The Woman in Charge of Designing Solange Knowles’ ‘A Seat at the Table’ Book Reveals the Singer’s Inspiration
How would it all end? For months the outcome of the up-and-down, on-and-off society scandal madly whirling around Pepe Fanjul, the sugar tycoon; Emilia, his wife of 34 years, and Nina Griscom, the other woman in the triangle, has been breathless Topic A in social circles from Portland, Oregon and Maine to Tierra del Fuego and all points in between. They all read there, you know, especially when the news is as juicy, fascinating, highly publicized and long-running as this has been.
Will Emilia and Pepe stay married, or will they divorce over Nina, who left her own husband Dan Baker while her affair with Pepe was going on? Or will Pepe fly to Nina’s side and stay there? (He has been obsessed with her for years.) Will Emilia, having given Pepe every chance to make up his mind, finally throw in the monogrammed towel allowing Nina to collect a trophy husband?
This story first appeared in the October 30, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Well, here’s the end of the story. Pepe gave Nina a final goodbye kiss in Brussels last week, and he and Emilia are now back together in London staying at Claridge’s. Emilia always knew Pepe would be flying to Europe with Nina last week. He had told her so. She also knew their breakup would be final as Pepe had promised. That’s final as in really final. The Fanjuls are off together tomorrow for a shoot at Annick, the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland’s estate, and then to Blenheim Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough’s country seat. Then it’s on to Spain for another stunning shoot with swells. Are you listening, Portland, Maine and Oregon and Tierra del Fuego?
Valentino sponsored a splashy party, the Boys’ Club of New York fall dance, where the La Dolce Vita theme was everywhere. Beautiful girls wore beautiful dresses by Valentino — surprise — handsome men sipped bellinis and Cipriani 42nd Street was all aglow. There were pale gold and green scalamandre tablecloths, bronze candelabra and autumn flowers everywhere in hues of russett, orange, eggplant and pistachio. It was truly a Bellini Ball with exotic drinks right out of Harry’s Bar, roast lamb and chocolate mousse. The newest Maseratis parked just inside Cipriani’s looked more than ready for the Italian Riviera.
The chairmen of the evening were Simone Mailman, Ellen Niven and Kathryn Tryee and they pulled in quite a crowd. Carlos Souza, who flew in from Rome just for the party, was busy with Elizabeth Lindemann, Jill Roosevelt, Gigi Mortimer, Tara Rockefeller, Helen Schifter and on and on and on. The busiest man in the house was Jamie Niven, who kept everyone on the edge of their seats to see who would outbid whom for the fur coat and the trip to Italy. That’s the same Jamie Niven who of late has been quietly dating his one-time flame Pauline Pitt.
Mercedes de Guardiola, Joanne and Roberto de Guardiola’s seven-year-old daughter, won Southampton’s best costume contest Saturday dressed as a “goddess of flames.” The little darling, who carried a trident, wore a red dress with a flame edge and a wig that shot fire. Not real fire, come on. But it took the blue ribbon anyway.
Mercedes shared the prize with nine other children so there were lots of winners who ended up at an old-fashioned afternoon trick-or-treating at all the smart stops on Southampton’s Job’s Lane. No tourists in October, so the kids were happy. All the tourists are in Miami.
Mercedes’ twin brother, Roberto, went as a ninja and they will both wear the same costumes at Doubles party on Halloween, “Ghosties and Goodies.” Scaring each other silly will be such adorable members of the junior set as Patty and Marty Raynes’ daughter Ashley, dressed as a cowgirl; Laura and Harry Slatkin’s twins, Alexandra and David; Debbie and Billy Bancroft’s daughter, Serena, dressed as a fortune teller, and Elliott De Niro, the son of Grace Hightower and Robert De Niro, all done up as a fireman, the better to put out Mercedes’ fire.
Among the guests tripping into Carolina Herrera’s beautiful atelier that she filled with flowers, topiaries and candles on the terrace were Jayne Wrightsman, Chloé Crespi, Susanna Moore, Grace Dudley, Robert Silvers, John Richardson, Nicholas Negroponte, Brooke Duchin, Kenneth Jay Lane and Patricia Herrera and Garrity Lansing. This was all in honor of John Stefanidis’ new book, “Stefanidis Designs.” John has designed houses, castles and semi-palaces for the bontemps all over the world. “His book reads like a roman à clef,” said Reinaldo Herrera, “because sometimes you know which residence he did, and sometimes he doesn’t tell you to whom it belongs.”
Alex Gregory celebrated John, too, with a luncheon at his Fifth Avenue apartment. More about that anon.