By  on September 9, 1994

Nancy Reagan is coming to New York on a flying visit. She'll nip into town on Sept. 18, have lunch at Le Cirque with those who love her best on the 19th and leave for Washington to appear at George Washington University on the 20th at a Q&A symposium on First Ladies -- except she'll do a solo as she is the only First Lady they've asked. Nancy will be back in New York on Oct. 27 for another Q&A session at the 92nd Street Y. Charlie Rose will lead the interviewing, and the audience is invited to ask Nancy, whom more and more people miss more and more every day, about the joys and sorrows, trials, tribulations and triumphs of life at the White House. Sort of how you take the bitter with the sweet while you're walking, chewing gum, tap-dancing and juggling, all at the same time.

While Nancy's in Washington on the 20th, her best friend, Betsy Bloomingdale, will be in New York autographing her stunning new book, "On Entertaining With Betsy Bloomingdale," at Rizzoli. It's filled with tips, menus and treasures from "the world's best hosts and hostesses" by a woman who certainly belongs in the top 10. Every time somebody famous hits Beverly Hills, you can find him or her at Betsy's table, sure of fabulous food and a good time. Princes, heads of state and the terribly rich and well-known all dine there. The zillionaire Walter Annenberg practically crosses the country for her succotash, forget quails' tongues and ortolans. After the stint at Rizzoli, Betsy will be the guest of honor at a party Nan Kempner is throwing at Mortimer's, asking all those people you read about and try hard to love.

Also out with a new book is Evelyn Lauder of the cosmetics empire, whose beautiful photograph by Firooz Zahedi can be found on the Spotlight pages of October's Vanity Fair. Evelyn's pictured lolling on a chaise longue on the terrace of her Manhattan apartment in sunglasses and a raincoat (?) but in real life she doesn't do much lolling. From mid-September to Thanksgiving, Evelyn will travel the country making special appearances -- a mere 50 events in 40 days -- in connection with her new book of landscape photographs, "The Seasons Observed" (Abrams). The opening salvo is this Tuesday when Evelyn's photographs will be exhibited at a preview at the Holly Solomon Gallery. Proceeds from whatever is sold will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. From there it's a whirlwind of appearances and/or book-signing parties at the Madison Avenue Book Shop, the Evelyn Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dana Farber in Boston, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and others in Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and whatever's left over. The president of Georgetown University, Father Donovan, will give a luncheon in her honor at the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center, and Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue (Phillip Miller and Rose Marie Bravo will host) and Filene's have all scheduled signing events. Dawn Mello will do the honors at Bergdorf's, and Mike Gould of Bloomingdale's will give Evelyn a reception in Le Train Bleu on Oct. 27.Private parties will be given for her by Jill Rose at the International Center of Photography in New York, by Anna Wintour and Alexandra Penney, by Ann Getty in San Francisco, by the Dick Smiths in Boston and by Wendy Stark in Beverly Hills. Oh, and she'll speak in Santa Barbara to the Channel City Club and before an audience of 1,000 at Lazarus, the Cincinnati department store. By that time she'll be overdue for that chaise longue, the raincoat and, definitely, the dark glasses. I'm worn out just writing about it.

Denise and Prentis Cobb Hale of the San Francisco Hales are celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary -- time flies when you're having fun -- and Denise has a big surprise in store for PCH. When he gets to the opening of the San Francisco Opera tonight -- it's SF's biggest social event, but you knew that -- he will find that, as his present, she has decorated every box in the place, all 26, with 1,900 feet of garlands dripping with 3,500 fresh gardenias. Even he, notoriously hard to please in matters of decor, etc., can't turn up his nose at that.

And he certainly can't turn up his nose at her dress, a 1930s-inspired confection designed by Gianfranco Ferré, her favorite, featuring three layers of beige chiffon, two of white chiffon and a white lace yoke -- oh, and it's short, a big change from the long full skirts and strapless tops that are almost her trademark. Anyhow, after the opera's out of the way, the Hales will take off for a long weekend at Veronica and Randy Hearst's fabled California estates, Wyntoon and San Simeon, picking up California Gov. Pete Wilson along the way. Nothing like a little roughing it to get your priorities in a row.

Fashion Notes From All Over: When Lori Petty appears in "Tank Girl," MGM's futuristic action-thriller set in Australia in the year 2033, everything she wears will be totally recycled and 100 percent deconstructed. Tank Girl's jewelry will be built from bicycle reflectors and plastic tubing, and her tranquility beads will be strung with Prozac and other antidepressant pills. Her clothes will be made from parachute fabric and army fatigues complete with baby-doll knee pads made from recycled dolls' faces. Arianne Phillips is the designer responsible for all this beauty. Can Jean Paul Gaultier be far behind?Here's more about that grand and glorious Costume Institute exhibition and party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Dec. 5: You read here earlier this week about the lavish Moon Gate through which dinner guests will pass on their way to dine in the museum's restaurant, a drab affair that John Funt, designer extraordinaire, will transform for the night into something fit for an Oriental emperor. Well, now he and Pat Buckley, the chairman of the evening, have ordained that, opposite this entrance pagoda, an octagonal garden house smothered in vines will rise atop a flight of pink stone steps, and through the round windows of the second story, silhouettes of seated musicians will be seen by the crowd -- trompe-l'oeil, of course. Built around the room's existing 40-foot columns will be rustic spiral staircases made of twisty willow and red branch coral and leading -- nowhere. There will be porcelain fishbowls on lacquered stands holding fish-tail palms, fig trees, flowering quince, night fishermen's bamboo poles and nets everywhere, and the chandeliers will be concealed behind huge paper lanterns silk-screened with green leaves and hung with orange silk tassels. The entire room will be awash in pink and lavender moonlight guaranteed to make you -- and you -- and you -- look pretty as an Oriental print. Boys, too.

Victoria Newhouse, Annette de la Renta, Gayfryd Steinberg, Liz Fondaras, Nancy Kissinger and assorted others are organizing the Delta Society's benefit fund-raiser set for Oct. 13 to celebrate the Society's Service & Therapy Animal Awards and featuring a celebrity-studded, fun-packed, all-animal Super Dog Variety Show. Last year's event was a four-night affair in the town's most elegant apartments with pedigreed pets on display. This year they're hoping to do even better. Love them? Love their dogs.

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