Byline: Aileen Mehle

I went to a marvelous party — and was lucky to escape alive. It was a surprise birthday, and the guest of honor was far from the only one surprised. And you can throw in the hosts. Many of the guests who said they couldn’t make it came anyhow — a few who said they would be there chucked with moments to spare, and a male guest who said he was bringing a date showed up with another man. You can imagine how that screwed up the seating arrangements. Nina Griscom, cuddling up to a votive candle, set the tassel of her tiny handbag on fire. It smoked like anything until Paul Wilmot, displaying incredible heroism, drowned it in a glass of water. Donna Hanover, after regretting for herself and Mayor Giuliani, dropped in anyhow with her little daughter Caroline in tow. The hubbub (bedlam?) must have been too much for Caroline (who can blame the child?) because she knocked over a glass of red wine on Carl Lopp’s lap. It was really tons of fun.
The surprise party at Mortimer’s was for Joan Rivers’ birthday, and the hosts, Blaine and Robert Trump and Robert Higdon, really pulled it off. Joan’s jaw dropped when she walked in the door to the sight of hundreds of pink and white balloons hanging from the ceiling, mad shouts of “happy birthday” and much singing off-key. But she wasn’t caught with her panties all the way down because she’d been told she was going to a party for H.R.H The Prince Edward. So she arrived all chic and stunning in a beautiful black suit and ersatz opal and diamond earrings and a matching brooch designed by Joan Rivers. Knowing Prince Edward was crazy about showbiz, and so impressed with the documentary “Edward on Edward” he produced on his late uncle, the Duke of Windsor, she also arrived with two showbiz books for him tucked under her arm, the sweet thing. She also went home with the same two books. No Edward, but all the friends who love her. And the toasts. She was lauded and anointed and appreciated by Donna Hanover, Robert Trump, Deborah Norville, Nancy Collins, Robert Higdon, etc., and at each place setting there was a gardenia — Joan’s favorite flower. Great bowls of pink peonies and pink tapers in silver candlesticks centered every table and even the champagne was pink because guess who likes the color.
All through cocktails people kept popping in and popping out — and they kept popping in all through dinner. Blaine Trump kept popping up in her three-inch heels looking for room to pop them down somewhere — and she never lost her cool. Some hostesses would have gone for the Uzi.
Herewith a sample of the beautifully behaved crowd (thunderous herd?) that rocked the room: Nan Kempner, fresh from the Yturbe wedding in Paris; Carolyne Roehm; Phyllis George and Charles Gargano; Sale and Woody Johnson; Cari Modine; Peggy Noonan, who is moving back to New York from New Jersey (does George Steinbrenner know this?); C.Z. Guest, with her white sweater tossed around her shoulders and tied in front in her signature way; Kimberly Rockefeller; Tova Borgnine; Lucile and Guy Peyrelongue; Ghislaine Maxwell; Bob Colacello; Greg Jordan; Donald Van de Mark; Andrew Tilberis; Isaac Mizrahi; Dominick Dunne; Tommy Cochran (his speech broke up the room); Kip Forbes; Khalil Rizk; Pierre Durand; Michael Gelman; Orin Lehman; and, of course, Joan’s darling daughter Melissa and her fiance, John Endicott. Claudia Cohen was there for cocktails, as were the Frank Giffords and Susan Lucci and her husband Helmut Huber — and if I’ve forgotten anyone, so be it. Joan said she’d never been so happy, but take it from me, we were all lucky to get out of there alive.

The sun has been shining in Paris. The rain has been falling in London. There’s a party every minute in both cities, and crowds speaking every known language and some that nobody’s quite sure of. Then there’s the soccer-mad gang ganging up in Paris for the World Cup and the arrival in the city of the one and only Evelyn Lambert, an original who makes a unique statement everywhere she hangs her topknot. And I mean topknot. Evelyn twists her long silver hair into a knob at the very top of her head and voila, she’s immediately three inches taller. Reminiscent of Dame Edith Sitwell but much better looking — who isn’t? — she wears clothes that stop traffic and decorates her houses wherever in the world she happens to live. A panache that equals her own personal style. Her apartment in Dallas was a showplace; her famous Italian villa in Vicenza where she held court for many years was out of a dream. Now she lives in Cuernavaca in Lambertian splendor.
To welcome her to Paris, Andre Dunstetter gave a dinner in his white gold apartment, and the swells swept in the door. Elbow to elbow and cheek to jowl were such of the glitterati as the Duchess d’Orleans; Prince Alexander and Princess Barbara of Yugoslavia; Princess Titi von Furstenberg, the mighty Texas heiress and widow of Prince Tassilo von Furstenberg (father of Egon, father-in-law of Diane); Sao Schlumberger, the Paris social vedette and heiress to the famous oil drilling equipment fortune; Yves Vidal, the internationalite who owns York Castle in Tangiers; Florence Van der Kemp, in Paris for the season before going to Monet’s house in Giverny, where her husband, Gerald, is the curator; Aimee de Heeren, the beauteous Brazilian/American of New York, Palm Beach and Biarritz, also in Paris for the season; the interior designer Charles de Sevigny, and Yogi, the eccentric young Japanese multimillionaire, and others too distinguished to mention. You will all be thrilled to hear that Christian Lacroix, who does not design for men, makes all of Yogi’s clothes. Money shrieks. Oh, and what did this lovely grupetto do all evening? They sat in front of the telly watching the first soccer game between Brazil and Scotland. So there’s hope for us all.

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