Byline: Aileen Mehle

Shirlee Fonda, widow of Henry, was kicking up her heels and all the rest of her at the party Lee Minnelli, widow of Vincente, gave at her Beverly Hills villa. Vivacious Shirlee, sinuous in a long silver velvet Armani, is now back from Cincinnati, where she — while she was at it — broke her engagement to millionaire industrialist Brad Phillips. He is recovering nicely.

That West Hollywood hotspot-bistro Eclipse hotted up even more so Monday night when Barbra Streisand threw a birthday party for her singing sister, Rosalyn Kind. The spectacular cake, a replica of the cover of Roz’s new album, “Come What May,” brought the following to their feet: Shakira and Michael Caine; Steven Seagal; Barbra and Roz’s mother, Diane; Barbra’s son, Jason Gould, and Roz’s very best friend, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Rovner. You should know that the toasts were highly original — big news in Hollywood. Roz was surprised and thrilled. She had better be.

Do ya think he’s sexy — even though he’s 50? Rocker Rod Stewart celebrated his half-century mark Tuesday. Meanwhile, a few decades ago, Mick Jagger and Bianca were all over the headlines doing wild and wonderful things together and ultimately divorcing. Now they’re getting ready to be grandparents again. Their daughter, Jade, and her painter boyfriend, Piers Jackson, are expecting their second child in the spring. Oh, shucks!

Sean Connery, who stars as King Arthur in the film “First Knight,” snapped up the film rights to “A Passionate Woman,” the new hit play in London. One hears that Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis are passionately interested in playing parts in the picture.

Unfurl the parasols. As you read here, Pat Kluge, divorced wife of billionaire John, has rented Robin and Angier Biddle Duke’s little house for the Southampton summer season. That means Robin and Angie will be moving into “Wincoat,” the big old house everyone in the resort knows so well. It’s old, all right. “Wincoat” was built by Angie’s mummy’s father-in-law in a bygone era. (Mummy was the one and only Cordelia Drexel Biddle Duke Robertson, a great hostess and a singular social figure who considered life a feast and stayed at the table for a long lifetime).
Years ago, Robin transformed the big house’s old stables and barn into the little house, a charming mixture of French paneling and family furniture, and now that she and Angie will be moving for the season, she’s putting in a pool — she just loves to swim — at the big house and scouring flea markets to refurnish some of its 20-plus rooms. Flea markets are the ticket. Many Southamptonites use them as a main source for dolling up their summer places and brag about the treasures they’ve found. One season, cigar store Indians were big, but that was in the halcyon days before PC.

Lucille and Guy Peyrelongue of the Cosmair Peyrelongues spent their holiday vacation in Careyes, Mexico, with their daughter, Florence, a senior at Yale. Careyes, is, of course, that tropical paradise where the low-key multiculturati live in open-air houses with thatched roofs, and billionaire financier Jimmy Goldsmith, who lives like an emperor there, gives the party of the year on New Year’s Eve. This year, big shots from all over flew in for the fine fiesta where three chefs prepared dishes from three hemispheres, mariachis played incessantly and margaritas were the drink de la nuit. Still, elegance prevailed.
Guy Peyrelongue may not have entered his rowboat in the big fishing tournament nor picked up a mallet for the polo matches, but he has reeled in a whale of a prize. At Winternight ’95 at the Waldorf on Jan. 31, he will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his philanthropic vision and industry leadership. Michael Gould of Bloomingdale’s, Eugene Grisanti of IFF, Arie Kopelman of Chanel and Linda Wells of Allure magazine are co-chairmen of the benefit for The Lighthouse, which the Fragrance Foundation has sponsored for the past seven years. Annette Green of the Fragrance Foundation and Timothy Knipe of The Lighthouse are honorary chairmen. Robert Isabell will fill the air with the fragrance of spring flowers in silver bowls, the sizzling cabaret singer Diane Schuur will perform and Hank Lane’s orchestra will play. Guy is said to be thrilled if not surprised. He had better be.

The F. Warrington Gillets Jr. of Palm Beach will kick off the high season this weekend with a wild west midday hoedown in a tent pitched on the grounds of their house, Pelican Hall. The blast is in honor of Stefanie Powers, who will be in town for the William Holden Wild Life polo benefit at the Palm Beach Polo Club on Sunday.
But don’t go thinking this is just another old backyard roundup fit for scuffed boots. It’s thematic (love that word), all the way from the western ceramic tablewear to the strictly home-on-the-range-inspired menu. Fifty guests have been invited to belly up to the roast suckling pig, cornbread, hams and beans and cowboy coffee. The centerpieces are crystal 10-gallon hats filled with wild flowers, but don’t try to take them home. Everybody will be there dressed — this is Palm Beach — a la High Noon.

The fashion industry is getting ready for what is described as a glittering and glamorous benefit on Jan. 16 in the Crystal Room at Tavern on the Green. It’s the Winter Ball benefiting FAITH (Fashion Accessories Industry Together for Health), as well as a fashion extravaganza featuring the Swarovksi Crystal Fashion Show and Auction featuring crystal-beaded gowns designed exclusively for the evening by the biggest names in fashion, including Paloma Picasso, Mary McFadden, Fendi, Bill Blass, Vivienne Westwood, Judith Lieber, Todd Oldham, Donna Karan, Manolo Blahnik, Nicole Miller, Angela Cummings, Hervé Leger and more, more, more. Austrian Ambassador Helmut Tuerk and Evelyn Lauder are the co-chairmen, and also benefiting are CRIA and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Several members of the Swarovski family are flying over from Austria for the event, including Danna Swarovski who, with Ross Bleckner, is an honorary chairman. Danna will wear a long black Givenchy of black chiffon, velvet and faille with paisley embroidered in jet. Her daughter Nadja will wear a custom-designed Hervé Leger. Erika Swarovski will be in Jean-Louis Scherrer’s brown and gold confection, and Maya Swarovksi of Palm Beach will be all in white, an evening dress designed by Karen Pfleger. Swarovksi is, of course, the biggest name in crystal — but you knew that.