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They’re coming from all over the world to Texas for former President George Bush’s 80th birthday celebration party on June 12. Bob Mosbacher, Bush’s ex-secretary of commerce, and his wife, Mica, are among the co-chairmen of the weekend festivities and they and others have helped raise more than $30 million. The president’s parachute jump (yes, he’s doing it again) and barbecue luncheon are set for June 13 at the George Bush Presidential Library Center at College Station, Tex. He’ll be jumping alongside the United States Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team. After all that, you can tour the library and eat, or vice versa. A lot of pretty Republican ladies will be there, such as Frederika von Stade, Chris Evert, Crystal Gayle and Bo Derek. And, oh yes, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Dennis Miller and Roger Clemens, who obviously are not as pretty, but their votes count, too.

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This story first appeared in the June 2, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Britney Spears is planning to take her act to China next year and some say not a moment too soon. Her five concerts will kick off in Shanghai and Beijing, and she is quietly negotiating with the government to make a few adjustments in her dance routines and in her costumes. I’ll bet. She’ll add a piece of material here and there so she can potentially conquer the hearts and pocketbooks of a billion new fans. This is part of the deal she is working on with the Chinese Ministry of Culture to allow them to review her show, as it is worried she will reveal too much, which she consistently does everywhere else she goes.

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It was chilly for almost June, so some of the ladies at the World Wildlife Foundation’s Spring Gala at the Central Park Zoo went for cashmere scarves and fur-trimmed woolen sweaters over their spring dainties. Not so Alison Stern, the honorary chairman of the evening, who ignored the temperature and looked stunning in a red-and-gold embroidered Oscar de la Renta. The evening raised $1.2 million to help save wildlife the world o’er. In the crowd were Mayor Bloomberg; Mary and Howard Phipps Jr.; Karenna Gore Schiff; Ines Rivero; Serena Boardman; Jamee and Peter Gregory; Lisa, Ashley and David Schiff, and Leonard Stern, the billionaire husband of the delicious chairwoman.

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Two big, beautiful, bespoke ballgowns from designer Arnold Scaasi have been ordered to wear to two big, beautiful, upcoming benefits. Betty Scripps will wear a confection of rose-colored silk organza ruffles when she chairs the Washington Opera Ball, and Catharine Hamilton, the pride of Chicago, has ordered a cloth of silver Scaasi creation printed with tiny roses and ribbons to wear at the Grand Bal du Bosquet at Versailles later in the month. These are dresses to dance the night away in and that’s what Betty Scripps and Catharine Hamilton are swearing to do.

Speaking of that, Sir Elton John’s enormous white-tie and tiara ball is set for June 24 at his country house, Woodside, at Crimp Hill, Old Windsor, Berkshire. The house and grounds go on for miles and this huge bacchanal brings out what seems like every celebrity on the globe. This year’s theme is Haute Japan, so don’t forget your obis.

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Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer will wear a Calvin Klein sheath to the CFDA awards on Monday, and she’s picked a spectacular pair of spiral-diamond chandelier earrings from Gilan that practically graze her shoulders just for that little additional sparkle every girl needs. The next day, Aerin will be front and center at a show of the jeweler’s fall line that will feature extrawide diamond cuffs, chokers and coral and diamond baubles. Mica Ertegun, Gigi Mortimer,, Gayfryd Steinberg, Hilary Geary and Charlotte Moss all have said they’re coming.

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Sotheby’s is celebrating in September with a Gala Week in honor of Russia’s great museum, The Hermitage. The director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, is flying to New York with a huge shipping case overflowing with treasures from his museum to exhibit at Sotheby’s galleries. These include pieces of the Scythian Gold hoard given by Peter the Great to the Hermitage; Frederick the Great’s elegant enameled snuff box encrusted with big pink diamonds, and a bouquet of jeweled flowers that the lusty Catherine the Great liked to keep at her bedside whether her many boyfriends — most of them known to spend the night — liked it or not.

Also on the plane will be a group of Hermitage curators poised to give lectures throughout the week; the renowned string quartet of the Hermitage orchestra, who has taken an extra seat for its priceless cello; Russia’s fine young pianist, Alexander Pirozhenko, and one of those wild Russian gypsy bands, which will also play during a gala dinner in honor of the Hermitage on Sept. 21. This is when Robert Massie, the author of “Nicholas and Alexandra,” will give a lecture on Catherine the Great, the subject of his next book. The co-chairs of the evening include Lily Safra, Patricia Patterson and Princess Firyal of Jordan, who will be among those enjoying a concert given by the gorgeous Brahms Piano Quintet before going on to a dinner of blinis and caviar followed by Czar Nicholas’ favorite dish, Chicken Kiev. His Highness Nicholas Romanoff, Prince of Russia, the present head of the Imperial Family, will serve as another co-chairman of the evening, a co-venture with the American Friends of the Hermitage whose members are descendants of Imperial Russia’s grandest family. They already have started unearthing their jewel boxes to choose which tiara to wear. And that’s only the ladies. Unearthing is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

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Those who have seen Princess Stephanie of Monaco frolicking at her villa on Mauritius, the exotic island paradise on the Indian Ocean, in a skimpy bikini at the beach say that the usually sleek and fit princess is looking like she might be three or four months pregnant. Her husband, you will remember, is Adans Peres, who is doing his circus thing back home in Monaco while Stephanie does her prancing thing with her husband’s brother-in-law, Ivan Peres, and her three children by her ex-husband, Daniel Ducruet, all watching Mommy.

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