By  on March 9, 1994

Connie Bruck, whose blockbuster bestseller, "The Predators' Ball," caused shock waves and fury in what is sometimes laughingly called "the financial community," is about to do it again with her new book, "Master of the Game." It's all about the wondrous life and good and bad times of the late entrepreneurial genius Steve Ross, who, with his big smile, melting charm, generosity, guile, good looks, business acumen, incomparable artfulness at the deal and willingness to sacrifice his best friend, rose from undertaker to lord of Time Warner, the biggest media and entertainment company in the world. Hard-hitting? Oh yes. Even bloody. And we get a touch of the Mafia for good measure.

But if it's scathing, the book is also balanced, although Steve's close friends and admirers, like the famed attorney Arthur Liman, for instance, may disagree. Many may feel Connie Bruck does not give Steve, eminently likable and eminently wily, his due. His enemies may think she could have kicked him even harder. Whatever, Bruck doesn't write books that aren't controversial. And is there anyone anywhere who is a better researcher than she?

Steve Ross's personal life, including his three wives (his widow, Courtney, is not a Bruck favorite), are subjected to the same unsparing scrutiny as his business deals. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Time Inc. and Warner Communications merger is delivered to you in spades, plus maybe even more than you wanted to know about the Westchester Premier Theatre scandal in which Jay Emmett was offered up as a sacrifice.

Socially, Steve was gregarious and easy and fun. That is the only way I knew him and that is the way I liked him. If he had warts, whenever he was around me they were covered with pancake makeup. As many people loved him as hated him, but I guess you had to be in a boardroom -- or in bed -- with him to know the real man. Frankly, I couldn't put "Master of the Game" down. Just wait until everyone who is convinced he -- or she -- is a Steve Ross expert hops on this one. Get set for a plethora of punditry -- and piffle.The little galaxy of international stars that twinkle brightly in St. Moritz every winter were out again this season. The weather was cold and sunny at all altitudes, and the Corviglia Club, that bastion of elitism, warmed itself up by selecting, as ever, its annual Glamour Girl. This year, the cutie was Carine Mavroleon, the wife of Basil Mavroleon of London and the world. The GG is always part of the tight, little circle that makes up the gratin of St. Moritz, the cheesecake at the top of the hill. She has to be related to a member of the Club or forget it. This includes such stalwarts of the clique as the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, Lita and George Livanos, Prince Ernest of Hanover, Marella and Gianni Agnelli, Americans Jackie and Dick Cowell and assorted Lichtensteins. You'll never believe it but in their ski gear, sliding down a slope, they look just like everybody else.

If you've been wondering where the richest little girl in the world has been hanging out of late, Athina Roussel, the nine-year-old daughter of the late Greek shipping heiress Christina Onassis, has been skiing in St. Moritz with her daddy, Thierry Roussel, her step-mother, Sandrine, and her step-brother and step-sister, Erik and Sandrine Jr. Athina, named for her late maternal grandmother, Tina Livanos Onassis Niarchos, is clearly a pretty little girl indeed. Those braces on her teeth are not forever, you know, but her fortune is here to stay. People with her interests at heart are seeing to that now. Of course, when she comes into her vast inheritance, Athina will call the shots. Even if she grows up to be the easy touch her mother was, especially for some of the wrong men, there's still enough to go around a thousand times over.

It was those "Me and My Scaasi" ads come to life at the little dinner Arnold Scaasi gave for the Earl and Countess of Harewood (pronounced "Harwood") at his duplex on the East River. Naturally, Scaasis abounded. Even Lady Harewood, a fine-looking woman who was once a model and a concert violinist to boot, wore his black top embroidered in gold and multicolored beads with a black chiffon skirt. Brooke Astor wore a black reembroidered lace, off-the-shoulder, ankle-length Scaasi, and Gayfryd Steinberg was radiant, at least, in his black organza appliqued with white and gold flowers. Guess who was proud as a peacock? Blaine Trump's short gold brocade was designed by Carolyne Roehm, but even Arnold can't win them all.Lord Harewood, Queen Elizabeth's first cousin, is the son of the late Princess Mary, The Princess Royal, and a nephew of the late Duke of Windsor. The blood is navy blue. Noted for his love and knowledge of music, he ran Britain's National Opera for years. The Harewoods live in magnificent Harewood House near Leeds, the country house the Princess Royal left to her son. And Arnold, rightfully, is so taken with them, that the first course at dinner was called Harewood Souffle -- cheese, of course, served in acorn squash shells. Dear Arnold.

At 8:45 Saturday morning in Beverly Hills, 200 eager shoppers surged outside the doors of the new $50 million Barneys New York dying to get in. It went on like that all day, filled with several thousand sightseers checking out the new 125,000-square-foot store on Wilshire Boulevard, just a block away from Rodeo Drive. By the time the store closed at 7 p.m., the "names" that had dropped by could have been the guest list for a mammoth movie premiere. Winona Ryder whizzed through, stopping long enough to buy a three-piece set of Barneys signature luggage. Amanda Pays liked the store so much she came back again later with her husband, Corbin Bernsen. Rosanna Arquette was there with jewelry designer Hillary Bing, and big-shot Peter Guber toured the five-story building with his daughter, Elizabeth. Everywhere you looked you saw Harry Hamlin, Heather Locklear, Donald Sutherland, Stefanie Powers, Dina Merrill, Jennifer Tilley, even Bobby Shriver of the Kennedy tribe.

One unidentified female arrived in head-to-toe faux leopard, driving a red Corvette. A good-looking Japanese girl, showing off her Azzedine Alaia, wore lacy knee tights and purple reflecting sunglasses. Even a dogfight broke out on the main floor with a poodle taking on a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Sexual harassment?

Liza Minnelli's birthday party scheduled for March 11 in the Terrace Room of the Plaza has been canceled because Liza's godmother, Kay Thompson, the party giver, has pneumonia.In Paris, the tres chic shoe designer is Christian Louboutin, and everybody goes to his boutique in the landmark Passage Vero Dodat to bare their soles, haha. Monday, the shy, quiet, bird-loving designer came to New York to introduce his au naturel spring shoes (earth-colored linen with birchwood heels) and made a spectacle of himself. I mean, a good spectacle. Probably because he was the only man at a lunch in the store for 20 women hosted by Virginia Coleman and including Jamee Gregory, Ann Barish, Roz Jacobs, Kathleen Hearst, Lyn Revson, like that. Everyone nibbled on "society sandwiches" from Mortimer's and sipped French champagne. Louboutin designed his New York place to look like a dovecote, and it's not much bigger. But if the shoe fits....

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