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As you probably already know and maybe care, Gwyneth Paltrow is in the middle of a mini love story with the British rocker Chris Martin of Coldplay. Although they have only been dating for two months, Gwynnie, who is a bit older than her new rock star, introduced him to her mother, Blythe Danner, at a small holiday party given by Sting and Trudie Styler at their country house over the weekend. Gwyneth met Chris’ mother, Alison, a schoolteacher, backstage at one of his concerts at Wembley Arena in October, so now it’s tit for tat.

Raising the stakes yet another degree this week, Gwyneth introduced him to her bosom buddy Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, at yet another holiday party, this one at the Ritchies’ house, which they decked with tinsel and boughs of holly from top to bottom. The new-two are said to be planning a trip to the romantic and private Maldives, where they will have their own island to fling on over New Year’s. Despite all this, Gwyneth seems to be hedging her bets by becoming a little chummy with tall, dark and handsome Prince Nicholas of Greece. There have been cozy dinners at Blakes’ Hotel in South Kensington and he’s been over to her place in Belgravia — while Chris was on tour.

This story first appeared in the December 13, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Julianne Moore tells why being part of the extraordinary cast of “The Hours” was a triumph close to home for her: “I read the book years ago and loved it. When I heard it was going to be a film, I was so excited to be part of it but worried about how it would be adapted because I was so attached to the book.

“But David Hare’s adaptation is spectacular. Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep were already signed on when I joined and I was thrilled to get the role of Laura because that was the one I loved. It deals very closely with her relationship with her young son, and I have a little boy of my own.”

A mommy’s got to do what a mommy’s got to do.

Clap hands and call in the clowns! It’s that time of year again. Here’s the latest on this year’s Coconuts New Year’s Eve party at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach. Bob Leidy is now the “head Coconut” and he has suggested a less formal and more light-hearted party and attitude than those of years past, which some people — probably missed because they weren’t invited — have referred to as superannuated.

It began with the invitation. Gone are the stodgy engraved cards. In their place, an actual coconut shell that zips open to reveal the folded invitation. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive! Well, I should hope. When was the last time you received an actual coconut shell with a zipper?

For the decor, Steven Stolman is thinking “Gilligan’s Island” — an uncharted desert isle full of social swells and eccentrics (not so far from the real PB). He’s making tropical-print tablecloths and towering centerpieces of citrus fruits and palm fronds mimicking actual palm trees. The Neal Smith Orchestra will play and a DJ will start spinning at midnight. When “the kids” from parties all over town flock in to be with their parents for the countdown, there’ll be the usual midnight breakfast — bacon, eggs, chicken hash — although everyone is usually so full from Pauline Pitt’s earlier buffet supper.

Speaking of Pauline, she was the glamorous guest of honor at Carroll Petrie’s dinner party at her Fifth Avenue apartment, complete with marble halls and a newly decorated dining room, all petal pink walls and curtains. Pauline wore silver gray charmeuse and silver slippers. Brilliant. So good with petal pink.

The beautiful hostess wore a short jade green vintage Dior. “It’s 30 years old,” she said. Brilliant. And so good with petal pink. Floating about in various stage of couture were the likes of: Princess Firyal of Jordan, Carol McFadden, Hilary Geary, Gail Hilson, Jamee Gregory, Hillie Mahoney, Carol Mack, Kathleen Hearst, Patricia Patterson, Joanne de Guardiola, Anna Mann, Serena Boardman, Toby Roosevelt, Jessie Araskog, Dana Hammond, Kay Meehan and Audrey Gruss. Of course, there were men there. Someone said you need them at a party. Among them was investment banker Lionel Pincus wearing a purple tie and a blue shirt, his favorite colors and the only ones he wears. Brilliant and pretty good with petal pink.

Pauline just bought a pied à terre in New York, a perfect little penthouse where she’ll stay when she comes up from palm Beach. A girl’s got to etc.

Denise Hale’s annual lunch at Le Cirque was in honor of Prince and Princess d’Arenberg — she is the beautiful Sylvia. In the crowd, which didn’t leave until 4 a.m. when they were rolled out, were: Graydon Carter, Mila Mulroney, Pauline Pitt, Clive Davis, Reinaldo and Carolina Herrera, Judy Ney, Dreda Mele, Doda Voridis, Gale Hayman, Kenneth Jay Lane and Nan Kempner.

Sotheby’s is selling what it describes as the Scripps Estate on North Ocean Boulevard. Just maybe the best address in Palm Beach. After Betty Scripps Harvey and her late husband, Edward Willis Scripps, of all those Scripps newspapers, bought the property, Betty added a dancing pavilion on the ocean. You don’t see one of those every five minutes. Certainly not in Palm Beach. The asking price is $18.9 million and of course they throw in the dancing pavilion on the ocean. Betty’s bought a new house at the Lyford Cay Club, where she and her husband, Jeremy Harvey, will spend their winters.

Jean-David Levite, the current president of the United Nations Security Council, will be France’s new ambassador to Washington, and it didn’t take long for Betty, who adores France and all things French, to get to him. She asked the Levites if they would host the Washington Opera Ball next June at the residence of the French Embassy and they said oui, oui. The invitations aren’t even out yet and Betty, chairman of the ball, has already raised $2 million.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old Welsh designer Julien MacDonald, who has been designing the Givenchy couture and ready-to-wear collections for the past four seasons, will introduce his own signature couture collection in America on Tuesday at Le Cirque. The designer is flying over on the Concorde with the entire collection and then flying right out again.

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