David Koch, the billionaire philanthropist, and Julia Flesher, his steady girl, are serious indeed, as you read here. David and Julia are supposed to become engaged on Christmas Day, when he’ll give her a ring. Maybe in Aspen, where he has a far-flung house. Their friends hope this is it. David is nice and, of course, rich, and Julia is nice and, of course, pretty. And, when it’s ready, they’ll live happily ever after in, among other places, Jackie Onassis’ old Fifth Avenue apartment, which architect Jaquelin Robertson is renovating from drawing room to kitchen, and the noted British decorator, David Mlinaric will make beautiful.
Victoria Duffy and Dennis Hopper are finally going to get married after postponing the wedding twice because of Dennis’s film commitments in Ireland and Los Angeles. The marriage is scheduled to take place in the Carolinas sometime in the spring. To celebrate all this, Dani Janssen, the good-looking blond Hollywood hostess whose dinner invitations are sought after, gave a celebrity wingding with such household names as Clint Eastwood and Jennifer Jones on display. Jennifer looked good, like a movie star should, though most don’t. She and Clint spent much of the time taking about the good old days in Hollywood. Sigh. Then there were Quincy Jones, Timothy Dalton, Dennis’s pal Dean Stockwell and Tia Carrera of the va-va-voom Carreras in a fun outfit which really fit.
Faye Dunaway is not worrying about jobs, not now that she’s being set to play two major women of history, Catherine the Great of All the Russias, and, to a lesser degree, Pearl S. Buck, the noted novelist who wrote the classic, “The Good Earth.” Hey, Faye, that’s the way!
Elle Macpherson, soon to be seen in Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jane Eyre,” was dashed to learn, along with her fellow supes Naomi and Claudia, that planners turned down their application to transform one of London’s oldest cinemas, the Rialto, into a 450-seat version of their New York Fashion Cafe. The supes should get over being “dashed” soon. One good way is to count their money.
Among the beauties at art expert/collector Khalil Rizk’s big holiday party for Princess Ira von Furstenberg at Mortimer’s was the Baroness Enrico di Portanova — but you can call her Sandra for short. (You can also call her husband Ricky for short; it saves time.) Sandra flew in to New York for a few days from her residences in Houston, Acapulco and Monte Carlo just long enough to stop traffic at the party in her long, black, one-shouldered Arnold Scaasi creation with a big, bigger, biggest diamond palm tree pinned to the shoulder that was covered. It might have smarted the other way around.
She wore the same dress at a dinner party in her honor given by Scaasi at his Beekman Place duplex where such as Beverly Sills and Peter Greenough, prima ballerina Darci Kistler and Peter Martins, Carol Mack, Chessy Rayner, Karen Lerner, Kathleen Hearst, Parker Ladd, etc., etc., etc., were reflected in all their glory in Scaasi’s mirrored dining room with its Louise Nevelson sculpted ceiling. La!
Scaasi is off to Acapulco, where he has taken a house for the holidays. So is Sandra for a sojourn at her luxurious, pristine retreat, Arabesque, a little lean-to of 110 rooms. Somebody’s got to rattle around in them.
Georgina Bayard Schaeffer makes her debut this season at not only one but three coming out parties. She has already bowed at the New York Junior League’s ball and still has the Debutante Cotillion and Christmas Ball and the Junior Assemblies to go. Looking on at the parties will be Georgina’s mother, Marcia Meehan Schaeffer, and her grandmother Kay Meehan of the New York and Southampton social swim, both celebrated debs of their day.
Georgina, daughter of the late Bayard Schaeffer, is a freshman at Boston University and attended The Chapin School and St. Mark’s. For one of her presentations she wore a simple column of silk organza by Richard Glascow with a wonderful, big bow in the back. You would have loved it.
Everybody is writing or has written a book lately: Bobby Short, whose bubbling, high-spirited, name-dropping story of a charmed life, “The Life and Times of a Saloon Singer,” is a crowd-pleaser just as Bobby is; Albert Hadley, the legendary interior decorator, whose beautiful, new coffee-table book, “Parish Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design,” written by Christopher Petkanas, is a remarkable compilation of some of the wondrous rooms Albert and the one and only Sister Parish designed for the most rich and respectable international clientele (however, some — especially her owner — say the snap of Louise Grunwald’s adorable little dog Holly is the best picture in the book); “An Uncommon Woman,” written by the lovely Hannah Pakula whose first book about Queen Marie of Romania was a hit and, last but not least, Alexander Liberman’s sensational picture book, “Then,” with photographs he took himself of the beautiful and high-living people who have been so much a part of his life through the years. So, if you find any one, or all, of these under your tree you can be sure that Santa Claus really went to town.
And let’s not forget one of the most exquisite fashion books to ever see the light of day, “Haute Couture,” with breathtaking pictures by the famous photographer Victor Skrebneski, a marvel that should be in everyone’s library. It was given as a present to each of her guests at the luncheon Denise Hale — in New York from San Francisco for what seemed like an endless run of parties — gave at Le Cirque. Denise and Prentis Cobb Hale’s buddy, Carol Channing, stopped the show in shades as big as basketballs and that mop of platinum curls that screams, “BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN.” But more of all this anon, when Hale Week in New York — you can call it Hell Week; I do — is dissected for your delectation. I think.
Lily Safra and Louise Grunwald are each lending one of their beloved chairs for the Winter Antiques Show special On-Loan Exhibition. Lily’s is a superb mahogany George III piece, and Louise’s 18th-century French chair is an elegant, graced gray, a study in detail from the petit point to the carved frame. “God is in the details, and the details are in this chair,” says Derek Ostergard, the curator of the Chair Exhibition. Of course, he wasn’t the first one to ever say it — but you knew that.
As for the show’s chairman, Arie Kopleman and his chic wife, Coco, they will be off soon to spend the holidays in Sun Valley. But not before all the invitations to the Winter Antiques Show are out. To kick the whole thing off, there was a committee party at Jane Trahey’s drop-dead apartment, but more of that anon.