Byline: Aileen Mehle

That dazzling foursome lunching at Mortimer’s yesterday were merely King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain, here visiting to receive various awards and honors, and Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, who live in New York. Queen Sophia is Pavlos’s auntie — but you knew that. The Spanish monarchs will be guests of honor at a big lunch at the Spanish Institute on Sunday, and Pavlos and Marie-Chantal are the chairmen of New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala on May 22 at the New York Theater at Lincoln Center, all part of doing their duty. There’s more to being royal than sitting on a throne, you know.

Speaking of that sort of thing, Kitty Kelley has been stalking Britain for maybe five or six years in an effort to unearth hitherto unrevealed secrets about England’s royals. While her sights have been trained primarily on Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, now it’s said Kitty’s throwing in the whole fam-damily. That’s the thrust of her long-delayed book, for which Little Brown paid her $3 million. It’s no easy task. Rumor in London is that the natives threw so many roadblocks in her path, her research inevitably bogged down.
On the other hand, the well-known English writer, Sarah Bradford, a.k.a. Viscountess Bangor, is all set to zero in on one of our greatest icons, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, and is coming to this country to interview members of Jackie’s family and friends, one of them being Jackie’s cousin, John H. Davis, whose own hardcover book, “Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir” will soon appear in paperback. One hears that Davis, just finishing his newest book on the unsolved murder of the prominent Washingtonian Mary Meyer, does not plan on divulging much info to Viscountess Bangor — but you never know. Incidentally, the British author’s most recent biography is simply called “Elizabeth,” not bothering to bother with such appendages as Queen, the II, or even Regina.

Arnold Scaasi, a fashion legend in his time and a recipient of the Council of Fashion Designers Lifetime Achievement Award, has given gems from his couture collections over the years to Sotheby’s for a celebrity auction on April 16 to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For sale will be original designs from Scaasi’s personal archives and a selection of evening dresses from the collections of celebrities who owned them. In his celebrated career, which began in 1958, Scaasi has made beautiful, enduring clothes for such stars of the arts and society as Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Dame Joan Sutherland, Barbara Bush, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Nina Griscom, Mary Tyler Moore and more. All 104 of the creations will go on exhibit at Sotheby’s on Sunday; 48 will be sold at live auction on the 16th and 56 at silent auction. Attending will be Judy Taubman, Patricia Kluge, Evelyn Lauder, Carroll Petrie, Karen and Aerin Lauder, Elaine Paige, Bernadette Peters, etc. And oh, the collection is valued at $1 million.

Also at Sotheby’s: To honor the newly created Sotheby’s Fashion Department’s first sale — couture gowns from the estate of that grande dame of fashion Martha Phillips — Tiffany Dubin, the head of the department, and Mish Tworkowski gave a dinner for their friends in fashion, and they all came. Sotheby’s main sale room was turned into a candle-lit, 19th-century pavilion for the evening, decorated with antiques and European paintings of voluptuous nudes and lavish banquet scenes. Philip Baloun decorated the room and the long table set for 52 with gold candelabra, tureens and bowls and Chinese export porcelain all plucked from Sotheby’s upcoming auctions. The place cards were attached to chocolate bustiers a la Gaultier that were good enough to eat — and so they were.
Among the guests enjoying the Glorious Food feast were such as Martha Phillips’ daughter Lynn Manulis, the guest of honor; Nina Griscom and Daniel Baker; Mary McFadden; Marina Rust and Andrew Lauren; Pia and Christopher Getty; Alfred Taubman; Serena Boardman; Pamela Gross and Richard Martin of the Metropolitan Museum Martins. Pauline Trigere was there too, and was photographed next to the rhinestone-studded dress she designed for Martha. It’s the only way, really.

Sneak peekers and peepers, spying on sets of the soon-due movie “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (New Line) are living proof that Elizabeth Hurley’s spy spoof star er is right on the cutting edge of today’s Sixties-mania fashions. You know, minis, go-go boots, big hair, the lot. The movie is said to be very like those tongue-in-cheek flicks we loved way back when. I can wait if you can.
Elizabeth is not only in movies, she’s producing them and has half a dozen properties in the works. One of her pet projects, just now getting off the ground, will star Hugh Grant, her lover through thick and thin. And why are you not surprised?

More peekers and peepers on the closed-set of the sci-fi epic “The Fifth Element” see a romance blooming between beautiful model-turned actress Milla Jovovich and the French director Luc Besson. Perhaps it’s one of the same old rumors that surface on every movie set, but there you have it. Milla has a terrific part in the drama. She’s a big help to both Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman in their battle against lizard-look-alike alien invaders in this futuristic thriller picked over 100 movies to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival on May 7. I can wait if you can.

Denise Hale, a big fish in the San Francisco social swim, and Rose Marie Bravo, a big fish who swims around at Saks Fifth Avenue, are back from massages and wraps at the luxurious Givenchy Spa in Palm Springs, thrilled to pieces over being petted and pampered. Denise in particular needed the attention after a flurry of San Francisco and Academy Award parties in Los Angeles left her wrung dry. She and Don Johnson, her great pal, who films his TV series, “Nash Bridges” in San Francisco, were front and center at SF Mayor Willie Brown’s birthday party at the St. Francis Hotel — all terribly exclusive — where she wore a blue velvet Ferre and was glad she did. She was Ferre’d, too, in beige lace and passementerie at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party at Morton’s, for which she coaxed Mayor Willie all the way from San Francisco to be her date. But when Rose Marie and Robert Stack gave a party in her honor in Los Angeles, Gianfranco Ferre himself was her escort, and, of course, she wore still another of his dresses — still another beige lace. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.

(Next week read all about the big luncheon the Versailles Foundation is giving in honor of Princess Michael of Kent, where Her Royal Highness will speak on “Gardens in History” and where Mrs. Gerald (Florence) Van der Kemp, Barbara de Portago and Mrs. Arthur Sackler will run the show.)

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