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Heard enough about the Duchess of Marlborough and her exhibition of paintings at Lars Bolander’s chic place in the Meatpacking District? No, you haven’t. If you are a duchess of that ilk and stripe — living in Blenheim Palace and that sort of thing — you are bound to draw a crowd of swells, no matter what you do. So for her show, the duchess, known as Rosita to her chums, slipped into a black Armani jacket trimmed in silver fox saying, “I love Armani. It works for me.” She went on to declare, “I’m obsessed by my work. I can’t stop painting,” as she surveyed the 45 brightly colored figurative and abstract paintings and 27 watercolors of Moroccan women and soldiers in traditional attire that she painted on location in Marrakesh. “These are the palace guards. Look at how erect they are. They have the most wonderful posture,” she explained.

And they sold. The costume designer William Ivey Long snapped up two on the spot, to say nothing of who bought many others. Among those admiring the red-and-white harlequin figures were Rosita’s husband, the Duke of Marlborough, in a spiffy dinner jacket on his way to the Casita Maria Gala at the Plaza, and his daughters, Lady Alexandra and Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill; Princess Michael of Kent; Princess Mimi Romanoff; Princess Arianna zu Hohenlohe, adorable in a little black sequin sweater with her husband, Dixon Boardman; Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Edwina Sandys; Jean Kennedy Smith; Tobie Roosevelt in a black raincoat with a leopard-print collar and lining; Michele Klein in a tweed jacket with a sable collar by Bill Blass; Pauline Pitt in an elegant black cape; Joanne de Guardiola wearing a blue beaded column by Carolina Herrera that set off her sapphire and diamond earrings to perfection; Yanna Avis in a coral gown from Dior; Adriana Cisneros; Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman; Liz and Damon Mezzacappa; Pat Patterson; Alexa and Duane Hampton; Liz Fondaras; Alexis Gregory; Maggie Norris; Alvin Valley, and Nan Kempner, who wore a brilliant diamond pin — blinding as the sun at high noon — on a black knit top with a multicolored Saint Laurent raincoat. “When you get older, you must wear big jewelry, so no one looks at your face,” she laughed. All this high society hoopla was hosted by Nadine Kalachnikoff and her husband, the noted antiquaire Lars Bolander. They and the duchess managed to get this crowd to go below 14th Street.

This story first appeared in the October 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


President Bush’s cousin Billy Bush and his pretty wife, Sydney, have just become the parents of a third daughter in Los Angeles. They named her Lillie and her sisters, Josephine, 6, and Mary, 3, are simply beside themselves. Big families can be very useful, especially if the family business is politics.


Mick Jagger is going to remake “The Women,” the classic 1939 movie directed by George Cukor starring Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine, Mary Boland and Paulette Goddard, in which high society women of the time spend hours destroying each other with gossip while getting their hair, nails and bodies done in beauty salons, taking in fashion shows and haunting the exclusive supper clubs of that era. The movie was remade in 1956, titled “The Opposite Sex,” starring June Allyson, Joan Collins, Dolores Gray, Ann Sheridan, Charlotte Greenwood, Agnes Moorehead and Ann Miller.

In Mick’s version, the Clare Booth Luce play and Anita Loos screenplay has been revamped by Diane English, who will also direct. Mick’s dream cast includes Meg Ryan, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock and Annette Bening in the Norma Shearer role, as the wronged woman. So far they are all pretty much set. The producers are in final negotiations with Uma Thurman to play Crystal, the bad-girl husband stealer formerly played by Crawford and Collins. So far, Mick hasn’t found a little something for his ex, Jerry Hall, who could fit right in some way. Meow.

As for Jerry, she has been giving some sound motherly advice to her daughter Elizabeth after finding out she’d gotten herself hooked on protein drinks since being told she needs to pile on some pounds or start losing jobs. Jerry, one of her generation’s foremost supermodels, says, “I told her when you’re older you put on weight. Don’t worry, it will come.” Has Jerry looked in the mirror lately?


There are frequent fliers and then there are frequent, frequent fliers. Evelyn Lauder has been on airplanes morning, noon and night criss-crossing the country and the Atlantic in her relentless quest to eradicate breast cancer once and for all. She swooped into San Antonio to pick up the Woman of Achievement Award from the San Antonio Museum of Art and touched down in Los Angeles for a glittering Lifetime Television lunch honoring breast-cancer survivors before landing in Las Vegas, where, along with her posse, which includes Elizabeth Hurley, Andre Agassi and her husband, Leonard Lauder, she presided over a pink fashion show to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation that she founded.

She delivered another knockout blow for the BCRF’s luncheon and symposium at the Waldorf Astoria with such guests reportedly on hand as Candice Bergen, Libby Pataki, Lynn Redgrave, Anne Bass, Patti Cisneros, Anne Eisenhower Flottl, Jamee Gregory, Veronica Hearst, Gail Hilson, Nan Kempner, Jo Carole Lauder, Gigi Mortimer, Elizabeth Rohatyn and Dr. Larry Norton, all contributors who have helped bank the nearly $100 million the foundation has raised to date. After that, Evelyn was off to give a keynote address at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota followed by exhibitions of her great photos in Barcelona and Paris. Beijing? That can wait until another month.


Here’s some news that will thrill you. Julia Roberts says she wants to devote all her time to her twins and she will take a five — that’s five — year break from her acting career once they are born. Mmm-hhmm. Sure. Of course. Who doesn’t know that?

As for what her body will look like after the kiddies are born, her personal trainer wants us to know that she plans to lose the weight gradually. Julia says her body will return to where it was naturally over time, instead of rushing it with crazy diets. She thinks it sends the wrong message to other mothers. If she stays off the screen for five years, never mind about the body. Never even mind about the face or the talent. Five years in Hollywood is a long, long time.


Jennifer Lopez is working on a new album that her husband, Marc Anthony, is producing. But she swears that will be as far as they go on collaborating and that they will never sing together. Whatever.