kept in a wooden shrine at home surrounded by candles. Following Buddhist practice, Orlando will chant a Japanese mantra to the scroll twice a day. Will somebody please tell Madonna?

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Lee Annenberg, the widow of the great philanthropist Walter Annenberg and an amazing woman in her own right (ambassador, philanthropist, collector and lover of the arts), and her daughter, Elizabeth Kabler, gave a cocktail party at Daniel for their New York friends and admirers, and they all came — Nancy and Henry Kissinger; Anne Eisenhower and Wolfgang Flottl; Diana Negroponte, the chic and charming wife of John Negroponte, our former man at the UN who is now our ambassador to Iraq; Wendy Lures; Ezra Zilkha; Mica and Ahmet Ertegun; Barbara Walters, and others too notable to mention. Lee, who is forever stylish, wore a black silk dress and jacket embroidered in black sequins and Elizabeth wore black couture as well, but nobody does it better.
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