Byline: Aileen Mehle
Flash! Elizabeth Pataki, wife of New York’s Governor-elect, George Pataki, is expected to wear a Carolina Herrera creation to the inaugural ball in Albany on Jan. 1. Exciting, no?
Some royalty freaks will tell you that Prince Charles’s almost overt visits to his inamorata Camilla Parker-Bowles over the past week, co-inciding with the second anniversary of his official split from Princess Diana, are a warm-up to news that a divorce is impending. Oh? After which, he and Camilla will supposedly go riding off into the sunset together? Some royalty freaks will tell you anything. The big question is: Why should Diana divorce Charles? What does she have to gain?
Much ado — and much of it wrong — as to what actor will play the lead in the movie being made from the best-selling book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” an exotic account of steamy doings in dear old Savannah. People scouting locations in Savannah for the picture went around saying that the producers were dying to get Jeremy Irons to play the part of the antiques dealer who goes to trial four times for the murder of his hustler-lover. It turns out that they absolutely don’t want Jeremy Irons for the part. Not that Jeremy isn’t a fine actor and all the rest of it, but he was already put on trial a couple of times playing Claus von Bulow in the “Reversal of Fortune” movie (for which he won an Academy Award), and maybe it’s time to spring him from the courtroom for a while.
Speaking of strange casting, “Jane Eyre,” now being directed by Franco Zefferelli, stars William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsburg as Mr. Rochester and Jane. Maria Schneider, probably best remembered for buttering up Brando in “The Last Tango in Paris,” plays the part of the first Mrs. Rochester — the one heard making blood-curdling noises in the attic. (Maybe she just found out it was really oleo).
Gary Oldman says the reasons he took the role of Ludwig van Beethoven in “Immortal Beloved” was because “I need music to lift my mood which is often dark, strange, weird and wild. Good music lifts me out of that depression I’m usually in.” Let’s hope it works. As we all know, he’s now in an East Coast rehab center drying out, which is why you won’t be seeing him at the New York premiere of “Immortal Beloved” tonight.
Billionaire David Geffen’s two townhouses on East 64th Street — they cost $3.2 million, petty cash to DG — will, when they’re lumped together, cost many more millions to renovate and decorate. One hears the grand design is to recreate an Italian villa, facade and all.
The 1995 Winter Social Register, just out, lists only one person socially significant enough to be mentioned in the entire state of North Dakota and absolutely no one at all worthy of that accolade in South Dakota. Choke, sigh, sob. In New York, which leads in entries, there are 4,584 Social Registerites. Choke, sigh, sob.
Many insist that the Forbes family owns and publishes the Social Register, although there has never been an official announcement. But along those lines, two young members of the Forbes family — cousins — will be the lead debutantes this year at the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf on Dec. 29. They are Catherine, the daughter of Steve and Sabina Forbes, and Charlotte, the daughter of Kip and Astrid Forbes. Ten buds from foreign climes will come out at the ball this year, plus 18 from the United States. Texas leads the pack, sending out four Yellow Roses. It’s the Texas girls whose curtseys each year are so low you expect the little darlings to plunge right through the ballroom floor.
Harry Platt of the Tiffany Platts — his grandfather was the renowned Louis Comfort Tiffany of song and story — has, through the years, starting in the Sixties, given some of the most glittering, glamorous parties in New York. Very private. Very exclusive. Only 200 guests, and that’s that. Harry always gives his parties in the Versailles Room of the St. Regis starting at 10:30, with an orchestra playing everything you ever wanted to hear while the guests dance off both their shoes under a big chandelier until Harry has to either shoo them out or serve breakfast to the hardest of die-hards. Usually, there are little dinner parties before the Platt party, but this year was different. This year there was one big dinner on the St. Regis Roof given by Harry’s dear friends, the three wonderful Wathne sisters, Iceland’s gift to New York and then some.
At first, Harry wasn’t going to give the party this year, but he finally bowed to his friends who clamored and cried and carried on, and it was a huge success — a combined Christmas and birthday fete (Harry was celebrating his 70th), with a towering Sylvia Weinstock cake made in the shape of four Tiffany blue boxes piled one on top of the other wheeled out after dinner. And no one was as surprised as Harry, who didn’t know it was coming.
At parties, the Wathnes — Thorunn, Berge and Soffia — all good-looking blondes, always dress alike, so there they were in their identical black Scaasi dresses especially made for the party, semi-triplets in strapless black velvet and tulle creations with satin and velvet ribbons at the waist, looking delicious. After cocktails, they and Harry led the way to the Roof which the florist, Salou, had turned into a ravishing garden of white roses and narcissus with tables sprinkled with gold dust and Christmas dinner waiting. Bob Hardwick’s orchestra played and everyone dined on risotto with white truffles, tournedos of beef Rossini, and, for dessert, a meringue basket filled with ice cream and chestnut. The wines were Pouilly Fume, La Doucette 1992, Chateau Lunch-Bages, 1989 and Perrier Jouet Brut Champagne. Many a glass was tossed back. Everyone was there — everyone who passed muster with Harry, that is. Crowding the Roof and the Versailles Room were Noreen and Johnny Drexel of Palm Bech and Newport, Carroll Petrie, Betsy and Walter Cronkite, Liz and Damon Mezzacappa, Judy and Alfred Taubman, Cecile and Ezra Zilkha, Blaine and Robert Trump, Jane and Guilford Dudley, Pauline and Dixon Boardman, Kathy Ford, Jerry Zipkin, Prince Pierre d’Arenberg, Hilary and Joe Califano, Jessie and Rand Araskog, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Julio Mario Santo Domingo, the Countess of Romanones, Emilia and Pepe Fanjul, Khalil Rizk, Betty and Virgil Sherrill, Hillie and David Mahoney, Jamie Niven, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Agneta and Brownlee Currey, Barbara and Tommy Bancroft, Barbara de Portago, Wendy Vanderbilt, Nick Dunne, Patricia Kluge in gold brocade, Hilary and Jack Geary, Boaz Mazor, Alyne Massey, Mai Hallingby, Kathy and Alan Greenberg, Lil and Stefane Groueff, Eles and Warry Gillet, Karen and Richard LeFrak, Pat and Sidney Wood, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Glenn Bernbaum, Wendy Carhart, Tiffany and Louis Dubin, Kathleen Hearst, Patricia Patterson, Geraldine Shephard, George Plimpton, Janna and Stanley Rumbough, Stephane and David Bartlett, Georgie Abreu, Norma and Charlie Dana, Susan and John Gutfreund, Maurice Sonnenberg, Francis Kellogg, Kay Meehan, Adair and Bill Beutel, Alfonso Fanjul, Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill, Gloria and Frank Schiff, Mary and Tommy Phipps, Gail and Hari Theodoracopulos, Lucky Roosevelt, Nan and Tommy Kempner, Jackie and Nicky Drexel and scores of others too exalted to mention until another column. Deardeardeardear Harry.