Byline: Aileen Mehle
Scoopy, scoopy, do! Kate Hudson and her rocker beau, Chris Robinson, had an Indian shaman, in full feather and beaded regalia with drums beating and bells ringing, bless their union with a tribal dance and ceremony at dusk, just as the sun set in the Rockies, before they were married by a local Aspen padre. Kate’s Vera Wang dress, as white as any debutante’s, was an ivory satin ballgown, dramatic and strapless, with a 19th-century-inspired hand-stitched corset bodice, worn with a full-length coat with a sweeping train. She wore her hair up, showing a pearl necklace and diamond earrings.
The bride’s mother, Goldie Hawn, of course, wore an oyster, panne-velvet, bias-cut slip dress with a full-length coat and train, also by Vera Wang. Vera also dressed Kate’s maid of honor, a childhood friend, in a camel cashmere halter dress and a matching cashmere coat.
And let’s not forget Kate’s husband, rocker Chris. He and his brother, Rich Robinson, who was the best man, and Goldie’s beloved Kurt Russell, who gave the bride away, all wore hand-tailored charcoal sharkskin suits by Brioni with white cotton shirts and pale silver satin ties. Only Chris got the custom-made black cashmere overcoat by Vera Wang (that was one busy designer), and remember, he got Kate too.
The fittings started in New York and were finished in Los Angeles in time for the all-white themed wedding at Goldie’s and Kurt’s ranch in Aspen. The ranch house and the local Elks Lodge where the reception was held were bedecked with every white flower west of the Rockies. Fireplaces glowed and hundreds of white candles flickered everywhere you looked. Only 70 friends and family were there, unlike a couple of media-circus weddings of late. The “white week” began with a bachelorette party at the Caribou Club where Kate wore an Escada white cashmere dress and a white Russian fox stole by Helen Yarmak and ended with several inches of white powder dusting the newlyweds as they dashed off for their wedding night and a honeymoon in the sun; the sweet, best-dressed things.
Oh, the weather outside was frightful, but the ballroom was so delightful!
The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, that is, where 64 delectable debutantes from as far away as England, France, Japan, Scotland, Wales and Iceland and as near as New York City, bowed to society at the 46th International Debutante Ball. This was a bumper crop of buds, because last year’s ball, due to the hurly-burly of the millennium, was cancelled. Some of the girls had waited a year to come out, but who’s to say it wasn’t worth it? Judging from the miles of dazzling smiles, no one.
The debut is an age-old tradition, and thank heaven it still has its pretty, graceful adherents, all thrilled to be the stars of a gorgeous ball in the presence of their families, friends and a thousand guests. In the pink, silver and white winter fantasy scene that was the Grand Ballroom, the 64 floated down the length of the room like so many swans, elegant in long white dresses and long white gloves, carrying bouquets of pink roses and escorted by white-gloved bachelors of their choice in white tie and tails, as well as by midshipmen from the Naval Academy and cadets from West Point and the Coast Guard Academy in full dress uniforms. This fete, after all, has benefited since its beginning the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’ and Airmen’s Club, so bring on the uniforms!
The debutantes came from eight countries, 21 states and the District of Columbia, and the guests of honor sitting high in a box over the ballroom were members of the Eisenhower family. Eisenhowers have been associated with this ball for years, as several generations of Eisenhower women have been presented here.
An Eisenhower deb is always the lead deb, representing the United States, and this year at the head of the procession it was the beautiful Amelia Eisenhower Mahon, the daughter of Susan Eisenhower and the late John F. Mahon and the great-granddaughter of President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. The box of honor was filled with family — the deb’s mother and step-father, Roald Sagdeev; Anne Eisenhower Flottl and Wolfgang Flottl and Julie Nixon Eisenhower and her husband, David Eisenhower. Also in the family box was Mrs. James H. (Candy) Van Alen of the New York and Newport social swim, a longtime, zealous supporter of the ball.
The adorable deb from Scotland, the Hon. Virginia Audrey Hart Fraser, the daughter of Lord and Lady Strathamond of Edinburgh, wore a tartan sash over her shoulder and, of course, the photographers flocked. She was escorted by Richard Lloyd George, the great-great-grandson of the famous Prime Minister Lloyd George. Virginia’s cousin, Diana Bourne, who is reading law at the University of Exeter, represented Wales. England sent two buds, Caroline Emese Rowley and Caroline Alexandra Haubold, who is studying piano at the Royal School of Music. From France came Mlle. Camille Raymonde Spear, whose parents are M. and Mme. Nathaniel Spear 3rd of Paris and New York. Kristina Teal Stefansdottir Sigurdsson, a tall and willowy Yale student, represented Iceland. Where else with that name, you may well ask. Mai Nozoe, the daughter of Yumi and Masayuki Nozoe (he is the co-president of Sony Pictures Entertainment) represented Japan. Where else with that name, you may well ask.
Lovely Melissa Ward Metzger, the daughter of Susan Ward Metzger and William Metzger and one of the sevenfold New York contingent, has a family tree with a branch directly to Martha Washington — or is it George? Deb Christine Trott is the third sister from Bermuda to bow at the International Debutante Ball, and the three Stanley sisters from California, Malissa, Mariel and Marisea all glided down the ballroom together, holding hands. The two stunning girls from Pennsylvania, Katherine Ann Maher, the daughter of Dr. Thomas Maher and Dr. Yvonne Maher from Pittsburgh, and Meade Jennings Morrison from Villanova were stunning enough to turn heads.
Although there were no debutantes from Tennessee this year, two girls named Tennessee represented Colorado (Tennessee Coble Lane) and Texas (Tennessee Jeanne Cline). Altogether 16 girls came up from Texas, including three sets of sisters, and each one did her best (very good) to do what has come to be known as the Texas dip, the deep and beautiful bow which has pretty Texas noses almost touching the floor — and without falling over, please. But more of all this on Friday.