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Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, every inch what a Queen should be — regal, charming, gracious and smiling —was a lovely sight to see in a beautiful black lace Valentino sprinkled with black paillettes, when she was guest of honor at The Plaza for the 50th Annual Gold Medal Gala of the Spanish Institute, which now, in her honor, has been renamed the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute. It was a very black-tie night and the grandest night of all for the Spanish with Dr. Fernando Aleu, the chairman of the board of the Institute, hanging the 50th Anniversary commemorative medal around the Queen’s pretty neck. She pointed out the exact spot where she wanted him to hang it and the gallant Dr. Aleu said “I’ll try to be discreet.” Aleu also received the 2003 gold medal that night.

It was a sparkling crowd admiring the Queen, many of whom knew her well, and the ball gowns and jewels were all out in full force. Carolina Herrera, a former gold medalist recipient, wore an elegant black velvet dress to the floor — guess who designed it? — and elegant aquamarines and diamonds. Annette de la Renta, always the fashion plate, wore a silk dress the color of Spanish red wine and jewels to match. Emilia Fanjul was in a beautiful Oscar de la Renta black evening frock with a tiny waist, a full skirt and an elaborate diamond — well, OK, rhinestone — necklace embroidered on the bodice. It came with the dress. That Oscar!

This story first appeared in the November 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Beatrice Santo Domingo, Carmen de Pinies, Veronica Hearst, Jane Marino, Cecile Zilkha, Doda Voridis, Evelyn Lauder, the super-chic Brazilian Mrs. Walther Moreira-Sales and Judy Taubman all wore black. “I guess I’m the only one not in black,” remarked one Nan Kempner, just off the plane from London and all-done-up in Donna Karan’s beige wool and rubber (would I exaggerate?) dress draped around her hips. Not quite. Inmaculada de Hapsburgo, the president of the Spanish Institute, shone in a one-shouldered iridescent brown taffeta with still another full skirt. Yes, the very plethora of full skirts out that night can only mean they’re in. How do you look in yours?

In the crowd: Gaetana Enders; Dr. John Brademas; the Madrid financier Placido Arango; Robert Mosbacher; Dr. Valentin Fuster, the vice-chairman of the Institute, who sat at the Queen’s right; Leonard Lauder; Reinaldo Herrera; Pepe Fanjul; Alfred Taubman; Ezra Zilkha; Julio Mario Santo Domingo; Mario d’Urso, and others too notable and prominent to mention. Viva España.

Lauren Hutton celebrated her 60th birthday Monday night at a dinner given for her by artist Julian Schnabel at the Schnabel residence. Lauren Hutton, 60? Maybe it’s that famous gap between her teeth that makes her look 20 years younger.

You, dear friends, of all people know that President George Bush and his wife, Laura, have been the guests of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace this week and that there was a very grand white-tie state banquet in their honor on Wednesday night when the Queen donned an elegant shimmering gold gown, a drop-dead diamond necklace and a blinding tiara. There were 170 guests, including Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Tony and Cherie Blair and the Archbishop of Canterbury. But what you might not know is that the secret service insisted on having a food taster in the kitchen. He had the rather fortunate job of sampling a little bit of each delicious dish and a sip of each fine old wine before it was served to our President. This, of course, reminds history buffs of the way things used to be in the wild and wicked old days of the Borgias, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. You can never be too careful in these trying times. The Bushes gave the Queen a specially commissioned set of china but took the food taster home with them.

Sophie Dahl, 23, has lost over 40 pounds since the days she won fortune, fame and Mick Jagger as a “full-figured” model by exercising fiendishly and following a strict diet. “She was a size 16, now she’s an 8, skinny as a rake and almost unrecognizable from her old self,” says a friend. Sophie says her secret weapon is green tea, which supposedly speeds up the metabolism, but some think she’s gone too far and should start having a little pudding now and then — or a lot of it. On the other hand, 26-year-old Liv Tyler’s advisors are telling her in no uncertain terms to lose weight if she wants to be offered femme fatale roles. But Liv is no Sophie. “I’ve been told that if I lose weight I’d have more work, but I refuse to submit myself to those standards. To the rest of the world I’m slim and I like the way I am.” So to hell with green tea.

London is one very big school for scandal now and the latest whoop-de-do concerns a love triangle involving Kate Moss, 29, and her live-in lover, publisher Jefferson Hack, 31. The couple has been together for four years and has a one-year-old daughter. Every five minutes someone says they’ll be getting married in the near future, but Kate is telling anybody who will listen that she has absolutely no plans to marry Jefferson. “I wish people would stop going on about a wedding,” she says.

Supposedly, the two have philosophical differences toward life. He is keen on settling down and wants to spend most of his time with their daughter and fixing up their house in the Cotswolds, while Kate is reluctant to give up her party lifestyle. She actually calls him “the babysitter” behind his back. Uh-oh.

Adding to this sticky wicket, Moss has developed a close relationship with Primal Scream singer Bobby Gillespie, 41, and even sings on his band’s newest single. They’re out on the town regularly these days and it’s putting a strain on her relationship with Hack, not to mention the one Gillespie has with his girlfriend Katie England, the mother of his young son. Uh-oh.

Last week, the gossip soup seemed to be near the boiling point at the opening of a photographic exhibition in London of pictures by Paul McCartney, Angelina Jolie, Vivenne Westwood, etc. to benefit the Red Cross. Hack helped organize the event and Gillespie and Moss were both there and listen to this, Moss exhibited a collage of photos featuring her and her rock star posing together. Uh-oh. Has the Queen heard about this?

Kim Cattrall poured herself into a smart blue number by Donna Karan with tiny spaghetti straps that screamed “Sex and the City” to attend the opening of the Fabulous Flowers show by Sabbadini Jewelers at the Ingrao Gallery on Tuesday night. Cooing over the diamond encrusted bumble bees and flora were such as Kenneth Jay Lane, Joanne de Guardiola, Pamela Fiore and Nina Griscom. Kim has just returned from Paris, where she bought enough Forties furniture — chandeliers and sconces — to fill her new Park Avenue apartment, which is being designed by Tony Ingrao, who will turn it into a platinum pink and cream fantasy. The bedroom will have a tiered Mae West bed done up in baby pink with a chaise longue and tufted velvet chairs by Verre Eglonise. She’ll have Arbus armchairs and a dining table with inlaid mirrors by Jensen in the dining room. There will be four chandeliers and eight sconces by Bagues — but don’t worry she can handle that kind of light. Kim was born in the Year of the Monkey and that means she’ll have a Monkey Room. Just don’t ask what she’ll be doing in it.

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