Byline: Aileen Mehle
Sexy Kelly LeBrock is having no trouble at all forgetting her erstwhile husband Steven Seagal, the muscle man. Kelly’s been seen in the swank Swiss ski resort of Gstaad schussing the trails with the able assistance of handsome Jeffrey Moore, son of Roger. Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.
That yellow turban disguise hasn’t fooled Brad Pitt’s countless fans who by now are surely accustomed to seeing the darling sport’s startling coifs in “Seven” and “12 Monkeys.” His ardent admirers have been keeping a sharp eye on his house-hunting jaunts out in the Hamptons with his beloved, Gwyneth Paltrow. The Pitters want to be there if — and when — Brad and Gwyneth decide to land.
That eensy-weensy little hoedown — it only cost $2.5 million bucks — that Brazilian plastics tycoon Gilberto Scarpa and his wife Enriqueta gave in the Uruguyan resort, Puenta del Este, to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, brought out the beauties and their jewels and the press with their notebooks. And, of course, the wild photographers and their handy little cameras. The party had been planned for four years and it showed. Everyone celebrated was there, including the renowned Brazilian plastic surgeon, Ivo Pitanguy, who was reportedly heard to announce, “Half the women here are my faces.” Dear Ivo.
The Scarpas flew in 30,000 orchids and 1,200 bottles of Cristal champagne, and 300 multilingual waiters took care of the 554 guests’ every want. Everyone was dressed to the teeth and beyond, and when a certain lady arrived in a short dress, she was turned away at the door. (She changed into something long she borrowed from someone — she made the switch in the parking area — and returned in splendor and triumph.) The party took place in a huge, specially created plexiglass palace about the size of New York’s Tavern on the Green, which absolutely amazed even the most jaded partygoers who thought they’d seen it all.
Catherine Deneuve, who flew in from Paris, sat at the host’s right. This rather discomfited a diamond-flashing Gina Lollobrigida, who felt she’d been slighted and refused to sit at the same table because she wouldn’t put up with a less exalted placement than Deneuve’s. Don’t you love it? Gina also made it clear that Deneuve, dressed head to toe by Yves Saint Laurent, was wearing fake jewels. The females in the real thing felt more than safe, what with 130 security guards on the premises.
The Duchess d’Orleans trotted out all the family’s jewels, and Princess Ira von Furstenberg, there with her 37-year-old beau, dazzled in dazzling Bulgari baubles. They and all the others partook of their own individual lashings of caviar, each eating from tins the size of cereal bowls. After the lobster dinner, 300 young things came in at 3 A.M., all dressed in white, to dance to a sensational tango band and the music of 126 musicians. Elsa Martinelli held court, eager to tell about the book she is writing, called, “I Am The Way I Am.” Not that anybody thought she wasn’t. But more of all this anon.
Mr. and Mrs. William Francis Buckley Jr. — Bill and Pat to their bevy of friends — have flown off to Gstaad for their annual winter sojourn on the slopes. Well, actually, not so much on the slopes as in their cozy chalet, where Bill writes books and Pat runs the menage in a manner to gladden the heart of Martha Stewart, plays cards and entertains the Gstaad elite — there’s another kind? Pat boarded the plane fighting the flu, and the Buckleys’ three Cavalier King Charles spaniels traveling with her were in the throes of the pip, but nobody ever promised any of them a rose garden, right? Furthermore, the Buckleys are conversant with chaos, having coped with such natural disasters in the past as squirrels staking claim to the roof of their Connecticut house; big, fat, miserable geese landing on the lawn, and the odd skunk or two aiming at the doggies and not missing, forcing Mrs. Buckley to scour the local supermarkets for all the tomato juice in stock to deodorize her three darlings. Who else would tell you these things? Certainly not Martha Stewart, who can surely put tomato juice to more delicate use.
Before the Buckleys set out for Switzerland, they gave a big party at Mortimer’s to toast Bill’s baby sister, Carol, who has just written a book about her life called, “At the Still Point.” The memoir is nothing if not candid — certainly it took incredible guts to strip away her inhibitions and put her naked soul on display. It is also a surprising account of how it felt as odd baby out in an affluent, privileged family of achievers, almost all of her numerous siblings much older and off living their lives before she was scarcely out of the nursery. Carol Buckley reveals how she hit bottom, despaired and eventually found peace and contentment, an inspirational autobiography to which many women can relate in at least some, if not all, aspects.
Mortimer’s was crowded with friends wishing blue-eyed Carol and her book well. There they all were — Louis Auchincloss, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Frank Richardson, Shirly and Richard Clurman, Kenneth Jay Lane, D. Keith Mano, Judy and Sam Peabody, the Tom Pullings, Lee Thaw, Warren Steibel, Renata Adler, Joe Armstrong, such Buckleys as Aloise and Priscilla, the Richard Brookhisers, Louise and Henry Grunwald, Bootsie and Evan Galbraith, Catia and Schuyler Chapin, Tim Forbes, Marilyn Evins, John Funt, Mica and Ahmet Ertegun etc., etc., etc., and on and on and on.
The Red Ball, a benefit for the Mary Lea Johnson Richards Institute and The Children’s Advocacy Center of Manhattan, is all set for Feb. 14 at the Plaza. Marty Richards, the producer, chose this date because Valentine’s Day was one of his late wife Mary Lea’s favorite holidays. The guests of honor that night are Georgette and Bob Mosbacher and movie stars Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, who, though not married, have been together for 10 years, the sweet things. Several designers have been busy sewing up red dresses for the ladies, and the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom will be a symphony in romantic red. Vic Damone will sing and the Don DeMarco Orchestra and the Curtis Strings will do the music. The Johnson family — and these are the Johnsons of Johnson & Johnson, rest assured — will be represented by such as Sale and Woody Johnson and their daughter Casey, Jennifer and Joseph Duke, Diana and Bertram Firestone, Elaine and Keith Wold, Beth Wold Johnson, Elizabeth Ross Johnson, James and Seward Johnson Jr. and Diana Douglas Darrid, who is Mary Lea Johnson Richards’ cousin and also Michael Douglas’s mother. At least 500 guests are expected, among them the Mayor and Mrs. Giuliani, all hearty and flowery.
When Betty Scripps presides at the Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach on Feb. 14, she’ll sweep in in a white taffeta ballgown designed by Arnold Scaasi with an off-the-shoulder bodice of white tulle embroidered with crystal and pearl leaves over pale pink satin. With it, Betty will wear a ruby and diamond tiara from Van Cleef & Arpels, which is even now in the process of being assembled for her. I don’t have to tell you — you never want to hurry a tiara.