This story first appeared in the November 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Brightly painted elephants, spangled camels, dancing girls, fire-breathers and sword-wielding soldiers greeted guests at City Palace in Jaipur, India, on Friday in a traditional procession last performed for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the city 42 years ago. A dinner in the dazzling royal apartments followed, hosted by HRH Bhawani Singh and HRH Padmini Devi, the maharaja and maharani of Jaipur, in honor of a Cartier-sponsored elephant polo match to benefit the local animal shelter, Help in Suffering, and Elephant Family, the elephant welfare organization founded by British writer Mark Shand (aka Camilla Parker Bowles‘ brother). Bollywood stars and Jaipur’s social set, including Gayatri Devi, the rajmata of Jaipur, filled the grandstands at the polo grounds the next day, while Jacquetta Wheeler, Parisian socialite Melita Toscan du Plantier and actor Olivier Martinez suited up in jodhpurs and climbed aboard their elephants, driven by professional mahouts. “The key is to position the elephant and let him kick the ball himself,” advised the Maharani. “They love that.”
Bernard Fornas, president and chief executive of Cartier International, kept to the sidelines, though he’d ridden with the players during the previous day’s practice session. “I have to award the cup to the winners, and, of course, if I played I would win,” he explained with a grin. “Then I’d have to give the prize to myself and that wouldn’t do.” Though the game was a goofy, slow-moving romp, Martinez turned out to be a less-than-good sport. “I didn’t touch the ball once,” he said, sulking and refusing to play during his second match, letting his mallet dangle from his wrist. “I’ve got the worst elephants. They changed my elephant, those idiots.”
At the heart of the former British Empire, spirits were higher as Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Nicole Farhi, Lillian von Stauffenberg and David Furnish celebrated the London launch Thursday of Donna Karan Gold, aiding the Over the Wall children’s charity. “I’ve known Donna since I was eight or nine,” said Lindsay Lohan. “I was always at her showroom and did pretend runway shows.”
Things were less G-rated two nights earlier at jeweler Solange Azagury-Partridge‘s party for her first fragrance, Stoned, at her tiny Westbourne Grove store. “It smells like sex, basically,” said Thandie Newton, sporting a “Solange Rocks” T-shirt. “It’s like Chanel No.5 after being in bed for the weekend.”
Across the pond the next evening, Isabella Rossellini kicked off the Museum of Modern Art’s Fendi-sponsored retrospective of her late father’s oeuvre with a bash for his 100th birthday. Along with her daughter, Elettra, and son, Roberto, the actress led the revelers at Fendi’s Madison Avenue flagship in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
At CAA’s headquarters in Beverly Hills, the superpower talent agency hosted its fourth annual Angel Art charity auction to benefit Project Angel Food. Potential bidders, including Robert Downey Jr., Colleen and Brad Bell and co-sponsor David Yurman did the rounds of the works by Cindy Sherman, Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel and Keith Haring. “David already knows what he wants,” Sybil Yurman said, indicating a colorful Philip Taaffe work on paper.
“I’m bidding it right up,” teased CAA managing director Bryan Lourd. Clearly he and his fellow uberagents enjoy a little competition. “It’s not below me to shame you,” Kevin Huvane warned his guests with a smile in his opening remarks. “Especially if you’re really rich.”