Byline: Aileen Mehle

Nancy Reagan is arriving in New York from Los Angeles Thursday evening, maybe in time to catch the Winter Antiques Show preview at the Park Avenue Armory. The reason for the trip is business — raising funds for the Ronald Reagan Library in California — but the former First Lady’s friends here are always lying in wait the minute they hear she’s coming to town. The lunch she’ll have over the weekend with Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine is all business, but she’ll relax at Reinaldo Herrera’s luncheon for her on Monday at Mortimer’s and at Brooke Astor’s and Cecile and Ezra Zilkha’s little dinners in her honor. Sunday night you might spot her at Elio’s and Wednesday afternoon at Le Cirque. Of course, in Washington now, the talk is all about how the Reagans are so missed and what a different spirit ruled the land when they were in the White House. Tell me you’re surprised.

Gloria Vanderbilt has sold her house on East 91st Street for something like $3 million, a figure hard not to like. The buyers are Chris Whittle of the beleaguered publications company and his wife, the former Priscilla Rattazzi of the Agnelli clan, one of Italy’s richest and most powerful. As Chris is reportedly in what is often referred to as dire straits, one wonders where the millions are coming from. Have you ever noticed that some people in dire straits go on living like zillionaires for ever and ever? Anyhow, Gloria is now shopping for a new apartment. She wants to live on Central Park. Either the east or west side will do.

Among the top 10 exercises in futility in the world of showbiz is trying to figure out the Al Pacino-Lyndall Hobbs relationship. After their latest big fight — fights now past counting — Al left Los Angeles days ahead of his scheduled departure, taking the first plane out. Now, the gossip is that all is again sweetness and light between them, but no one, not even Al and Lyndall, know what will happen next. One of their fights, as you must know by now, was over Lyndall’s desire to adopt a baby. The mind reels at the thought of a baby added to the already wildly volatile ingredients.

Speaking of babies, the story goes that Diandra and Michael Douglas are contemplating having another one. How — long distance? (The Douglases already have a teenage son, Cameron). True or false, it’s an interesting idea, still another aspect of this sometimes-rocky, sometimes-smooth as silk marriage. Diandra is in New York and Michael is in Los Angeles making a movie. Diandra was supposed to have been in L.A. before Michael started on his flick but she never made it. Michael, his friends say, was not amused. The mind reels at the thought of a baby added to the already wildly volatile ingredients — or did I already say that?
Princess Yasmin Aga Khan arrived from Switzerland Tuesday and was supposed to have lunched with Diandra. They are the best of friends, especially since Diandra co-chaired Yasmin’s annual Alzheimer’s benefit last year.

The glorious ballerina Heather Watts, a dancer since the age of 13, and the incandescent star for years of the New York City Ballet, gave her farewell performance Sunday night at the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center to standing ovations and shouts of “brava, bravissima” from the full house. Thousands of flowers filled the stage, as Heather, looking thrilled and thrillingly lovely, bowed and bowed and bowed and bowed, sometimes alone, sometimes with her long-time partner Jock Soto who had partnered her for the last time in that evening’s glorious performances of “Bugaku” and “Valse Triste.”
Afterwards, Heather’s friends, Anne Bass, Mary Porter, Louisa Sarofim and Peter Wolff gave a big seated dinner for 350 in her honor at Landmark on the Park (the name of the 4th Universalist Church on Central Park West) where Heather’s triumphal entrance was marked by trumpet fanfares no less and Gregorian chants were played during cocktails.
Robert Isabell was let loose to decorate the Landmark, and what a sight! The entrance hall was a sea of daffodils, French tulips, lilies, roses and mimosa. The cocktail area was an ocean of potted primroses and maybe a million votive candles along with eight six-foot standing candelabra holding seven candles.
For the dinner, three endlessly long banquet tables were covered with dusty rose cloths and atop them, more than 200 individual floral arrangements of mimosa, tulips, Icelandic poppies, roses and anemones in antique English terra cotta pots stretched from one end to the other. Added to the staggering array were fresh Burgundy table grapes, 150 antiqued brass candlesticks, over 200 pillar candles and at least 300 gold votives. Glorious Food served a feast of pheasant pie and pear belle Heather, named after the belle Heather, of course, which the belle Heather enjoyed while wearing a DKNY cossack jacket with trousers and a red and gold chiffon scarf. Not to be missed was the cabbage rose in her hair.
Everyone was there: Anne Bass in a short fitted periwinkle Chanel jacket worn with black evening trousers, her daughters, Hyatt and Samantha, Amanda Burden with Charlie Rose, Blaine and Robert Trump, Misha Baryshnikov, Nan Kemper, Countess Cristina Camerana, Carroll Petrie in a scarlet suit by Ferré, Jerry Zipkin, Duane and Mark Hampton, Anna Wintour and Dr. David Shaffer, Wendy Wasserstein, Shelley Wanger and David Mortimer, Agnes Gund, Paul Wilmot, a blooming Nancy Richardson, Susan Burden, Julian Lethbridge, Susan Bartsch and David Barton, Nina Griscom and Dan Baker, Tatum O’Neal with Eric Goode, Alexa and Kate Hampton, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Marc Jacobs, Joy Henderiks, Darci Kistler and Peter Martins, Laura and John McCloy, Judy and Sam Peabody, Cari Modine, CeCe and Barry Kieselstein-Cord, Janice Levin, Libet Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson Johnsons with her new French beau, Jerome Jeandin of Paris and on and on into the night. If Heather didn’t know she was loved, she knows it now.

Gary Oldman, who plays the great deaf composer, Beethoven, in “Immortal Beloved,” says the affliction is not easy to spot in a film and “very difficult to portray….Perhaps I should have worn an ear trumpet,” says he. Which is probably one of the reasons they don’t let more actors direct.

Stresa, Paris’ very hot Italian restaurant, was chock-a-block with stars last week. Lunching there were the captivating Isabelle Adjani and also Jacqueline Bisset, not together. Bisset, who just took off for a six-week film shoot on the Atlantic island of St. Malo, is said to be shivering on location there. Think of the men who would like to keep her warm. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, in Paris to promote a movie, were seen dining over the weekend at L’Ami Louis. Goldie must have enjoyed every bite because she never stopped giggling. Or was it something Kurt said?