Byline: Aileen Mehle

Who showed up at the Tribeca Film Center for a screening of “Fargo” but that pretty pair of lovers, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt. At the buffet and reception afterwards, mingling with the crowd, Gwyneth said she was still blushing over Brad’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards at which he proclaimed his love for her for all the world to hear. Romance lives!
As for what Gwyneth plans to wear to the Academy Awards, it’s Calvin Klein all the way, peach-colored, has straps and, as she described it, “looks beautiful on the hanger.” And then, “I don’t know how it will look on me,” she added modestly. She shouldn’t lose much sleep worrying about that. Whatever, though several other designers were after her to wear their clothes on that fateful night, she immediately chose Calvin because “his clothes are classic and simple.” Gwyneth says she really likes fashion, but she doesn’t pretend to know a lot about it. “In fact, the less I know, the better off I am. That’s the way I’d like to keep it.” So that’s her message for the day.
As for her relationship with Brad and the attention and publicity it draws, she remarks with a big smile, “It’s been a year already. Sometimes we notice it more than others, but when we’re not out at things like this tonight, we’re really very simple.” Or as simple as the most glamorous couple of the year can manage.

The word is Ralph Fiennes, in London, is negotiating to star in a production of Chekov’s “Ivanov” for the London stage, which he would then bring to New York. Of course, all involved would just love to repeat the formula of his extraordinary Broadway performance as “Hamlet,” which followed the London success that tested his mettle and established his sex appeal.

Burt Bacharach is off to Dubai, and he’s taking his horsie with him. And some horsie it is, too. Called Soul of the Matter, he’s a champion, and Burt will enter him in the $4 million World Cup race in Dubai on March 27. The race is by invitation only and all expenses are paid. Before all this, Burt will be London-bound on March 16 to promote his new album, “The Look of Love.” Burt knows the look well.

The new book “Elizabeth: A Biography of Britain’s Queen,” though treated to scandalous excerpts in the London tabloids, still leaves the Queen on her pedestal. Prince Philip does not fare so handsomely. But frankly, they really don’t give a damn in Palm Beach, where Philip arrives next week for the March 15 gala at The Breakers, to be the guest of honor at the fund-raiser for Friends of the Youth Awards Inc., an evening supported by any number of powerful corporate chairmen, and Ann Appleman as chairman of the dinner dance. A prince is a prince is a prince, and love him or hate him, he is still the Queen’s husband.
As for private parties for Phil, Celia Lipton Farris, the British-born wealthy widow, will give him a cocktail reception before The Breakers’ main event at her splendid villa, once owned by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, the American heiress and grandmother of the present Duke of Marlborough. She has put up a tent all done in red, white and blue and flying Union Jacks and Old Glorys. At least 200 guests are expected to mingle under the crystal chandeliers whilst listening to Scottish bagpipers. Palm Beach Brits such as Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill, Linda Metcalfe Mortimer, Major and Mrs. Stanley Cayzer and Princess Diana’s cousin, Col. G. Robert Spencer, will all be up front and center, and not too far behind will be a posse of plain old American royals-junkies.
All the top dogs in this local charity group have also been invited aboard The Britannia, the royal yacht moored in the Port of Palm Beach simply because it is too, too mammoth to be docked at a Palm Beach slip. As you may recall, the Queen is giving up The Britannia and one day soon she may go into mothballs — the yacht; never, never the Queen!
Philip will also be the luncheon guest of Barbara Wainscott and David Berger at Elephant Walk, the Palm Beach house they bought from Marylou Whitney when she decided to take her Florida custom elsewhere, like Miami. This will be small and private and probably right down Prince Philip’s alley; by that time, he’ll have enjoyed as much handshaking and twittering as he can stand.

Another member of the royal family, Princess Michael of Kent, married to the Queen’s first cousin, did herself proud speaking at the Versailles/Giverny Foundation dinner at the Carlyle. A blonde, statuesque beauty dressed in an aquamarine evening suit and aquamarine and pearl jewelry to match her aquamarine eyes and pearly teeth (yes, I know, I know), the Princess lectured on the 17th century royal garden at Heidelberg to a rapt audience, which seemed all but overcome by her sense of drama and charm. Now there’s a performer! Before dinner, the guests gathered for cocktails at the Fifth Avenue apartment of Elizabeth and Patrick Gerschel — he is the grandson of the late, famed financier Andre Meyer — which goes on forever and has some of the most spectacular views in the whole city. It once belonged to Marjorie Merriweather Post, so is there any more to say?
The evening was run by Barbara Portago, the new vice president of the foundation, who looked more than Jacobean in low-cut, wine velvet. Her mother, Florence Van der Kemp, wore black lace and an antique necklace and earrings. And these are just some of the people who were there: Jan Cowles; Ann Reinking; Michael Bloomberg; Gretchen and Eugene Grisanti; Doda Voridis; Tamara Guilden; Jamie Figg; Janice Levin; Judy and Peter Price; Anne Sutherland Fuchs and Jim Fuchs; Anne Hearst; Herbert Black; Harriette and Noel Levine; Coco Kopelman; Michele Herbert; Beth Rudin DeWoody and Paolo Pellegrini, who will marry as soon as her divorce is final; Sue Railey; Kimberly and Steven Rockefeller; Jill Sackler, of the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum Sacklers; Raul Suarez of Sotheby’s; the Guy Wyser-Pratts, and, oui, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger of the French champagne family, who tried, in Princess Michael’s honor, one supposes, to convince the guests that the British invented champagne. Oh, well. Princess Michael set him straight: “I was born in Bohemia,” quoth she. It didn’t stop him. So much for Dom Perignon, the French monk generally believed to have discovered champagne. “I am drinking stars,” he shouted to his fellow monks when he first tasted the bubbly potion he had brewed — and he wasn’t talking about Wild Turkey.

On April 13, a dinner will be held on the lawns of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s legendary home, celebrating Jefferson’s 253rd birthday and the presentation of the first Thomas Jefferson Medal for Statesmanship to Margaret Thatcher, who is coming from England especially for the occasion. Betty and Ed Scripps of the newspaper Scrippses will donate $1 million to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, and the announcement of this munificence will be made by Rodman Rockefeller at the dinner for a select guest list of 150. David McCullough will introduce Baroness Thatcher, for whom, had he known her, Thomas Jefferson might have left home. No one knew better than our Tom that brains are sexy, too.

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