Byline: Aileen Mehle

It’s been Nancy Reagan this and Nancy Reagan that in both Washington and New York for the past week. In Washington, she was a special guest at the International Republican Institute’s Tribute to President Ronald Reagan, accepting the 1997 IRI Freedom Award on behalf of her husband and charming the crowd of friends and supporters gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Sen. John McCain was the chairman of the dinner, and Sen. Trent Lott and Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, both spoke glowingly of the inspiration Ronald Reagan was, and is, to so many in the world.
In New York, Robert Higdon, the director of the Prince of Wales Foundation and a great Reagan friend, gave a big dinner at Mortimer’s in Nancy’s honor, where the big news of the evening was that she was wearing Reagan Green, not Reagan Red. The world was there, and there was an awful lot of hugging and kissing going on. No wonder Nancy loves to come to New York. Everywhere you looked there were such Nancy-fans as Cecile and Ezra Zilkha; Blaine and Robert Trump; Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News; Linda Wachner, the business tycooness and dealmaker; Mary and Mike Wallace; Peggy Noonan; Sale Johnson; Lynn Wyatt, chic and stunning in shiny black; Paul Wilmot; Lisa McCree, fresh from Los Angeles and the new host of “Good Morning America”; Alexander Papamarkou; Libby and Basil Mavroleon; Nancy Collins; Betsy Bloomingdale; Astrid and Christopher Forbes; Lou Georges; C.Z. Guest; Gil Shiva; Kimberly and Steven Rockefeller; Casey Ribicoff; Carroll Petrie; Princess Firyal of Jordan; Nancy’s daughter Patti Davis; Buffy and Bill Cafritz, in from Washington; Agnes Gund; Lucile and Guy Peyrelongue; Jorie and Geoffrey Kent; Khalil Rizk; Veronica Hearst; Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera; Michael Fawcett; Mark Robertson; Donald Van de Mark; Pierre Durand; Scott Bessent; Boaz Mazor; Nan and Tommy Kempner; Kenneth Jay Lane; Pete Hathaway; Peter Brown; Bob Colacello; Nick Dunne; Tommy Corcoran, and on and on and on into the night. You would have loved it, especially if you were a Republican.

Mortimer’s is a hotbed that doesn’t cool off. The annual Fete de Famille Monday night was a blast. Hundreds and hundreds filled the tent alongside the restaurant, with Lauren Veronis and CeCe Kieselstein-Cord standouts in the crowd and Liza Minnelli making a grand entrance. (More of all this on Friday). Then there was blond beauty Pamela Gross’s big birthday party at the restaurant with a band that wouldn’t quit up on the bar and an awful lot of dancing going on. (More of this on Friday along with news of Carolina Herrera and Carolina Adriana Herrera’s launch of their new perfume, 212, and the big blast afterward at Balthazar. (So many parties, so little space.)

Paige Rense, the editor in chief of Architectural Digest, along with co-chairs Barbara Goldsmith and Brendan Gill, gave culture a big push at their evening at Lincoln Center to benefit the International Design Conference in Aspen. The highlight of the evening was a first-time screening of the film “Ceux de Chez Nous,” created by the famous French actor and filmmaker Sacha Guitry in 1914 and starring such geniuses as Renoir, Monet, Rodin and even Sarah Bernhardt, flirting on a park bench, the hussy. They were all friends of Sacha’s famous father, Lucien Guitry, as Sacha explained in the commentary. Most of these great artists wore beards to their waists, wide-brimmed hats and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes as they worked at their easels. Except for Sarah, of course, who, beardless, was content to sleep in her coffin. There was a dinner after the screening at the Kaplan Penthouse with everyone looking a little bit better-informed about art and all that than when they first walked in, sort of.

Prince Albert of Monaco arrives in New York this month for the 15th anniversary of the Princess Grace Awards, his mother’s favorite project. In celebration, there will be a gala on Oct. 30 at the Starlight Roof of the Waldorf, with Tyne Daly as mistress of ceremonies. Wendy Wasserstein and Susan Stroman are presenting the awards to young, upcoming aspirants in theater, dance and film, and Alex Donner and his Orchestra will be playing for the dancing. Lucinda C. Harding Jones and Laura Zeckendorf are the chairs of the evening, Pia Kazan is vice chairwoman, and among the underwriting chairs are Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Alan Slifka and Lily and Edmond Safra. Among the 400 guests expected: Princess Grace Foundation USA President John Lehman and his wife, Barbara; Anne Hearst; Bootsie and Evan Galbraith; Lynn Wyatt, and Princess Grace’s sister, Lizanne Levine. That should be enough right there.

Nature ruled at Tiffany’s fall table show, with hunter green velvet draped with magnolia leaves bedecking the Fifth Avenue emporium’s entrance and inside a display of lush tables decorated by such worthies as Christie Brinkley, Mrs. Roman (Helene) Martinez IV, Poppy Thomas, Mary and Robert Kennedy Jr., the brilliant Phyllis Cerf Wagner and Jessye Norman, who, you probably know already, sings a little. The guests felt as though they were on some sort of exotic flowery safari and, listen to this scoop, it was the first time that a canoe has ever been seen floating on the store’s second floor! What will those imaginative little devils think of next?
Tiffany President Mike Kowalski welcomed at least 400 nature lovers, including Pauline and Dixon Boardman, Daley and Gordon Pattee, Hilary Geary, Patricia Lawford, Betty Sherrill, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Alexis Gregory, Mario Buatta and Susan and Coleman Burke. The lovely things wandering around with butterflies, dragonflies, twigs and flowers in their chignons were all models, you’ll be relieved to hear. The event saluted four New York charitable organizations: The Wildlife Conservation Society, the New York Botanical Garden, Riverkeeper and the Central Park Conservancy. Keep our city green.

David Mlinaric, the noted British decorator whose international clientele is terribly terribly, is receiving kudos for the splendid job he did on the London showplace of press tycoon Conrad Black and his beauteous wife, the columnist Barbara Amiel. Mlinaric is also decorating the Blacks’ Park Avenue apartment and their new Palm Beach house, choosing fabrics and furnishings and all the rest of it. But the point should be made that the London architect Anthony Collett was responsible for designing the Blacks’ house there, and New York architects, Fairfax & Sammons, just completed the design of the Park Avenue place and are currently designing their Palm Beach house. Sometimes, decorators get all the credit for an entire project, whilst the poor, hardworking design architects are left out in the cold, forlorn and neglected. You and I would never want that to happen, now would we?

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