Byline: Aileen Mehle
Ready for a little fix from Monaco? Ready or not, the newest news is that Princess Stephanie, perpetually in motion, has been adding her design input to the sportswear line of the six Replay Cafes in Europe. This bustling businesswoman is a partner in the casual eateries in both Barcelona and her hometown of Monte Carlo, where she can be found rather regularly at the counter helping the staff sell espresso, magazines and T-shirts. What if I tell you that the 40-something man behind the restaurants is Claudio Buziol, who is now behind, in front of and holding hands with Steph, who can really pick them. Did I mention that Claudio was one of Daniel Ducruet’s best friends, DD being Steph’s ex-husband? Have I brought to your attention the tidings that Prince Rainier is not amused? But then he hasn’t been for a very long time, give or take a Red Cross Ball or two.
The fall season is not only upon us but has grabbed us by the throat. Don’t even try to fight it; relax and roll with the punches and just remember — it only hurts when you laugh. Every fall in New York is a festival, and one of the most festive nights of all is the gala opening of Carnegie Hall on Oct. 6 when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — with Daniel Barenboim conducting and Yo-Yo Ma doing the honors on the cello — command the stage. You can’t get much better than that. There will be a pre-concert cocktail buffet in Carnegie Hall’s Rohatyn Room and a gala post-concert dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria. (You know of course that the Rohatyn Room is named for Felix Rohatyn, our new ambassaador to France, and his wife, Liz, but did you know that the Waldorf-Astoria was named after the odd Waldorf and the odd Astor? Just pulling your limb, dear readers.)
This opening is very black tie, practically ebony, and the gala co-chairmen are the extremely beautiful Marie-Josee Kravis and her extremely rich husband Henry Kravis. This is Carnegie Hall’s 107th season, and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette is the exclusive sponsor of opening night. What a sweet firm — and so profitable, too.
On Sept. 17, another bastion of culture, the New York Philharmonic, will celebrate its gala opening night and its music director, Maestro Kurt Masur’s 70th birthday all at the same time. The evening will be an absolute whirl of activity from the pre-concert gala reception to the actual concert (which will be conducted by Kurt Masur and broadcast nationwide on “Live From Lincoln Center” with lovely American soprano Renee Fleming as guest soloist) to the birthday dinner dance under a tent in Damrosch Park. Special musical guests will pay tribute to the German maestro, and every detail of the evening will be tailored to his tastes, right down to napkin rings made of his favorite all-American thing, bolo ties! Yippeeee! And this is who will be there: The gala’s chairmen Mr. and Mrs. Jon Corzine (Goldman Sachs & Co.), co-chairmen Mr. and Mrs J. Carter Bacot (The Bank of New York), Mr. and Mrs. Philip Laskawy (Ernst & Young), Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Levin (Time Warner Inc.) and Peter Jungen, who has to be a big shot himself or he wouldn’t be part of this big shot group.
Among the guests will be such worthies as the John Chalstys, Patty and Gustavo Cisneros, Senator and Mrs. Roy Goodman, Bette Bao Lord and Winston Lord, Paula and Dr. Leon Root, Lauren and John Veronis, Sir Andre Previn, Wynton Marsalis, Eileen and I.M. Pei, Itzhak Perlman, Carroll Petrie, Kate and Austin Hearst and others too tone-deaf to mention.
Let us now address ourselves to “A Royal Evening.” On Dec. 15, a champagne reception and dinner will burst forth in all its dazzlement at Sotheby’s with such very special guests as Her Majesty The Queen of Sweden, Her Majesty The Queen of Jordan, Crown Prince Henri of Luxembourg and Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Their august personal appearances are all but set in stone, and now there is even a tiny royal rumor floating about that handsome Crown Prince Felipe of Spain may also lend his presence. How do you say wow in Spanish?
The royals are coming to the fete to show their support for The Mentor Foundation, the evening’s sponsor, a U.S. charity based in Switzerland, whose goal it is to identify and prevent substance abuse in children and young people, working hand in hand with the World Health Organization. Proceeds from this glittering party will benefit two New York organizations, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) which is headed by the Hon. Joseph A. Califano Jr., and The Street Work, a local center for young people. And the chairman of the entire glamorous extravaganza is the entirely glamous Judy Taubman, who is also Mrs. A. Alfred Taubman, A. Alfred being the reigning power and then some at Sotheby’s. It’s so nice to give a party at a place where everybody knows your name.
La bella Carolina Herrera and her just as bella daughter, Carolina Adriana Herrera, are giving a party together to launch “212,” big Carolina’s new fragrance on which little Carolina also worked. Clever readers — and aren’t you all? — will have no trouble at all figuring out why the Carolinas called their new scent what they did. One of New York’s chicest area codes is 212 — but you knew that. Chic is the four letter word that keeps the fashion world alive. As for the party on Sept. 24, it will begin with cocktails at the Guggenheim Museum in SoHo and go on to dinner at Balthazar where the elite — and not so — meet to eat and stare at each other.
Let us not forget that on Oct. 20 in the Rainbow Room the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust will be celebrating their 10th anniversary with a splendid guest of honor, none other than the Duke of Devonshire, who will be making a special trip from England for the party. The chairmen of the evening are Iris Cantor, Marife Hernandez and Michael J. Meehan 2nd. No word yet as to whether the ebullient Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, will be able to fly over for the big night. The duchess, the youngest of the famed Mitford sisters of song and story, is called Debo by those who know her best and by certain name-droppers who don’t know her at all, the swine. When last heard from the duchess was busy feeding the chickens at ancestral Chatsworth, the Devonshires’ stateliest of stately homes. Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.