Raquel Welch, ever the sex symbol, is negotiating now for the role of Heather Locklear’s mommy in the TV series “Melrose Place.” She met with Aaron Spelling, the producer, on Tuesday to talk it all over. This is the same part they had hoped Lauren Hutton would go for, but that gap-toothed model/actress, currently enjoying a rather surprising renaissance, said thanks, but no thanks. As you read here, “Melrose Place” will serve as the spinoff for a new series, “Models, Inc.,” and, if it works out with Raquel, we’ll see a lot of her in the newie. And a lot of Raquel is a lot better than a lot of actresses half her age.

France’s Minister of Culture Jacques Toubon has a busy week ahead of him — pour commencer the French Grammys at the Palais de Congres in Paris on Monday night. All the top French singers will be there, and, from the U.S.A., dear Diana Ross, who will be recognized for having sold 130,000 copies of her latest CD. But the big excitement is over Paul Anka, who will receive the Award of Chevalier of Arts and Letters at the hands of M. Toubon for his 35 years of show biz, singing, acting, writing songs, the lot.

Years ago, Paul, on holiday in the south of France, heard a French song, “Comme d’Habitude,” on the radio. He loved it, bought the rights to it, and by the time he finished with it, it was “My Way,” his most famous song, which has sold 400 million copies and been recorded by over 1,000 artists including Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Oh, and Frank Sinatra.

Shirley Lord, the beauty director of Vogue, has written a hot new novel, “My Sister’s Keeper,” and the world is giving parties to help her launch it. The latest was a big dinner given in her honor by Bernard Leser, the president of Conde Nast, in the flower-filled Trustees Room of the New York Public Library for about 50 of her friends and fans. They all sat back and heard Mr. Leser describe Shirley’s new book as “five-alarm, hot, salty, saucy, bodice-ripping fiction.” Then they all sat up.

Just some of the people wishing Shirley and her five-alarmer well were Howard Stringer, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Linda Wachner, Mica Ertegun, Catie Marron, Georgette Mosbacher, Carolyne Roehm with Carl Lopp, Anna Wintour, Rose Marie Bravo, Tina Brown and Harry Evans, Anne and Jim Fuchs, Beverly Sills in a gold caftan, Lucile and Guy Peyrelongue, Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg, James Truman, Bob Colacello, Steve Florio, Paul Wilmot and last but not least, Shirley’s beaming husband, Abe Rosenthal. Bernard Leser mentioned in his speech that one of Shirley’s most singular accomplishments was getting Abe to wear suspenders. This, he said, had made everyone happy because “now Abe’s trousers stay where they belong.” Darlings, you had to be there.

Calvin Klein will be the man of the hour at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s big gala at Lincoln Center Monday night when he is honored as both Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year. Plus all that jazz, many of the women that night will swan about in his creations, Marina Schiano, Bianca Jagger, Polly Hamilton, Diane Von Furstenberg, Calvin’s wife, Kelly, and his daughter, Marci (but of course), and CFDA executive director Fern Mallis. Also wearing their Calvins will be Polly Mellen and Veronica (Mrs. Randolph) Hearst of Hearst Publications, the underwriters of the evening. Sitting at the Hearst table midst the orange and tangerine branches and multicolored tulips supplied by Robert Isabell will be such as Donna Hanover Giuliani, Elsa Klensch, Bill Blass, Jerry Zipkin, Frank Bennack and Ashton Hawkins. There will be 2,500 watching the proceedings at Lincoln Center and 900 at the dinner. Cozy, no?

Her alma mater, the School of American Ballet, honored the dancer’s dancer Chita Rivera at a big party at Lincoln Center, and they all came — Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg, the Paul Allaires of Xerox, Ben Vereen, Janice Levin wearing a diamond dragonfly big as those things in “Jurassic Park,” Duane and Mark Hampton, Camille and Byron Hero, Mai Hallingby in scarlet chiffon by Chanel, Luella and Frank Bennack, Helen Gurley Brown and David Brown, Darci Kistler (who danced a steamy “The Man I Love” with Robert LaFosse before dinner), Peter Martins, Lucile Peyrelongue, Marina Galesi, Susan and Carter Burden, Susan and Coleman Burke, Barbara and Bill Tapert, Helen O’Hagan with Geoffrey Beene, etc. Oh, and Frances Hayward who, they keep saying, will play hostess to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip later this month at her beautiful house in the Grand Bahamas. Separate bedrooms, of course. They’re British.

The Americas Society is thrilled to announce that the honored guest at its Spring Party on May 25 — do mark your calendar — is former President George Bush. He is being lauded for his efforts that ultimately led to the passage of NAFTA, even if he wasn’t around when the vote came through. This is all going to happen in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria with Mrs. Thomas (Gaetana) Enders, Yolanda Garza Laguera and the diverting Canadian Consul General Alan Sullivan as chairmen. Very black tie. Republicans, you know.

Christy Turlington‘s daddy, Dwaine Turlington, is flying to New York from San Francisco to escort his gorgeous daughter to the private screening of her TV flick, “Christy Turlington Backstage,” at the Plaza Theater Tuesday night. (Christy and her sister Erin own the jazzy night spot, Up and Down Club, in San Francisco, you might care to know.) Have you heard the supermodel was filmed in Paris, Milan, London and New York from dawn to dawn in a closeup, take-your-clothes-off, frenzied rite of high fashion and spectacular runway shows and one-on-ones with the big guns of international style? Alright. Then have you heard the film will include charming, candid at-home footage with cunning little shots of her pierced navel? Oh, I can’t tell you anything!

After the movie, Burberrys, famous for its plaid-lined, hail-or-high-water trenchcoats, is giving a party for Christy at its New York store. On hand will be such as Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Peter Brant, Blaine Trump and who knows how many other bright lights from the big city.

The big 40th birthday party for Bob Pittman of the Time/Warner Pittmans was given by his wife, Sandy, in grand fashion at Round Hill in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Repeat, grand fashion. All the guests were flown in for a three-day “dream weekend” of tennis, golf, swimming and a gala party on the beach where the dress code was “Black-tie and Barefoot.” Is that a hoot or what?

Sandy hung crystal chandeliers from the tropical trees, covered the tables in damask, had Round Hill trot out its beautiful silver service and arranged for a Jamaican calypso band, the real thing. The first course was conch chowder served in a coconut shell and the champagne came up to their ankles. Would I exaggerate? Whooping it up under the Jamaican moon were Meredith and Tom Brokaw, Nina Griscom and Dr. Dan Baker, Libet Johnson Kennan, Sale and Woody Johnson and a beach full of others just like them.

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