Byline: AILEEN MEHLE
Her mother, Blythe Danner, is a fine actress, and perhaps it’s in the like-mother-like-daughter genes, because Gwyneth Paltrow, Blythe’s daughter, is said to show high comedy flair in the Dorothy Parker movie, “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.” Paltrow plays a sultry, husky-voiced actress with an insatiable sexual appetite, a character based on the late Tallulah Bankhead, an early Mouth of the South, who never met a man, woman or you name it she didn’t want to hit on. And the thing about Tallulah was she didn’t give a southern-fried fig who knew it.
Such women who know how to get things done as Oatsie Charles, Ann Nitze and Lucky Roosevelt of Washington, and Alyne Massey of Nashville and Palm Beach, are planning a “special event” in Washington for Nov. 6 to benefit Blair House, the guest house of Presidents of the United States. It’s called “A Sunday in Washington,” and it begins with lunch at Blair House and a leisurely tour of the entire house. Yes, all 110 rooms. Bring low heels.
The fab four have asked President and Mrs. Clinton to give a reception at the White House which will be followed by a seated dinner in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the State Department. “A Sunday in Washington” will be limited to a mere 250 guests, and, to be sure, you have to be invited; no walking in right off the street.
On the other hand, if you’ve bought tickets, you can walk right in off the street to Fete de Famille IX, the neighborhood street fair, casino night and giant raffle on Oct. 4 at Mortimer’s and in an immediately adjacent tent on 75th Street. The co-chairmen of this big extravaganza are Nancy Kissinger, Casey Ribicoff, Linda Wachner, Catie and Donald Marron, Ann and Herb Siegel, Glenn Bernbaum, Bill Blass and Ronald Perelman, and the setting will be an old-fashioned fairgrounds. Carnival characters will abound, and the one and only Bobby Short will be in charge of the entertainment, which will feature music by Peter Duchin, Michael Hill’s Blues Band and samba specialist Ron de Francesca. Oh, play it, boys!
There will be sideshows galore and for $250 the opportunity to be “captured” by Joe Eula, the fabled artist, whose ravishing sketches are prized by ladies of fashion and society — whoever they may be. Star photographer Hiro will take instant photos and the astonishing clairvoyant Judy Turner will glimpse your future for you. Priscilla Palmer will amaze with her unbelievable handwriting analysis and Siegfried Snapper (love that name) will persuade fete-goers to combine their own photos with that of a fantasy figure. Catch me, I’m falling!
For gamblers, there will be roulette, blackjack, craps, etc., and the big prize at the giant raffle will be an Alfa Romeo convertible valued at $28,500 and donated by Fiat USA. The beneficiary of all this excitement will be the AIDS Care Center at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. The least you can do is come — and stare at everybody you know and even a few you don’t.
Carolina Herrera, glamorous in a black and white pantsuit by Carolina Herrera and with white satin shoes glittering with rhinestones on her pretty feet (when was the last time you saw a woman with really pretty feet?), was a standout at the River Cafe where guests dined before going on to the Martha Graham Gala Centennial Celebration at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Carolina was the chairman of the evening, which paid tribute to “Four American Women Who Stood With Martha Graham” — Doris Duke, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Alice Tully and Lila Acheson Wallace, who supported Martha Graham’s company for over 25 years and gave her the building that now houses the famous Martha Graham School.
At the performance and party afterward, Donna Karan wore a black Donna Karan bodysuit and black pants. As long as you’re going to design it, you might as well wear it, no? Yes. (Donna also designed the costumes for the Graham “Celebration” number.)
Some of the women, who would rather die than miss a trick, thought the hottest man at the gala was Antonio Banderas, the Latin lover of “The Mambo Kings” and “The House of the Spirits.” I said some — not all.
All those involved in The Memorial Sloan-Kettering gala benefit opening of this year’s International Fine Arts and Antiques Dealer Show are promising it will be the best ever. So remember that on Oct. 13. Nicole Limbocker is the chairman of it all with such co-chairs as Pat Buckley, Noreen Drexel, Nelia Cates, Veronica Hearst, Ann Johnson, Betty Sherill, Ginnie Burke, Nan Kempner and Camilla Chandon, the stunning wife of Count Frederic Chandon de Brialles of the Moet & Chandon Chandons.
This year, there will be a special exhibition of miniature gardens called “Small Wonders” and a repeat of last year’s memorable treasure hunt. The grand prize is a treasure indeed — a smashing pair of gold enamel earrings by Verdura.
After all this is over, there will be a series of dinner parties given for the benefactors of the show by hosts and hostesses scattered all over town — such as Barbara Gimbel, Gail Hilson, Jessie Araskog, Karen Lefrak, Kathy Plum, Nicole Limbocker and many others just like them.
Among the hopefuls already on line for the treasure hunt are Bill Blass, Mercedes and Sid Bass, Cecile and Ezra Zilkha, Drue Heinz, Mario Buatta, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, the Douglas Dillons, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Lily and Edmond Safra, Teresa Heinz, Fernanda and Jamie Niven and others too cultivated to mention.
The Social Register, that reclusive organ that barely acknowledges its existence, now has its own newsletter, The Social Register Observer. Did you ever think the day would come? Somebody down at Forbes magazine must have decided it was time for a change because the 34-page publication covers such riveting social events as engagements, weddings, various family celebrations, obituaries, debutante doings, etc. All terribly refined. One of the most interesting features is an interview, “In the Old Days,” with grandes dames Mrs. Francis R.H.C. Tomes and Mrs. Cortlandt Schuyler Van Rensselaer (when have we last seen names like that in print?) wherein these two ultimate society women, both born in 1902, describe growing up in New York’s top drawer. One shudders to think what Lelia Tomes and Georgina Van Rensselaer think of what passes for society today. Or maybe, like Tallulah Bankhead, they don’t give a fig.
This year, at a luncheon at the Pierre on Oct. 14, David Rockefeller will receive the Hadrian Award, a prize given in the past to Brooke Astor, Marella and Gianni Agnelli and Dominique de Menil. The co-chairmen of the lunch are Patricia Phelps (Patty) de Cisneros and Paul Volcker. Lelia and Georgina would probably approve.