Byline: Aileen Mehle
Dying for a glimpse of Diana, Princess of Wales in the glowing, golden flesh? Well, she’ll be at Christie’s in New York on June 23, and not a moment too soon. That’s when she’s to be honored at a reception and a private preview featuring a collection of her dresses that she has generously donated to be auctioned at Christie’s Park Avenue on June 25. Half the proceeds will go to England’s AIDS Crisis Trust, the other half to The Royal Marsden, a London cancer hospital. But, both these charities are giving 100 percent of the proceeds from the reception to U.S. charities — AIDS Crisis Trust to the AIDS Care Center at New York Hospital and to the Harvard AIDS Institute and Royal Marsden to the Evelyn Lauder Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Also 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Diana’s dresses and the accompanying catalog will go to these American organizations. Nancy Kissinger and Bill Blass are the chairmen of the reception, and Evelyn Lauder and Donald Marron are co-chairing the Memorial Sloan-Kettering group. Of course, Di will be around for the cocktail party on June 23, but she’ll be long gone by June 25 when her fab frocks go on the block. Shy Di hang around while the clothes off her back are sold to the highest bidder? Not bloomin’ likely.
Every Tinseltown name on the tip of Hollywood’s tongue is being mentioned as a possible star in Ridley Scott’s upcoming movie “RK0 281,” based on the behind-the-scenes making of Orson Welles’s masterpiece “Citizen Kane.” These include Madonna in the part of Marion Davies, William Randolph Hearst’s blond movie star love, and Marlon Brando as WRH himself. Also in consideration are Meryl Streep and Edward Norton in starring roles as well as William Hurt, now filming “Lost in Space,” and Glenn Close, soon to be seen with Harrison Ford in the “Air Force One” action thriller. Did I leave anybody out? Who’s left?
Elizabeth Hurley may be getting closer to settling down with someone, if not with Hugh-know-who. The dear girl has just plunked down more than $1.5 million for a posh London townhouse. It’s in chic Chelsea, has five bedrooms, in case anyone wants to stretch out, and is tall and slender like Liz herself.
Liz will soon be seen in the Mike Myers’s spy spoof, “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” wherein Mimi Rogers plays a secret agent wrapped neck to toe in a skin-tight black leather bodysuit, wowie.
Perhaps the most sought-after invitation of the social scene this summer is to the wedding in France of Princess Zahra, the only daughter of Karim Aga Khan and his divorced wife, the Begum Salima. The big celebration, reportedly costing a million, will be held on June 21 at Aiglemont, the Aga Khan’s Chantilly estate, which is, need I mention, nothing to sneeze at. When she isn’t marrying Mark Boyden, who is English and the son of a landowner, she plays polo, just like dear old dad.
The Cycladic Art Foundation sailed off aboard the good ship Princess for a gala cruise on the Hudson and hundreds of black-tied guests mingled from starboard to port in support of this great cultural tradition. Shelby White and Alecko Papamarkou were chairmen of the evening, and Chryss O’Reilly, Estelle Sotirhos and Doda Voridis were co-chairmen. The evening starred Dolly Goulandris of the famous Greek family whose foundation established the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens that was inaugurated 10 years ago by the late Melina Mercouri, the actress who was then Greece’s minister of culture. Dolly and her late husband Nicholas began collecting Cycladic and other Greek antiquities in the early 1960s, the basis for the museum’s now vast collection, which has been shown at many museums, including the Louvre, the British Museum and The National Gallery in Washington. Among the throng of Cycladic mavens on the Princess: the stunning Shahbanou of Iran, Princess Marie-Chantal and Prince Pavlos of Greece, Princess Marina and Princess Alexandra of Greece, Louise and Henry Grunwald, Lord and Lady Quinton, Anne and Jim Sitrick, Veronica Hearst, Wendy and Bill Luers, Kiki and Jim Nicholas, Lauren and John Veronis, Deborah and Nicholas Zoullas, Katie Zoullas, Leon Levy, Bettina Zilkha, Judy and Alfred Taubman, Allison and Leonard Stern, Pierre Durand, Donna and Bill Acquavella, Pauline Trigere, John Saladino, masses of Coumantaroses, masses of Goulandrises, Anne Slater, John Cahill, Khalil Rizk, Norma and Charlie Dana and others too cultivated to mention.
Paige Rense, The Queen of the Shelter Magazine, was honored at the Plaza by Pratt Institute at its Founder’s Dinner, and the honoree, the editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, turned up in black chiffon with the occasional diamante glittering on her, well, bodice. A beautifully turned-out crowd of 400 greeted her, and Brendan Gill, the world’s greatest living master of ceremonies, dinner chairman Steve Florio of Conde Nast, Paul Goldberger, Bruce Newman, Dominick Dunne and I lauded her from the podium. Accepting her crystal Founder’s Award for her contributions to journalism and design, Paige, who would rather say a gracious “thank you” and sit down, treated the guests to a graceful speech that allowed us to see what makes her tick. As she has received a dozen prestigious awards before this one, maybe it comes as second nature. In the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom for the party: Susan Mary Alsop, the Washington social luminary, Duane and Mark Hampton, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, John Loring, James Fulton and Thomas Schutte of Pratt Institute, Pilar and Juan Pablo Molyneux, Nancy and John Pierrepont, Mario Buatta, Ellin and Renny Saltzman, Ann Downey, Judy Green, Alexandra Penney and others too designing and decorative to mention.
The Maternity Center Association will hold a gala dinner-dance at Windows on the World Thursday night with 250 guests expected. The party will honor the memory of the late Carola Warburg Rothschild, the New York philanthropic leader who served as an MCA volunteer for more than 40 years and was president of the organization from 1951 to 1964. She was a wonderfully imposing figure and a great friend of the late wonderfully imposing Lord Mountbatten of Burma. It was marvelous to see them in a room together while wondering who was more imposing than whom. The evening will see the first presentation of MCA’s newly established Carola Warburg Rothschild Award for outstanding contributions to the health of women and their families. The recipients are Alice Stone Ilchman, the chairman of The Rockefeller Foundation and the president of Sarah Lawrence College, and Dr. Ruth Watson Lubic, a leading authority in maternity care who directed MCA for more than 20 years. Alice Stone Ilchman’s award will be presented by MCA board chairman Phyllis Rothschild Farley, Carola Warburg Rothschild’s daughter, who is continuing her family’s long tradition of community service. Brava.
(It’s plain to see that the column has run out of room — so on Friday read all about Princess Michael of Kent, the lovely Marie-Christine, and her visit to New York, complete with bells and whistles, ruffles and flourishes and parties up to her diadem.)