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It’s not a secret that 37-year-old Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, who is 60, have been hot and heavy since last January when she spilled a drink on him at the Golden Globes. However, it is a secret that the two are seriously talking marriage now that his divorce from Melissa Mathison finally came through last week. The story goes that Calista has her heart set on a wedding in New York over the holidays in a dress that may be designed by Vera Wang. Harrison’s mother, Dorothy, has given the couple her blessings, saying “Calista will make my son a great wife.” Talk about dreaming of a White Christmas. You never know — it could just as well happen on Michaelmas or Arbor Day.

This is the season of a hundred charity galas. I know, I know. Sometimes it can seem like a thousand, every one for a good cause, of course. Some are hard to swallow, especially when long-winded speakers glue themselves to the podium and the orchestra turns up the volume until your head pounds. Others are almost — what’s the word — “fun,” though pretty few and far between.

This story first appeared in the October 2, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For those who madly love animals, especially dogs, whom some consider the most attractive members of their families, there is always the Animal Medical Center’s Top Dog Gala, a hit party that draws the top dogs in town. Most of the guests are ever so social. They and their dogs made their bones a long time ago.

This year’s dinner dance was held in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf and the honorees were wonderman Rudy Giuliani, and the magnificent search and rescue dogs whose courageous feat can never be lauded enough. Dr. Henry Kaufman, a Wall Street legend before Wall Street became a couple of nasty words, received the Top Dog Award, as well he should.

The ballroom looked a treat, so whimsical, so apropos. Spectacular boxwood topiaries depicted a schnauzer, a poodle, a dachsund and even a cat to prove the group’s bipartisanship. Red Chinese lanterns hung from the ceiling and guess what lit up the dance floor: paw prints. Why, even the rich red tablecloths were embroidered with paw prints! I love a gala with a good theme, don’t you?

Donna Acquavella and Annette de la Renta were the chairmen of the party and Eliza Reed Bolen and Eleanor Dejoux were the junior chairmen. There were 580 guests and close to $1 million was raised for the Animal center. DJ Tom Finn never stopped playing.

Now comes the National Arts Awards Committee dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street on Monday, very distinguished the whole thing, you may be sure. On this eventful evening, David Rockefeller, who must have as many closets filled with awards as maybe even Brooke Astor, is getting another one, this for philanthropy in the arts. Other awardees include opera lover Alberto Vilar, musician Pinchas Zuckerman and artist Cindy Sherman. Natalie Portman will receive the young artist’s award.

Mrs. Randolph (Veronica) Hearst, the chairman of the evening, will herself present David R. with his award; Aerin Lauder will do the same for Natalie P., and Eli Broad, the renowned collector from Los Angeles, will do the honors for Cindy S.

Among the artists lending their support are Frank Stella and Jeff Koons, who will unveil a “quirky surprise” for his friend Veronica. Doesn’t it have something to do with the backdrop behind the podium? I adore a quirky surprise, don’t you? Veronica’s daughter Fabiola Beracasa will host two “fun” tables for her glam-young friends — Rena Sindi, David Rockefeller’s granddaughter and soon-to-be bride Miranda Kayser, and Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo’s two gorgeous sons Alejandro and Andres and their equally gorgeous girlfriends Eugenie da Silva and Lauren Davis, respectively. The one and only Robert Isabell will transform Cipriani into a vision of loveliness scattering pure white flowers all over the place. La!

And on Friday, Veronica is giving an intimate lunch at her art-filled apartment for Eli Broad and Mrs. Broad. It’s the only way, really.

Gloria Vanderbilt, looking very Gloria Vanderbilt and very Issey Miyake, in Miyake’s pleated black silk dress with a golden vest lined in beige fur, gave a book party at the Madison Avenue Bookstore and they all came. Gloria signed her new book written with Richard Burgin, called “Stories and Dream Boxes.” Then Gloria moved on to the restaurant Deux Amis with a group of her closest chums.

Burgin really wrote the book but Gloria created the “dream boxes” that illustrate it. Congratulating Gloria were Hope Cooke, the American former Queen of Sikkim, who was there along with Joyce Carol Oates; Hilary Knight; Anne Slater in black with a black-and-white horsehair coat by Geoffrey Beene; John Cahill; Aaron Schickler, who painted the fabulous portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy and Ronald Reagan along with Gloria V.’s portrait; Leila Luce; Joyce and Seward Johnson — he’s the noted sculptor; Fiona and Geoff Spear, who took the photographs in the book; Jane Gunther; Isabel and Freddie Eberstadt; Nancy Biddle; Marion McEvoy, and Gordon Parks, the famous photographer in a gray pin-dotted suit à la Duke of Windsor with black-and-white George Raft shoes. Very stylish. There were many others but all too distinguished to mention.

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