Byline: Aileen Mehle
Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret swept into town accompanied by her lady-in-waiting Lady Anne Glenconner and Anne’s husband, Lord Glenconner aka Colin Tennant, Margaret’s old tried-and-true friends. Dressed in pewter silk, Margaret (and her entourage) were dinner guests of Peter and Jane Marino and Christopher Walling at the Marinos’ magnificent apartment, which is fit for a princess — as well as for the Marinos, if you don’t mind. Peter is not a top international architect for nothing.
About 50 guests partook of a four-course sustenance on the second-floor gallery at two long flower-filled tables of such beauty that former ambassador Anne Cox Chambers, whose own garden in Provence is famous, was heard to remark that she’d never seen such loveliness. Dear Anne. The guest list was eclectic, the way Margaret likes it — does one always have to see the same old faces? — and included such worthies as Prince and Princess Alexander Romanoff, Princess Ludmilla Schwarzenberg and the Prince and Princess di Lampedusa. Then there were Anne Nitze; Marina Palma; Lynn Wyatt; Jessye Norman; Judy and Sam Peabody; Alice Mason; Doda Voridis; Sisi Cahan; Janine and J. Tomilson Hill; Jocelyn Kress; Judy Collins and Louis Nelson; Gretchen and James Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson Johnsons; Jennifer Johnson, also of the Johnson & Johnson Johnsons, with Joseph Duke; Beth Rudin DeWoody and her fiance, Paolo Pellegrini; Ashton Hawkins; Johnny Galliher; Gene Hovis; Thierry Millerand; Bobby Short; Peter Schub; John Richardson, and Peter Duchin, who made Princess Margaret happy playing the songs she loves on the piano after dinner, after which Mary Clere Haran made Margaret happy by singing the songs she loves. So nobody can ever say the hosts didn’t try, now can they?
Look what the high tide just washed in: Hobe Sound in Florida is the resort of choice for the elitest of the elite, an elegant enclave of Old-Guardism, a veritable nest of what WWD coined “Wobbly Wasps.” What seems like forever, Hobe Sound and the Jupiter Island Club were the queendom of the late Mrs. Joseph Verner Reed, the incomparable Permelia, who ruled the resort with an iron hand in a lace glove (velvet is outre in Florida) and saw to it that club members hewed to the line, which included a strict dress code. No sloppy, slobby attire would be tolerated, do you hear?
Upon her death, Permelia Reed’s estate was left to her children, and now, after two years of negotiations, the heirs to her 60 percent controlling shares in the Hobe Sound Company and the committee of the Jupiter Island Club are working on a serious $23 million proposal for the club’s 400 members to buy out the estate’s stock in the club. A letter of agreement has been sent to the members asking homeowners to respond with a $70,000 check and renters to respond with one for $35,000, or forget about the old golf game if you decide not to pony up. (Hobe Sound real estate slumped for two years, but now the word is, members seem likely to invest in the club and spruce up the place. Twelve houses have been sold in the last few weeks.)
The Wasps are paying a premium for their exclusivity, and some members believe the club’s buildings and land are worth closer to $10 million, but isn’t that always the way? Whatever, they will probably come up with the money — $23 million is more palatable than the original $60 million price the heirs asked.
Permelia Reed did a wonderful thing years ago when she donated land on the south end of the island and another piece across the water as a nature reserve. It’s a beautiful buffer zone where no one can build anything. This also allows the island residents to keep their views — and you to keep your distance.
Before the San Francisco multimillionaire Prentis Cobb Hale died recently, he and his wife Denise planned last December to give a little private dinner for Peggy and David Rockefeller when they visited San Francisco with members of the Americas Society International Advisory Council, which David Rockefeller founded. Rather than cancel, Denise went ahead with the dinner, inviting a small group to San Francisco’s glamorous Stars restaurant. There, in the new J.T. Room (named after Stars’ owner Jeremiah Tower), such worthies as Walter Shorenstein, Helen and Charles Schwab (of the discount Schwabs), Nancy and Paul Pelosi, Georgette and Robert Mosbacher, Emmy and Adolphus Andrews, Diana and Gorman Knowles, Nini Martin, John Traina and the Rockefellers’ daughter Eileen, who lives in San Francisco, and her husband Paul Growald sat down to such dainties as Black Truffles Custard with Prawns, Capon Breast and Passion Fruit Souffle. This was all purveyed on Denise’s own green tablecloths printed with pink cabbage roses, which exactly matched the pink shaded lamps with pink bulbs, which cast a pink glow, as if you had to be told. Mrs. Prentis Cobb Hale leaves nothing to chance. And it shows.
Before they left town, the Rockefellers gave their own dinner for the Americas Society International Advisory Council at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and attended a dinner in their honor given by Ann and Gordon Getty at their fabulous house in Pacific Heights, the one where the late decorator Sister Parish went all out. And it shows.
Princess Di’s little brother Earl Spencer and his wife Victoria, an alluring thing, have decided to call it a night and a day after six years and assorted children. This despite their move from gray London to the pleasant clime of South Africa. Of course, their split is more than overshadowed by big sister’s marital follies. Along those lines and realizing that timing is everything in life, those in charge are rushing ahead with the small-screen film of Anna Pasternak’s “Princess In Love,” the book Anna wrote with James Hewitt about his affair with the Princess of Wales. Julia Cox, who looks nothing like Di, will play Di and Christopher Villiers will portray the caddish and bounderish kiss-and-teller Hewitt, whom Diana unfortunately stumbled upon when she was looking for love in all the wrong places, something at which she excels.
The Olympics, so to speak, sailed into the Lumina Gallery on Spring Street in SoHo last night, where French Impressionist Andre Bourrie showed his painting “Passage Into Savannah,” which was commissioned by the Atlanta Olympic Committee. Bourrie is the “official Olympic aritist,” you see, so it was only fit that Victoria Hearst gave him a dinner afterward at Iridium. A portion of the sales of “Passage Into Savannah” limited edition lithographs will help support the U.S. Olympic teams. Rah! Rah! Rah!