Helena Bonham-Carter, who is nothing if not picturesque, was recently spotted strolling with Kenneth Branagh, with whom she has been linked, and they were wearing his-and-hers outfits. Sweet, that. Helena has been circumspect about their relationship, but gossipy acquaintances say she and Emma Thompson’s estranged husband have been thick for more than a year. Branagh calls her “Helsa.” Very sweet, that. Helena’s just finishing “Twelfth Night” with Ben Kingsley, and Branagh is shooting a 3 1/2-hour “Hamlet.”
The infamous Imelda Marcos, interviewed for British TV, was surrounded by her nearest and dearest, at least 5,000 shoes. Not hers really, just lent by a manufacturer. “Well-wishers keep giving me shoes,” Immy is said to have said. “I probably have more pairs now than when I was the wife of the president [the late Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines].” She goes on to say, “Cory [Aquino] may have found shoes in my cupboard, but they didn’t find any skeletons.” Maybe not, but Cory, who succeeded F. Marcos as president, sure knew where some bodies were buried.
Sir Ian McKellen, lighting up the screen as “Richard III” dressed e la Hitler, will next be seen on HBO playing another legendary royal, Czar Nicholas II, in “Rasputin.” Raspy will be portrayed by another actor noted for his villainous roles, Alan Rickman, who can also play sweet and darling as he did in “Sense and Sensibility,” cast completely against type.
Prepare yourselves for Julia Roberts in a coming flick, playing Robyn Davidson, the dashing adventurer who trekked across Australia’s Gibson Desert with only four-footed creatures, namely four camels and a dog, as her sole companions. There are Hollywood cats who say that’s better than crossing the sands with some two-footed dog who calls himself an actor. They can be mean out there. Only the camel seems to have escaped unscathed.
Burt Bacharach, who makes all that beautiful music, and his wife, Jane, are thrilled over their new, month-old, baby daughter, Raleigh. One of the many reasons is she has a wonderful horoscope promising her fame and fortune. That’s the way it goes when the Sun is conjoined with Jupiter, and Venus is conjoined with Uranus — but who doesn’t know that.
Bill Blass will be San Francisco’s valentine when he appears at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Valentine Ball on Valentine’s Day to present his spring runway show. Saks Fifth Avenue is sponsoring the event as a benefit for the Museum. Cocktails and the fashion show will take place at the Center for the Arts in Yerba Buena Gardens before everyone pops into the museum for dinner and dancing. Charlotte Swig, San Francisco’s chief of protocol, is the chairman of it all (she will be wearing a dress designed by Blass, you can count on it), and representing Saks from New York will be Anne and Philip Miller, Allison and Brian Kendrick and Rose Marie Bravo and William Jackey. Among the big-shot San Franciscans coming for the fun will be such as Sally Debenham, Ann and Gordon Getty, Denise and Prentis Cobb Hale, Danielle Steel, Mayor Willie Brown, Jo Schuman Silver, Carol Shorenstein Hays and the Charles Schwabs. They all just love Bill, and he just loves them back.
Elizabeth Hurley, wearing a handful of shimmering white sequins, simply knocked them dead at the big party at the Museum of Modern Art celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of EstAe Lauder. She is Lauder’s beautiful model, of course, and she was there with her boyfriend Hugh Grant, who seemed eminently devoted, stopping between bites of Glorious Food’s caviar pie, breast of chicken and poached pears in Dutch chocolate to look at her lovingly and kiss her hand. All this took place in the MoMA’s dining room, which Robert Isabell had filled with fragrant spring flowers, and all the Lauder family — Leonard and Evelyn, Ronald and Jo Carole, William and Karen, Gary and Laura and Aerin and Jane — had filled with about 400 of their friends and associates. The evening coincided with the closing of the Mondrian exhibit, which some of the guests were seeing for the first time. Some of the lucky ones even got a peek at the museum’s new Brancusi show, opening next.
Among those congratulating the family on its tremendous success through the years with its great and ever-growing cosmetics giant were such as Punch Sulzberger; Liz Tilberis; Willow Bay and Bob Iger; Helen Gurley Brown; Grace Mirabella and William Cahan; the famed photographer Victor Skrebneski; Shirley Lord Rosenthal and Abe Rosenthal; Kelli and Allen Questrom; Sue and Donald Newhouse; Lydia and Bob Forbes; Glenn Lowry, who heads MoMA; Karen Graham, who was EstAe Lauder’s first “signature” model; Jane and Louis Gropp, and on and on into the night.
When Save Venice gives its annual Carnevale di Venezia on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center, encompassing the Rainbow Room, the Pavilion Room and Rainbow and Stars, on Jan. 29, guests can expect all sorts of fun things like mimes, singing gondoliers, jugglers and stilt-walkers like the ones that used to entertain at great masked balls in the Venice of yore. They will wander through the rooms and thrill the populace. Many of the young are coming and they will be dressed to the teeth in dominoes and plumes and hats and fans and what have you. All very commedia dell’arte with Harlequin, Colombine and Pantalone, Pulcinella, acrobats and, for the dancing, Peter Duchin and his orchestra. Mrs. Lamberto Dini is expected to show — is her husband still Italy’s prime minister? — the chairman is Laurence Lovett and the co-chairs are Beatriz Santo Domingo, Lee Thaw, Francis Kellogg and Kenneth Jay Lane. Behind all this is Bea Guthrie, the dynamic redhead who directs Save Venice, Inc. and does it with grace and flair. She would like you to know that masks and costumes are preferred, but, if you can’t hack it, a mask and black tie will do. Avanti!