Are Madeleine Stowe of your movie screen and mine and her husband, Brian Benben, expecting next year? A baby, that is? Patty and Marty Raynes certainly are — twins by a surrogate mother, and they couldn’t be happier. Neither could investment banker Nicky Forstmann and his pretty Russian wife, Lana Wolkonsky, who are waiting for their second child to be born next June. And then there is Claude Chirac, the pregnant daughter of French President Jacques Chirac. All Paris is abuzz over the tantalizing question of who the alleged papa is. Chirac’s former protege Nicholas Sarkozy? Sports presenter Thierry Rey? Actor Vincent Lindon, despite his “official” status as Princess Caroline of Monaco’s sometimes sweetie pie? The “news” about Claude appeared in an article on her in the recent weekend section of a reputable London daily, discussing her job as her daddy’s election campaign manager and his now head of communications. Somehow the “baby” news just slipped in.

More babies: Sting, the proud father of three, is anxiously awaiting the birth of his fourth right about this minute — in fact, it may already have happened. Sting, the coverboy on Architectural Digest’s January issue, offering readers a peek at Lake House, the rock star’s extraordinary estate in Wiltshire, England, where he wrote and recorded songs for his new album to be released in the spring. Lake House was recently remodeled by designer Alain Mertens, and includes several rooms that reflect Sting’s monastic taste. His wife, Trudie Styler, says that while most women are responsible for decorating their houses, it’s Sting who laid claim to almost all the rooms in their sprawling dwelling. He designed the dining hall, the library, the study and the boathouse to his own specifications and left sweet, understanding Trudie with but one place she can truly call her own.
So what and where is this refuge at Lake House? Simple, she says: “I disappear to my bath where I pull up a chair, put my feet up on the edge of the tub and think.” With Sting occupying most of the house and Trudie at peace in the loo, the big question is: Where will they put that baby? And where did they put the other three?

Robert Downey Jr., who wears spectacular costumes in “Restoration,” the 17th-century drama flick, has been voted Hollywood’s most stylish actor by someone or other. But when anyone catches him looking less than natty in public life, he has a perfect excuse. He blames it on his three-year-old son, who he says throws daddy’s clothes all over the place. “I look like a freak some mornings,” Downey says. And all the time you thought there were no modest actors.

Alice Mason’s holiday parties, not quite back-to-back but almost, brought out so many of those people you know and love — and so, of course, does Alice, who fits them into her apartment like a jigsaw puzzle, greets them wearing pearl-embroidered black cut velvet at one soiree and red silk and satin at the other — both dresses designed by Galanos — and then sits herself down and has as good a time as they do, the telling sign of a clever hostess. Filling the rooms with holiday cheer were such as Mary and Mike Wallace, Joe Armstrong, Carroll Petrie, Linda and Arthur Carter, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Norris and Norman Mailer, Nina Griscom Baker and Dan Baker, Helen Gurley Brown and David Brown, Mickey and Paola Schulhof, Liz and Andrew Tilberis, Gaetana and Tom Enders, Carolyne Roehm, Kenneth Jay Lane, Peggy Noonan, Marina and Francesco Galesi, Marilyn Evins, Lori and Charles Stevens, Johnny Galliher, Sue Railey, Sharon and Jim Hoge, Connie and Stephen Spahn, Gene Hovis, Regine Traulsen and Bill Diamond, Francesca Stanfill and Peter Tufo, Glenn Bernbaum, Anna and Robert Sarnoff, Frances Scaife, Maureen and Marshall Cogan, the lovely model Carmen, Liz Robbins and Doug Johnson, Alex Gregory, Arnold Scaasi, Parker Ladd, Tamara Guilden, Doda Voridis, Susan and John Weitz, Rena Rowman and Sidney Kimmel, Harriette and Noel Levine, Maurice Sonnenberg, Peggy Siegel and Richard Nye, who now go as an entry, Alice Mason’s daughter and son-in-law, Dominique and Luke John Yang and, well, who else is there?

One of the biggest and best of the holiday lunches was the one that filled the side room at Mortimer’s, given by noted interior decorator Mark Hampton and his luscious wife, Duane (in a smart Bill Blass suit), for Kristen Van Riel, the Paris lawyer who knows everybody everywhere. The new-ish couple in town, Anne Ford and Jamie Niven, arrived hand-in-hand, sort of, and looking, well, couple-ish. Everywhere else you looked you saw such as Pat Buckley, Mica Ertegun, Gayfryd Steinberg, Barbara Liberman, Chessy Rayner, Blaine Trump, Veronica Hearst, Nan Kempner, Anne Bass, Siri and Tony Mortimer, Carolyne Roehm, Sam Reed, Ashton Hawkins, Wendy and Henry Breck, John Dobkin, Kenneth Jay Lane, Gene Hovis, Tim Lovejoy and, best of all, the Hamptons’ two beautiful daughters, Kate and Alexa, who are themselves as decorative as anything their father ever did.

Then there was Carroll Petrie’s splendid dinner for the visiting Hales from San Francisco, Denise and Prentis for short. In her beautiful Fifth Avenue apartment, Carroll fed the likes of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his wife, Mila, Gigi and Roone Arledge, Gianfranco FerrA, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Cecile and Ezra Zilkha, Anne Cox Chambers, Bernard Petrie, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Kathy and Alan Greenberg, Robert Higdon, Harry Platt, Ken Rainin, Gil Shiva, Joan Rivers and Orin Lehman, like that. So now, and I know you care desperately, this is where all these people go and what they do and where they eat. Feel better?

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