They were falling all over Elle Macpherson at the Sundance Film Festival, trying to get near her and trying to get a ticket for Elle’s new flick, “If Lucy Fell.” Among those doing the falling were David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc (“Friends”) and a pushy producer, all trying to get the big Elle to pose for a photo with them, whether she’s taller or not. She has to be.
On Feb. 6, President Ronald Reagan will be 85 years old, an age only five former Presidents of the United States have reached. A touching tribute has been planned to celebrate Reagan’s birthday, and within what seemed like hours after the save-the-date cards had gone out — the invitations weren’t even ready — 500 people had accepted. The party will be held at Chasen’s, the famed Hollywood restaurant that closed because the times they are a’ changin’. But for that night only, Chasen’s will open in full swing, just like in the glory days. All the restaurant’s bartenders, captains, waiters and the boys who park cars will be on hand. Since the restaurant is not big enough to handle the crowd, a tent will be set up in the parking lot to catch the overflow. Everywhere there will be blowups of pictures of Ronald Reagan taken through the years, beginning when he was a little boy with dreams.
Chasen’s held a very special place in the Reagans’ history. “That’s where Ronnie proposed to me,” says Nancy, “and where we decided where we would marry and when. Ronnie’s 60th and 80th birthday parties were at Chasen’s, and they catered our parties at the ranch in Santa Barbara.”
Ronald Reagan is not able to be present at his party — his only public appearances these days are at church or on the golf course with dear friends — but many of those who admire and respect him will be there to honor him — Colin Powell; former President Gerald Ford; California Gov. Pete Wilson; and from New York, Casey and Abe Ribicoff, Louise and Henry Grunwald and more, more, more. Talk about your outpouring of warmth. Oh, and Merv Griffin and Johnny Mathis will entertain, and all proceeds will go to the Ronald Reagan Library in California’s Simi Valley.
New York Hospital’s “Cabaret ’96” gala, the 13th in a series of parties to benefit the hospital was really a cabaret this year. It starred Liza Minnelli singing her big heart out on the stage of the New York State Theater — who will ever forget her Sally Bowles in the Broadway hit “Cabaret?” — and went on to a big glamorous party afterward on the theater’s Promenade, very Belle Epoque and toujours Toulouse-Lautrec. Designer Martin Izquierdo — you have not heard the last of him — went all out to create a fabulous setting with marvelous lighting, scrims, canopies, umbrellas, flower carts, mirrors and period sconces, if you please. The scrims, some 20 feet by 30 feet, dropped from high above the Promenade, depicting such Toulouse-Lautrec subjects as Jane Avril, Yvette Guilbert, the Eiffel Tower, a balloon ascension and painted three-dimensional trees inspired by Raoul Dufy. Period lampposts and huge lighted signs and windmills recalled such bygone Paris landmarks as the Moulin Rouge and the CafA du Dome. Two Art Nouveau entrances were created by Izquierdo over stairways and at either end of the Promenade. Quelle joie!
Carroll Petrie, chic in a blue, terminally pleated Mary McFadden evening dress, and Ron Lynch were the co-chairmen of the evening. Peter and John Loeb, the noted philanthropists who have supported the hospital over the years, and Walter Wriston, who has done the same, were honored for their good work, and in the mammoth crowd were such as Kathy Wriston, Elly and John Elliot, Sarah and George Baker, Louella and Frank Bennack, Ala and Ralph Isham, Cathy and Ace Greenberg, Patricia Patterson, Lisa and David Schiff, Mary and Peter Kalikow, Lally Weymouth and Eric Breindel, Charlotte Ford, Anne Ford with Jamie Niven, Jayni and Chevy Chase, Johnny Galliher, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Gail Hilson, Kathleen Hearst, Julia Flesher and David Koch, Arnold Scaasi, Parker Ladd, Hillie and David Mahoney, Connie and John McGillicuddy, Dr. Rees Pritchett, Joan and Sandy Weill and on and on into the night.
When Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and brother John presented the first Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal to Brendan Gill last year in those incredible rooms at the Park Avenue Armory, the party was such that people are still talking about it. Even those gadabouts who have been to 356 parties since then. Now its JKO Medal time once again, and this year’s recipient is the gifted architect I.M. Pei, Jackie’s great friend and collaborator. It was Pei, inspired by Jackie, who designed the spectacular John F. Kennedy Library on Massachusetts Bay. Jackie chose him because like so many others — Paul Mellon and Francois Mitterrand for two — she knew that his was a remarkable talent.
Pei’s work modernizing Washington’s National Gallery through the addition of the magnificent East Wing attracted Mitterrand soon after he began his first term as president of France. The result is, of course, the glass pyramid that rose from the Louvre, a glittering monument that is now the centerpiece of that museum’s Cour Napoleon. Though controversial from the first, after a few years the pyramid has become almost as familiar a symbol in Paris as the Eiffel Tower.
When the Municipal Art Society, with Duane Hampton and Chanel’s Arie Kopelman as chairmen, gathers the Society’s fans and supporters on Feb. 27, it will be at a different armory, this one on Lexington Avenue. That’s where — get ready — the Society will build a pyramid almost equal in size to the Pei-designed one at the Louvre. It is sincerely to be hoped that everyone will just gasp and swoon in admiration and awe and whatever. Certainly I.M. Pei should feel right at home. That night, Caroline and John will hand him the medal named for their mother right smack in the middle of the pyramid. Expected to take it all in are such shining examples of the culturati as Mercedes and Sid Bass, Claire and Vartan Gregorian, Richard Meier, Kate Paley, Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, John Loring, Tiziana and Hugh Hardy and Jane and Peter Marino, art lovers to their fingertips. But you knew that.
Pat and Bill Buckley gave a book party at Mortimer’s for Bill’s sister Carol, whose new book, “At the Still Point,” has just come out. In the crowd were Alice Mayhew of Simon & Schuster, Frank Richardson, Shirley and Dick Clurman, and Pia Lindstrom. But more of all lists on Friday.