Mary Wells Lawrence, an unparalleled legend in the advertising world — she set Madison Avenue on its ear when she entered the fray in the Fifties and eventually went on to start her own wildly successful and uniquely innovative agency, Wells Rich Greene — is seeing John Calley, the high-powered chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and it looks like a fine romance.
In a wonderful storybook way, this “is” what a fine romance is all about. Mary and John had known each other long ago, but listen to this, hadn’t spoken or seen each other in 35 years. Suddenly, reentry and sparks. In the interim, they had both married, John to the actress Meg Tilly, from whom he is divorced, and Mary to the late Harding Lawrence, the multimillionaire businessman. And after years of grueling work, even if she loved it, in 1990, Mary sold her agency and its huge accounts to a French company and settled into luxury in her three spectacular houses — La Fiorentina in the South of France, Mustique, and now London, where she’ll move into the magnificent apartment she bought from Lord Evelyn de Rothschild. In the meantime, Mary wrote a book, an account of her remarkable life appropriately called “A Big Life (In Advertising)” published by Knopf earlier this year. It reads like a novel with a fabulous heroine who never gives up. The last line reads, “Well, I’m not afraid of love and I have always lived my life full tilt to the wind.” Prophetic.
Shhh. Don’t breathe a word. It’s really top secret, maybe even classified info. But the President’s pretty twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, are planning to celebrate their big 21st birthdays Texas-style at the most famous ranch in the world maybe, the Bush family spread in Crawford, Tex. The party will be a real wingding, lasting a weekend, a hoedown with a rodeo to boot, all on Nov. 25.
Jenna and Barbara have asked a group of their closest friends to bring sleeping bags, because, well, the ranch isn’t exactly Buckingham Palace. Or even the White House. The theme of the party is Cowboys and Indians, and everyone is expected to go all out with the furs and feathers and stuff. Barbara, a budding designer, is designing her own outfit and helping Jenna with hers. Hi ho, girls!
The twins’ almost famous cousin, Lauren Bush, is slipping into town today to sit in the front row of Tommy Hilfiger’s show in Bryant Park. Lauren is all thrilled and honored that the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute has asked to have a dress she designed and Tommy made to add to their permanent collection. It’s that elegant navy column she wore to this year’s CFDA. And, more thrilled Mario Testino, “the” Mario Testino, is photographing her for Vogue Thursday. Maybe she’ll have time to scoot downtown to meet Patricia Field at a party at Matthew David’s studio, where she’ll see the floral windows Matthew created in Patricia’s honor.
Lauren spent the summer backpacking in Europe and is now devoting herself to her studies at Princeton, which include business, design and, of course, an interest in the dramatic arts. Lauren, who modeled for Elite, has decided to open the stage door and maybe, just maybe, after all her schoolwork is done, Hollywood. The carrot that lures them all.
Along those lines, Kate Hudson (who’s in “The Four Feathers”) was taught early on by her parents, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, that acting was very hard work. When she traveled to her parents’ movie set, she was expected to work as hard as they did “in the wardrobe trailer, the camera trunk or as a gofer getting everyone coffee. In ‘Big Trouble in Little China,’” she says, “I was the braider on all the karate guys’ hats and had to wash and unbraid them every day.”
That’ll teach you how to act.
Last night the crowd at Swifty’s was even chicer than usual with Valentino’s arrival in New York heralded by a most fashionable turnout. Valentino and partner Giancarlo Giammetti were looking dapper and as tan as ever from their recent cruise aboard Valentino’s yacht along the coast of Croatia, the only way to see Croatia.
The guest list included Gwyneth Paltrow, just in from the Venice Film Festival, Nan Kempner just in from London, Helen and Tim Schifter, Jennifer Creel, Vanessa von Bismarck, Marisa Berenson, Lion King-Queen Julie Taymor, Elizabeth Saltzman and Samantha and Serena Boardman. If that’s not enough for one room, more glamour arrived with models Heidi Klum, who never stays home, and Esther Canadas. Valentino’s own crew, Ellen Niven and Carlos Souza, held court at the back two corner tables while Bruce Hoeksema and Giancarlo kept the restaurant’s front end going. Photographers lined the sidewalk waiting for Gwyneth and Valentino’s exit — long after midnight.
As the festivities continued into lunch today at Valentino’s Fifth Avenue apartment with views of Central Park and the Frick Museum. The young beauties there included Tara Rockefeller, Tory Burch, Elizabeth Lindemann, Eileen Araskog, and two of Valentino’s most frequent guests Cornelia Guest and Nan Kempner again.
What’s for breakfast, Val?