A Yacht à la Chanel * Clemente in L.A. * Renée’s New Diet

Alfred Taubman, the mall multimillionaire, pounds lighter and looking in the pink, made his first trip abroad since the recent unpleasantness that kept him away from the good life for a year. He was accompanied by his wife, Judy, and to welcome them to London, Lily Safra, the international philanthropist and hostess of note forever being described as one of the richest women in the world because that is exactly what she is, gave a small intimate dinner chez elle. Chez elle being at her beautiful house in Belgravia.

This story first appeared in the October 3, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Lily seated her guests at two round tables, but instead of using flowers, she placed her beautiful collection of Meissen birds by Kandler in the center of each table. Everyone said “ahhh,” and rightly so. Everyone being Prince and Princess D’Arenberg, Viscount and Viscountess Blakenham, Dame Vivien Duffield, Sally and David Metcalfe, Lord and Lady Weidenfeld, Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg (she is the vivacious Anoushka Hempel who moves and shakes London society) and Robin Woodhead, the Sotheby’s big shot. Dainty dishes, all.

Nicole Kidman has introduced Lenny Kravitz to her father, Anthony. No word on whether he has introduced her to his family, but this certainly moves their friendship another step forward.

Mary Wells Lawrence, the icon queen of American advertising until she sold her New York company, Wells Rich Green, and her beloved John Calley, back in her life after 30 years during which both married others, have bought an impressive yacht in the South of France and sent it off to Holland for refitting. Then the boat returns to England where Mary, chicest of the chic, will decorate it à la Chanel. Only Mary. Though she is Chanel’s prize client, does this mean a camellia at every porthole and the crew done up by Karl Lagerfeld?

Francesco Clemente, visiting L.A. for his first show there since 1966, was such a hit he wondered why he’d waited so long to go West. More than 400 fans crowded the Gagosian Gallery to view his latest collection, 10 paintings and eight watercolors, more than half of which were sold on opening night and many others put on hold. Of course a pretty face always helps a sale — not Francesco’s, please — but the lovely Honor Fraser’s, who was hired by Larry Gagosian just days before the opening to move things right along at his Beverly Hills gallery.

Francesco has done arresting portraits of any number of well-known women (Mary Lawrence, Marjorie Fisher and Diane von Furstenberg, among others) and his next subject is expected to be Casey Johnson, the pretty, blonde 23-year-old Johnson & Johnson heiress who is “absolutely in love” with his work. Francesco says he “would be honored to paint her.”

The dinner afterward was supposed to be for 60 but nearly 100 showed up at Ashton Kutcher’s new eatery, Dolce. Ashton and his friend, Demi, were nowhere to be found, but Casey was there and so were Wendy Stark, Sean Lennon and Bijou Phillips, Benicio Del Toro and Jacqui Getty and scores more calamari eaters just like them.

New York Racing Association chairman Barry Schwartz and his wife, Sheryl, threw open the doors of their just-this-minute finished house at their beloved Stonewall Farm in Westchester County to 120 of their closest friends who came to marvel. The house is an amazement. American colonial architecture done by Rebecca Rasmussen with interiors by London designer Kelly Hoppen that have a zen-like Asian feeling guaranteed to produce peace and beauty. Sheryl worked with her team for more than three years and while the house is definitely not small, there is a flow and ease to it placed in the middle of 700 acres. The library is double height with paneled leather walls and floors. There is a wine cellar and a game room and a pool house that holds 100 people. The dark floors are 18th-century random-width hardwood throughout the three-story residence. Thank heaven they thought to build an elevator.

Looking the place over and exclaiming over the spectacle of it were Blaine and Robert Trump; Pepe and Emilia Fanjul; Ande and Dinny Phipps; Susie and Ed Hayes; Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, who flew in from Saratoga and flew right out again; John J. Mortimer and his lovely daughter, Minnie; handsome young Ogden Phipps with Ashley Dodd; Lily Phipps; Paul Wilmot, and Kentuckians Carol and Tracey Farmer. They dined on caviar, chicken hash and three desserts provided by Glorious Foods, sat under a crystal-clear tent with enormous silk shades and chandeliers and listened to DJ Cole, who flew in from Los Angeles to get everyone to dance. When they said good night, the guests begged Barry and Sheryl to invite them back. No fools, they.

Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, 40-year-old Dorothea, are expecting their fourth child in the spring. Dorothea is a karate instructor so she knows how to stay in shape.

Renée Zellweger shocked fans at the London premiere of her movie, “Down With Love.” She made the flick last year with Ewan McGregor when she was just a tiny little thing but as she stepped onto the red carpet, people gasped because she’s…fat. She claims to have gained more than 30 pounds and says she wants to add another 25 for her role in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.” She’s been through all this before, when she did the same thing for the original “Bridget Jones.” Now she’s working with her nutritionist who makes sure she eats only foods with “hidden fats,” not the dozens of doughnuts the tabs insist she’s eating, because, she says, “doughnuts aren’t really my thing.” Her friends say she spends time in her closet fondly looking at the beautiful clothes she used to wear but knowing she will wear them sometime again. At the premiere, she wore a black Prada coat and knee-length boots, saying simply, “I have put on weight and I’ve got a really good coat on to hide it.”

Sir Evelyn and Lady de Rothschild, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder and Susan and John Hess are asking everyone to dress ravishingly in red for the Whitney Museum Gala on Oct. 20 of which they are the chairmen. So break open the safe and drag out your biggest rubies or at least your biggest KJLs. The night will also celebrate the 80th birthday of the American minimalist painter and sculptor, Ellsworth Kelly. The dinner chairmen are Burberry’s Rose Marie Bravo and NetJets’ Richard Santulli. For the third time, event designer Collin Cowie will take the reins and turn the museum into a scarlet fantasy. Bentley Meeker will do the rosy lighting and Robbins Wolfe will do the catering. Among the night’s supporters are Donna and Bill Acquavella, Carol and Earl Mack, Donna Karan, Veronica Hearst, artist Chuck Close, Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis and Veronique Pittman. Coming to the after party are Alan Cumming, Olivia Chantecaille, Tinsley Mortimer, Jacqueline Anderson, Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler, Douglas Hannant and, of course, the Whitney’s new director, Adam Weinberg, who will lead the dancing into the early morning hours. Well, good for Adam.

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