Byline: Aileen Mehle

New York’s young social set — and there really are some — will be tickled to hear that adorable Alexa Hampton, the daughter of Duane and the late Mark Hampton, the famed international interior decorator, is engaged to investment banker Pavlos Papageorgiou, the son of Dr. and Mrs. M.A. Papageorgiou. Dr. Papageorgiou is a former ambassador from Greece to the Holy See, South Africa and Portugal. The couple, who met in California several years ago, plans to be married in the fall of next year, but in the meantime, you should know that both have been nicely educated, Alexa with a BA in literature and history from Brown University, and Pavlos with a BA in international economics at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MSc in finance at the City University of London. Alexa, a New York interior decorator, now presides over Mark Hampton Inc., her father’s prestigious firm.

The newly spectacular Russian Tea Room, all lavish red and gold and Russian-inspired decor, will be the site of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center’s gala dinner on Oct. 5 honoring the 1999 Cultural Laureates. These cultural types, all well-known New Yorkers, will be presented with a specially designed Tiffany medallion, engraved and everything. Their myriad number include such worthies as I.M. Pei, Tom Brokaw, Lionel Tiger, Chuck Close, George C. Wolfe, Robert Morgenthau, Ross Bleckner, Joseph Volpe of the Metropolitan Opera, Paul Goldberger, Geoffrey Beene, Jennifer Bartlett, Schuyler Chapin, Beverly Sills, Dr. Leon Root, Liz Smith, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Peter Duchin, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Bobby Short, Philip Johnson, Thomas Krens, Earle Mack, Hugh Hardy, Richard Meier, Richard Serra, Roger Rosenblatt, Carroll Petrie, Robert A.M. Stern, Nicholas Platt, Carl Spielvogel, Jacquelin Robertson, Kathryn Greenberg, Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Roy Goodman, Ellen Futter, Eric Fischl, Maxwell Anderson, Kirk Varnedoe, Lella Vignelli, Lisa Belzberg, Maxwell Anderson and oh yes — me, Suzy, also know as Aileen Mehle. Among us, we are being recognized as representing New York City’s economic, political and social history as well as the visual and performing arts, literature, business, the law, public affairs, philanthropy, education, sports and science. Good grief, is that all? Just the laureates alone could fill up the entire tea room.
Anyhow, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel is the honorary chairman of the evening along with chairpersons Alan C. Greenberg, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Julia and David Koch, Carol Mack and Katharine and William Rayner. And that’s all, folks.

The New Zealand director Jane Campion, hot with her new “Holy Smoke,” starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, caused a big buzz at the Venice Film Fest. Jane keeps her eyes wide open, so you will be thrilled to hear that she has signed Nicole Kidman for her next picture, “In The Cut,” based on the steamy novel of the same name. It’s all about a university professor who gets involved with a detective investigating the murder of one of her neighbors. Bring dehumidifiers.
As for “Holy Smoke,” Winslet plays an Australian girl from a Sydney suburb who travels to India to find enlightenment with a religious cult. Yes, yes, yes. And her family thinks she’s been brainwashed and hires a counselor to spend three days “deprogramming” her. “The subject matter was so intense,” says Winslet. “It’s about these two people who are in a hut for three days in the middle of an Australian desert. The dynamics are fascinating.” The what?

Bruce Willis, who’s had his own marital problems in real life, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who hasn’t, star in the romantic comedy “The Story of Us,” coming soon to a theater near you. The movie asks the question — can a marriage survive 15 years of marriage? Bruce and Michelle will try to give you an answer. On the personal side, Bruce is said to be smitten by Maria Bravo, a young Spanish banker he met at a Planet Hollywood opening in Madrid. “She’s a terrific woman, and this is serious,” says he. “I’d like the relationship to develop and to go on.” How about checking it out in a hut for three days in the middle of the Australian desert? Love those dynamics.

How heartwarming to know that the movie wives of movie star husbands are bringing home the bacon, too — and frying it up in a pan. Kelly Preston (Mrs. John Travolta) is on the screen with Kevin Costner in “For Love of the Game”; Rita Wilson (Mrs. Tom Hanks) plays house with Rob Reiner in “The Story of Us”; Annette Bening (Mrs. Warren Beatty) beautifies the suburbs in “American Beauty,” and Patricia Arquette (Mrs. Nicholas Cage) hit the No. 1 box office spot with her “Stigmata.” Not to mention Melanie Griffith (Mrs. Antonio Banderas), who has allowed her husband to direct her — it’s his directorial debut — in “Crazy in Alabama.” Nothing like having a talented little woman in the family to help keep the wolf from the door, the yacht sailing and the private plane flying.

On Oct. 12, The American Hospital in Paris will present its Chairman’s Award to Charlotte Moss, the New York interior decorator, at the preview of the Hospital’s French Designer Showcase to take place at the French Neo-Classic house at 34 East 69th Street. After all that, there will be a black-tie dinner-dance at the Pierre, co-chaired by such as philanthropist Iris Cantor, Mrs. Michel David-Weill, Mrs. Michael Eisner, Mrs. Eugene Grisanti, Donna Josey and Mrs. Patrick Ricard. Charlotte Moss is the first American to receive this award, given previously to the late Henri Samuel and Jacques Grange, two of the greatest of French designers. The international interior designer Jacques Garcia, who is based in Paris, will be designing the grand salon of the Showhouse, and beginning Oct. 14, the public is invited to step right in. You should know that the not-for-profit American Hospital in Paris is a great healthcare resource for anyone who travels to Paris or spends time there. They will handle your case, tip to toe.