Byline: Aileen Mehle
The story going the rounds in the upper reaches of international society involves Spiro Niarchos, one of three sons of the great shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos, and his pretty blonde wife, Daphne, flower of the Guinness family of Ireland. Their friends are saying that the marriage is in trouble, maybe trouble too deep to repair. The couple have two children and residences in New York and London.
Ever since the Vanderbilt family reunion at St. Bartholemew’s Fifth Avenue Church in May, described at length in this column, the Vanderbilts, like some rich souffle that won’t quit, are rising all over the place. Gloria, perhaps the best-known, present-day Vanderbilt, is promoting her new novel, “The Memory Book of Starr Faithful,” from sea to shining sea, and lately other family heirs have become, willy-nilly, more conspicuous and less camera-shy.
Dominick Dunne is writing an extensive piece on today’s Vanderbilt descendants slated to appear in Vanity Fair at the beginning of the year, and Arts & Entertainment Cable has been working for several months on a TV biography on this extraordinary clan whose progenitor, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who rose from ferryboat captain to railroad tycoon, was the richest man of his era in the Western Hemisphere.
However, the rumor goes that some of the major Vanderbilts are not exactly pleased with the focus of the A&E project and are reticent about being filmed, despite the fact that such of their peers as the Rockefellers and the Morgans plus the Kennedys have to date all been immortalized — if you want to call it that — in this series. Negotiations are still ongoing.
Also, John Davis, the biographer, is now writing a history of the late Cornelius Vanderbilt (Sonny) Whitney and, working on the theory that you can’t have too much of a good thing, is throwing in some other V’s to boot.
Next summer in Newport at The Breakers, among the grandest of a plethora of 19th-century Vanderbilt palaces, another convocation is being planned. This will also be filmed for TV featuring leading representatives of the family. Just the most visible and attractive ones, you understand. Every family has a doggie or two in its background — and that’s the best place to keep them.
Joan Collins has been in New York the last few days, and topped in gray lace and bottomed in gray pleated and ruffled chiffon pants (pronounced very sexy by those gathered), she was the guest of honor at a dinner given by Carroll Petrie at her beautiful Fifth Avenue flat. The only trouble was the hostess was flat on her back with the flu in the flat, so the soi-distant arbiter of all things tasteful, Jerome Robert Zipkin, and Jane Dudley, the decorative Nashville and Palm Beach belle, took over as host and hostess. The Petrie chef, the excellent Bernard, was off on a sabbatical, so Glorious Food took over, purveying such delicacies as gnocchi, roasted quail and chocolate bread pudding. Many a plate was scraped.
I presume you would like to know who was there? Nevertheless, draped about the living room before and after dinner were such as the Baron and Baroness Enrico di Portanova (Ricky and Sandra informally) fresh off the Concorde from London, Nina Griscom Baker and Dr. Daniel Baker, Guilford Dudley, Patricia Patterson, Blaine and Robert Trump, Allison Stern, looking wonderful with a brand new hairdo, her tycoon husband Leonard Stern, Karen and Richard LeFrak, Marty and Patty Raynes (in a drop-dead black Ungaro evening suit trimmed with black lace), Joan Rivers and Orin Lehman, Barbara de Portago, Robert Higdon, Gil Shiva, Marty Richards, Kenneth Jay Lane and last but not least, Harry Platt and Thorunn Wathne. The big news among the beautiful people — oh, of course, there are still some beautiful people, don’t be so cynical — is that Harry, one of New York’s legendary party-givers, has decided, after a hiatus, to give a party this year in the Versailles Room of the St. Regis on Dec. 12. And Thorunn Wathne and her two sisters, Berge and Soffia, will give a dinner beforehand on the St. Regis Roof. If glamour doesn’t win out that night, then all that’s left is little black dresses uptown and model’s navels downtown.
If they have a little engine that can on the West Coast, her name is Wendy Stark, the daughter of Ray Stark, the powerful film figure. Wendy just loves to give parties, and the in crowd out there in Los Angeles just loves to go to them. Her latest was for Mouna al-Raschid, the exotic wife of a Saudi billionaire who wears show-stopping clothes and blinding jewels and comes to Los Angeles a couple of times a year to keep track of the natives and show them a thing or two.
Guests crowded into Wendy’s house and parts of her tented-over garden, and though many of them were still hung over from Barbara Davis’s dazzling three-day do benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the advent of the Prince of Wales, it would take a lot more than that to keep them from being there, to see and be seen. Barbara and Marvin Davis themselves turned up along with Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, Jackie Collins, Gore Vidal, Oliver Stone, Alana Hamilton, Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett, who spent much of the evening trying to keep track of Ryan. Wouldn’t it be smarter to let him keep track of her?
Alana was talking a lot about the TV talk show she and her ex-husband George Hamilton are doing. They’re taking the show’s pilots to an upcoming TV convention in hopes of selling it. It seems everywhere you go, especially in dear old showbiz circles, somebody’s hype-ing something, some with more success than others, of course. When they fail, Schaudenfreude has a field day, and the voice of the gloater is heard through the land.
Carrie Fisher was talking about going to Paris to visit Meg Ryan, who’s there filming “Paris Match.” And everybody at the party was talking about missing Anjelica Huston, who’s off in Santa Fe filming producer Suzannede Passe’s “Buffalo Woman,” a sort of sequel to “Lonesome Dove.”
Shakira Caine — that’s Mrs. Michael Caine — is coming to town with the scarves and jewelry she has designed. Saks is so thrilled with her efforts — the scarves are silk trimmed with antique beading; the costume jewelry has a sophisticated, ethnic look — they are putting the line in their stores all over the country. And they’ll give her a luncheon on Nov. 10 with all the New York women who go places and do things there.
Maria Snyder’s reception in Paris — it was to celebrate the lovely American designer’s upcoming fashion show, her first in Paris, during January couture week — brought out about 100 friends and fans who are all awaiting her first collection of precious jewelry, along with her smashing dresses. Among the crowd at La Poste were Cecilia Peck, Prince Ernst of Hanover, India Hicks, Nina and Philippe Junot, Georgina Brandolini, Sylvia de Castellane, Eric Wachtmeister, Princess Alexandra of Greece, Nicky Mavroleon, Kalliope Karella, etc. etc. etc. And you say they are no beautiful people left? Quiet, please.