Byline: Aileen Mehle

Speaking of royalty — which I haven’t just yet but am planning to right now — Princess Margaret’s furniture designer son Lord Linley and his pretty Lady Linley will be in Houston next week, and guess who’s got them? Why, Lynn Wyatt of course, that most glamorous of Texas hostesses who snags every big biggie who hits Houston plus every big biggie in the south of France at her annual birthday party there. Lynn will take the Linleys, David and Serena for short, to a performance at the Houston Opera and give a tiny, little, private dinner for them one night at her far-flung house in River Oaks, Houston’s chic and stunning neighborhood. Everyone is perishing to be there, but few have been called and very few have been chosen.
Along those lines, Princess Maria Pia of Italy and Prince Michel de Bourbon-Parme are off in Cuernavaca as the guests of Lisa and Jack Anderson of the social swim. The Andersons have taken Mrs. Frederick Ayer 2nd’s house “Casa del Puente,” noted for its beautiful gardens. There are masses of parties for the foursome including a big charreda given by Mark Nixon at his famous Rancho Cuernavaca, where the men are expected to wear charro suits with lots of silver buttons and big sombreros. The women may wear what they jolly well please. To sum up these royalty notes from all over — Maria Pia will be visiting her mother, the former Queen of Italy, and her sister, Princess Maria Beatrice, and her husband, Luis Reyna, who all live in Cuernavaca. They may be royal, but they’re, like, cozy.

With word on his new picture, “Don Juan DeMarco,” so favorable, is it possible its star Johnny Depp is undergoing an image change? From Depp to Dapp? At a recent press junket in L.A., more than one female was swooning over his “new look” — close-cropped hair, fresh shave, Donna Karan suit. Oh, man. And that was even before they saw the movie. He is said to be so appealing as Don Juan DeMarco, a young man claiming to be the world’s greatest lover, that the role may make him a superstar. (Don’t tell William F. Buckley Jr. but Mrs. William F. Buckley Jr., who saw the still-to-be released picture at a screening, has fallen hard for Depp and his talent. Whatever happened to Clint Eastwood, oh, fickle Mrs. Buckley?
Anyhow, some top designers are now clamoring to dress the newly debonair Depp for the L.A. and Washington premieres next week. Will this catapult him to still another career, strutting on the catwalk side by side with his supermodel sweetie Kate Moss, who has been quoted as saying “Johnny is pure sex”? Check him out on the cover of the latest Esquire and then answer the question.
This is the film in which Marlon Brando plays Depp’s psychiatrist, burned-out and withdrawn, and Faye Dunaway plays Brando’s wife, who is thrilled to itty-bitty bits when his patient’s tales of adventure and romance spark up their moribund marriage. Faye, in real life, is quite delighted with Brando. “Marlon’s always been an idol of mine. He’s a myth to every working actor in the world, and I found him a dream to work with.” Thus spake Faye Dunaway.

Paige Rense of Architectural Digest will be celebrated on May 15 at the Spirit of Achievement Awards luncheon to benefit cancer research hosted by the women’s division of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom. She will be in excellent company because honorees sharing the spotlight with her are Marlo Thomas, Heather Whitestone — who is the new Miss America — and Dr. Susan Love, the breast cancer researcher. The chairman of the event is designer Penny Baird.
Paige herself gave a soiree at Mortimer’s the night of the Academy Awards where, believe me, the delicious dinner far outshone the dismal Oscars playing out their string in dear old Hollywood. Designers, architects, writers and friends turned out for Paige’s evening, most of them eventually giving up on the mess on the screens to talk amongst themselves. On view were such as Jessie and Rand Araskog of the ITT Araskogs, Carroll Petrie, Mary McFadden, Bobby Short, Mary Meehan, Mario Buatta, Gene Hovis, Joe Ciccio, Patricia Patterson, John Loring, Marilyn Evins, Richard Feigen, Carolina Herrera, Kitty D’Alessio, Kenneth Jay Lane, Ann Downey, Judy Green and a pack of others just like them, including Paige’s husband, the eminent artist Kenneth Noland, who preferred to chat with the eminent architect Richard Meier rather than view The Worst.

The Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger Award, Barnard College’s highest honor, was presented to Grace Mirabella, called one of the most powerful people in publishing and one who knows the difference between fashion and style — and knows why it matters. It all happened at a dinner that filled the Pierre’s Ballroom with friends and fans. Grace has already received the American Medical Women’s Association’s Award for Public Awareness and Education and the first “Superstar” lifetime achievement award from The Fashion Group International. “Style is Grace under pressure. Style is Grace Mirabella,” were just a few of the laudatory words addressed to Grace in the presentation speech. And this is what Grace said when she rose to accept the tribute, “As you may have heard, a funny thing happened to me on the way over here…” The room roared. Grace was referring, of course, to having had Mirabella, the magazine named after her, pulled out from under her, really without a word of warning. But, she went on, “I offered not to come (because of this) but thank heaven you refused my offer.”

Simon & Schuster, Rizzoli Bookstore and Betty Comden are cordially inviting a select group to celebrate the publication of Betty’s new book, “Offstage,” on April 6 at Rizzoli’s. Pia Lindstrom had also entertained for Betty and her autobiography at a cocktail party at Le Cirque where many of her Broadway, Hollywood and society friends crowded around. At the party (and in the book), Betty recalled going to Radio City Music Hall so often to see “The Scoundrel,” a 1935 movie starring, Nol Coward that she could recite entire scenes by heart. Little did she know at the time that two other young people, Adolph Green, her future writing partner, in the Bronx, and Leonard Bernstein, their future colleague, in Boston, were equally in love with “The Scoundrel” and also memorized huge chunks of dialogue. Fate. Betty has said the film not only affected her life but “became part of it.” Let’s hope she told it to the one and only Nol when he was still around.

Susan Gilder Hayes and Joy Henderiks are the chairmen of this year’s Lifesavers Dinner of the American Suicide Foundation at the Waldorf on May 9. Lesley Stahl of your TV and mine will be the mistress of ceremonies and Katharine Graham of the Washington Post, former governor Mario Cuomo, erstwhile of Albany, and Heather Locklear, of the “Melrose Place” Locklears, will be among the honorees. The honorary chairman is Commissioner William Bratton of the NYPD, and the co-chairmen are Anna Wintour and Steve Florio of CondA Nast. The committee is one to reckon with, including such as Isabella Rossellini, Dr. David Shaffer, Matilda Cuomo, Anne Bass, Nina Griscom Baker and Dr. Daniel Baker, William Styron, Sen. Bill Bradley, Ross Bleckner, Bianca Jagger, Paloma Picasso, John and Susan Gutfreund, Jerome Hines, Tony Randall, Joan Rivers and Dr. Milton Viederman.