The culterati and what might be called “real society “—not to be confused with the surreal gang you see at every store and gallery opening,charging the photographers,the better to get their pictures in every periodical,pamphlet and paper in print —will congregate in Venice in June for the Venice Biennale of Art.And it just so happens that to coincide with this world-famous Contemporary Art exhibition, Venetian Heritage,the group whose overriding mission is to keep Venice ’s historical monuments whole and beautiful,will be in Venice at the same time,celebrating their own Biennale weekend,preserving and conserving all the while.
The group is simply delighted that Prince and Princess d ’Arenberg —she is the beautiful Sylvia,the dama grande of Beatriz Patino ,he is the son of the late American social figure Peggy Bedford Bancroft d ’Arenberg d ’Uzes —have agreed to be co-chairs of that weekend and that Attilio Codognato ,the leading private collector of Contemporary Art,will be the chairman for Venice.You all remember Attilio,of course.Of course.
It is also pretty exciting that Mrs.John N.Rosekrans Jr.will host,after drinks in her glorious garden,a dinner/dance at her splendid piano nobile in the dazzling Palazzo Brandolini as only she can.Dodie Rosekrans is not only a stunning hostess,but a great personality who entertains and dresses in her own unique fashion and never has paid heed to soi disant fashion experts without an iota of her flair,who can ’t wait to trumpet what ’s in and what ’s out and so last-year in fashion.
There will be more parties,uncheons,dinners and concerts (one in the magnificent ballroom of Ca ’Rezzonico; another in the recently restored Teatro Malibran).
The New York hostess Mrs.Lawrence Copley Thaw —Lee to the cognoscenti —is as involved with Venetian Heritage and,incidentally,the International Rescue Committee as it is possible to be,being the vice president of one and a board member of the other.At the little dinner she gave at her Park Avenue maisonette the other night, she took care of both interests.Among the guests were the international financier Nemir Kirdar and his wife, Nada ,who will be among the honored guests at the Venice weekend,and Dr.George Rupp ,the new president of the IRC and for the last 10 years the president of Columbia University,and his wife,Nancy .Also dining in style were the executive vice president of Sotheby ’s Hugh Hildesley and his architect wife,Connie ;the super-active philanthropists,Judy and Sam Peabody ;financier Paul Soros and his wife,Daisy ,a board member of Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic;publisher Alexis Gregory of the Vendome Press,a director of Sotheby ’s; investment banker Pierre Durand ,the principal owner of the Chinese Porcelain Co.and the secretary/treasurer of Venetian Heritage;Vanity Fair ’s Reinaldo Herrera ,scion of the rich and distinguished Venezuelan family,who lives in New York with his famed fashion designer wife, Carolina ,and the Hon.Robin Chandler Duke ,our bright and beautiful former ambassador to Norway,who is on the board of IRC.
This story first appeared in the December 20, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Also Doda Voridis ,née Goulandris,the major Greek shipping heiress,opera lover;Mary McFadden ,the fashion designer whose exoticism is well known and who, you will be thrilled to hear,is now going to go mass market with her Eastern-inspired designs;American-born Countess Consuelo Crespi ,for many years the editor of Italian Vogue,and such charming and worldly extra men as Kenneth Jay Lane of fashion jewelry fame,the art expert and dealer Alexander Apsis ,Alex Hitz ,a young man of means from Atlanta (Coca-Cola),and Boaz Mazor ,a vice president of Oscar de la Renta and its worldwide representative.
You understand that what they all don ’t know about culture,you could put in your eye.
Alice Mason ,the Democrat ’s Democrat,put on her black and red beaded Galanos and gave one of her smart little dinners,this time for Bill Clinton .They all came — Princess Firyal and Lionel Pincus ,Nada and Nemir Kirdar, Barbara Walters ,Woody Allen and Soon-Yi ,Amanda Burden and Charlie Rose ,Bill Clinton ’s aides Maggie Williams and Bill Barrett ,Helen Gurley Brown and David Brown ,Lisa Caputo ,Jennet Conant and Steve Kroft ,Gil Shiva ,and Alice ’s daughter Dominique Richard in a b ack Vera Wang.Oh,and the heiress Mona Ackerman and the political columnist Richard Cohen ,who are in the middle of a serious romance.As in they may marry soon,that ’s how serious.
Gillian Hearst Shaw will wear a chocolate-colored BCBG gown,sheer from the knees down,to her sister Lydi a ’s debut Friday night at the Waldorf.Later,she will change into a golden BCBG bustier and slim black pants to host the post-ball party for her sister at a friend ’s town house.Lydia will wear Julien MacDonald ’s multicolored minidress covered with paillettes the size of silver dollars after she strips off her Vera Wang for the post-ball ball. Later,the girls will depart for a pub crawl around 1 a.m., escorted downtown by their mother,Patricia Hearst ,and their father,Bernard Shaw ,to make sure everyone stays off the tables.
Anne Heche is putting her role as a mother first these days and if you could see her adorable eight-month-old son,Homer Laffoon ,you ’d know why.Homer went to meet Santa Claus at Doubles,the private club on Fifth Avenue,wearing little white booties,a red and green plaid suit and a clever little cap.He was accompanied by his mother and father and they stayed until the last minute before Anne had to rush off to Broadway where she is starring in “Proof.”