The Ladies who lunch in Beverly Hills are discussing the life and times of the perpetual romance starring Lyndal Hobbes and Al Pacino — again. The two have raised on-again, off-again love to an art form. The latest is that Lyndal is pushing Al to come up with a New York apartment as he spends more and more time here. She so wants their relationship to enter the permanent column. Al is more inclined to Column B, though he has made a settlement on her. Then, too, Lyndal wanted to adopt a baby. Al was not keen. Besides, there’s still Annie Prager, another of Al’s darlings, who lives in New York and whom Al finds hard to give up. Al is no crazy, woman-mad Howard Hughes with a dolly on every corner, but his friends say it’s that hot Italian blood that keeps him churning, the poverino.

Sharon Stone designed the new private screening room in her Los Angeles hacienda to resemble a Ralph Lauren beaded dress she was just crazy about. Did you ever? What will she think of next? You can see pictures of Sharon’s sexy little fantasy nest in April’s Architectural Digest, if this sort of thing excites you.
Yes indeedy, Sharon was so enamored of a silver and white beaded dress featured in Lauren’s fall collection, an homage to Thirties Hollywood glamour, that she had his design team recreate the look according to her lavish taste, this though the designer had never done a screening room before. Then she added her own little personal details — photos of Bette Davis and Orson Welles, a leather-bound scrapbook from “Casino” with photographs of every costume in the movie — for which she did not win an Academy Award — and an original poster from her newie, “Diabolique.” That was before the diabolical reviews of her and her latest movie, of course. Now she might feel inclined to rip it from the wall.

Even jaded partygoers, who have been there, done that — and that includes Americans and British alike — were all but pole-axed at the fabulous party her friend of the heart, Sir Jocelyn Stevens, threw at a British palace to celebrate the 50th birthday of his beloved Vivien Duffield, the British heiress, who inherited her late father, Sir Charles Clore’s, millions and millions of pounds — as in money. Close to 400 were invited to the extravaganza, which London’s Evening Standard saw fit to run in living color — or should that be colour — on its front page, extolling the “hooded falcons” and “dancing bears” entertaining the dancing swells. The Evening Standard did a terrific job describing the party — they didn’t even refer to the American guests, more’s the pity — so much of this information comes from the report. If nobody minds I’ll mention the Americans first. They’ve got to live too.
Among them were Mrs. William F. Buckley Jr., the ubiquitous Pat, who, just home from her annual sojourn with her distinguished husband at their chalet in Gstaad, turned right around and flew back to London for her friend’s birthday blast. Then there were Sid Bass, the tycoon, and his fashionable wife, Mercedes, graceful, strapless and bejeweled. Also Mica Ertegun of New York and Lynn Wyatt of the Houston Wyatts, who goes to all the best parties from Tucson to Timbuktu. D. Dixon Boardman, the New York investment banker, was more than impressed — and, as the saying goes, D. Dixon’s been to the St. Louis Fair twice.
The evening had a medieval theme, and the venue was Eltham Palace, described by the Evening Standard as once the favored — make that favoured — residence of “kings from Henry V to Charles I.” For the guests’ delectation there were stuffed swans and peacocks, gigolos to dance with the ladies (catch me, I’m falling!) and servants whose mission it was to wash the hands of those assembled and to sprinkle them with rosewater. At the banquet, acrobats, wenches, jesters, lute players and jugglers performed, all under a tent beautiful and extravagant enough to make the jaw drop — jaded jaw, remember.
A fanfare of trumpets summoned the guests to dinner, a simple little medieval meal — or fayre — described as follows with olde Englishe spellings intact: “Departed Motrews of Fisch; Rost Mutton and Rost Quayle; Blawmanger; Carotte Paste; Red Caboche; Leke and Onyonn; Warden Peers in Syrop; Lemmon Tarte with Goates Cheese.” Oh mye, oh mye, oh mee.
This was all brought to table via “a magnificent procession” featuring two swans, two peacocks, two hooded falcons, one cockerel, one hen, one eagle, 30 pheasants, a baron of beef and the odd stag. Actually, it was all a little odd — beautiful.
After Sir Jocelyn, the host, gave a speech, so did Vivien Duffield and her son George, and then the performers of the evening took over and, in a tribute to Vivien, who has been called “Queen of the Arts,” were dressed as famous women of history. This was the showstopper — Cleopatra, Queen Victoria, Emily Pankhurst, the Goddess Diana, Catherine the Great, Golda Meir, like that. And just listen to this, each and every one of them were wearing masks which were replicas of Vivien Duffield’s face! Oh mye, oh mye, oh mee.
All the top Brits were there — Norma Major, wife of Prime Minister John Major, Michael Heseltine, Lord and Lady Snowdon, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andrew Parker Bowles (ex-husband of the infamous Camilla) and his new wife, Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg (she is the designer Anouska Hempel) — and that only scratches the surface. But before bleeding hearts and breast-beaters and first-stone-casters in the audience start sniveling and whining about spending all that money on frivolity, let me hasten to remind you that Vivien Duffield is a philanthropist of the first water who gives vast amounts of her money to many charities. Besides, how many times is a woman 50? Maybe 10 years, if she plays it right.

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