Byline: Aileen Mehle

Charlotte Rampling, as elegant as she is skinny, has not been letting the grass or, really, anything else, grow under her feet since she and her husband, Jean-Michel Jarre, called it a jour. She’s had her picture taken by every paparazzo in St. Tropez, vacationing with executive Jean Noel Tassez, and they don’t look like they hate each other. You can see Charlotte next in “The Wings of the Dove.” She’s the skinny, elegant one, but Helena Bonham Carter gets top billing.

Universal’s new romantic comedy, “For Richer of Poorer,” couldn’t possibly be more topical. It stars Kirstie Alley and Tim Allen as a quintessential New York couple circa 1987 — high-living, unhappily married Manhattanites who suddenly discover they owe the IRS $5 million in back taxes and take it on the lam. With two dreadful IRS agents in pursuit, they flee the frantic city scene, winding up in Amish country, where they hide out posing as long-lost relatives of a local farming family. Oh, laughlaughlaughlaughlaugh.

Model mogul Katie Ford will stand beside Nancy Novograd and Ed Kelly of Travel & Leisure magazine tonight to receive 400 of the most elegant and skinny. What it’s all about is a party in SoHo celebrating 50 years of Ford — the model agency, dearies, not the car — and showcasing past and present Ford models. Among those hitting the runway in fashions of the future will be Christie Brinkley wearing Calvin Klein, Patricia Velasquez in Todd Oldham, Carmen in Armani, Karen Elson in Chanel, Rachel Hunter in Badgley Mischka and Elaine Irwin, whose rocker husband, John Mellencamp, will be in the audience — clap hands. Eileen and Jerry Ford will receive an award and their dream trip to Egypt and Turkey on the Seabourne Cruise Line to acknowledge their influence on fashion and travel photography. Expected are such as Nina Griscom, Stephen Meisel, Francesco Scavullo, Ann and Mick Jones, Patrick Demarchelier, Randolph Duke, Brian and Keith McNally and a lot of other pretty things.

When Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” was performed at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time, Cecilia Bartoli’s singing in the title role brought down the house, a house that included all those opera worshippers you love and adore. You know, like Jayne Wrightsman, Charles Ryskamp, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Beverly Sills and Peter Greenough, Albert Vilar (who underwrote the performance), British Ambassador to the United Nations Sir John Weston and Lady Weston, Met General Manager Joseph Volpe and Mrs. Volpe, Mercedes and Sid Bass, the Italian Ambassador to the United Nations and Mrs. Paolo Fulci, Felipe Propper de Callejons, Gilbert Kahn, Elizabeth and Alton Peters and others too tra-la-la to mention. After the performance, conducted by James Levine, all these lovely people repaired to the Grand Tier, there to sup on a Glorious Food repast of hors d’oeuvres, grilled quail, pasta with pheasant and pear Charlotte with caramel ice cream midst lush arrangements by Bill Tansey of terra-cotta roses, English hydrangeas and orange dahlias on cut crystal pedestals centered on gold organza tablecloths. All too black-tie for words. Running the evening with her usual finesse and aplomb was the Met’s director of special events, the one and only Mrs. Ezra (Cecile) Zilkha. For more about her and the famille Zilkha, see below.

Ezra Zilkha, the New York financier and philanthropist who is such an ami to France, filled the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue — it was standing room only — when he was made an Officier de la Legion d’Honneur for his good deeds in a naughty world. Francois Bujon de l’Estang, the French Ambassador to the U.S., presented the honor to Ezra, while Patrick Gautrat, the French Consul General in New York, looked on. Just about every big name in New York and all points of the compass was there — Michel Fribourg, Brooke Astor, Lady (Grace) Dudley and Robert Silvers, Paul Volcker, Veronica and Randolph Hearst, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Edith and Philippe de Montebello, Donna and Bill Acquavella, Lucky Roosevelt of Washington, Bootsie and Evan Galbraith (our former ambassador in France), Mercedes and Sid Bass, Conrad Black, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Sue and Donald Newhouse, Happy Rockefeller, Lily Safra, Betty and Virgil Sherrill, Wendy and Bill Luers, Marilyn and Don Hewitt, Patty and Gustavo Cisneros, Mica Ertegun, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Robert Forbes, Tim Forbes, Grace Mirabella and Bill Cahan, our former Ambassador to France Walter Curley and Mrs. Curley, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Jane and Jim Hoagland, Nathaniel de Rothschild, the John Irwins, Chris and Bruce Crawford, Virginia and Freddie Melhado, Jamie Niven, Khalil Rizk, Judy Ney, Alfred Taubman, John Whitehead, Mme. Bujon de l’Estang, and Ezra Zilkha’s brother, Selim, darling daughter Bettina, son Donald and wife, the one and only Cecile Zilkha.

For decades, Pierre Cardin has been regarded as one of the greats of the French couture. Since the early 1980s, the French government has treated him as a national treasure, one of the grands seigneurs of French Arts and Letters. And to prove it, Cardin was made a Chevalier of the Legion de l’Academie des Beaux Arts, jeweled sword and all. He has always been a doer of good deeds, and now he is devoting his energies and resources to AIDS research. As such, Cardin is coming to New York to give a welcoming dinner at Maxim’s (which incidentally he owns) for Dr. Luc Montagnier, the president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention and the co-discoverer of the AIDS virus, who has been named a distinguished professor at Queens College of the City University of New York. Expected at the Nov. 12 event are such as Jeanne Moutoussamy (Arthur Ashe’s widow), Joe Armstrong, Mario Buatta, Jan Cowels, Elizabeth Peabody, Anne Slater, Peter Rogers and a lot of others just like them.

One of the reasons for the big smile on Blaine Trump’s pretty face is because The Race to Deliver, one of God’s Love We Deliver’s biggest fund-raisers, raised half a million dollars and drew over 500 runners and walkers. The big supporters were Polo Sport Ralph Lauren (the Fitness Fragrance) and Men’s Health. GLWD is Blaine’s baby, and every dollar raised goes to feed those with AIDS who cannot fend for themselves. Pierre Cardin, meet Blaine Trump.

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