Byline: Aileen Mehle

Nicole Kidman is telling her friends that not only does she not have a date yet to take her to the Oscars Sunday night, she still doesn’t know exactly what she’s going to wear, which out there is considered much more drastic. She’s seemingly dithering between a sleek sheath by Prada and something lacy and romantic with an extravagant decolletage from Chanel. Her stylist has literally filled a room in Nicole’s Hollywood house so she can play dress-up. It’s hard to believe, but she’s supposedly running this dress and that by her daughter, Isabella, 9, and her son, Connor, 7, seeking their advice. Catch me, I’m falling.
You can bet your last bead that Joan Rivers will be comparing Nicole’s and Penelope Cruz’s choices when she goes on Larry King next Friday, March 29, to perform her annual Oscar autopsy. It’s hard to let that Tom Cruise thing drop. Will Joan mention Gwynnie, J.Lo, Cameron Diaz, Ali McGraw and Sharon Stone? Sharon may — or may not — wear one of the half-dozen dresses Vera Wang has run up for her. With her you never know. Overalls? Whatever, they should all spray themselves with Vera’s wonderful new perfume. One squirt and you fall in love.
Word from the street, make that Rodeo Drive, is that you’ll be seeing lots of skin showing under diaphanous panels and lace inserts. Not much black at all on the red carpet. So think pink, ocean blue and green, burgundy, mocha and the rest of the rainbow. Bring sunglasses.
The top stylists are trying to keep secrets, but the word is that Jennifer Connolly has chosen a drop-dead Balenciaga by fashion’s newest star, Nicolas Ghesquiere, and Ann Caruso of New York says she’ll make Sissy Spacek look more glamorous than you’ve ever seen her. Everyone has been cruising Harry Winston’s cases in Beverly Hills for sparklers including Phillip Bloch, who is dressing Halle Berry, and Jane Ross, who is shopping for Jada Pinkett Smith. Cheryl Tiegs picked out sapphires and diamonds to wear with her navy column that’s cut to the bone. Carol Channing asked for and got Winston’s biggest rocks. She’s known for years who a girl’s best friends are.

Ronald Winston gave a smart little dinner in honor of beautiful model Carolyn Murphy, the current face of both Estee Lauder and Harry Winston at Les Deux Cafes just around the corner from the Kodak Theater, Oscar’s new home. And scores of icons of one sort or another are expected at Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter’s annul Oscar crush at Morton’s Sunday night like Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Angela Missoni, Donna Karan and others too stylish to mention.

Does “The Wizard of Oz” sound familiar? Jean Harlow — Joan Crawford — Katharine Hepburn — Greta Garbo? Certainly everyone in the know, knows that the one and only Adrian, a designer who lives in history, dressed them all, putting them in shoulders that stretched from here to there and sleeves that wouldn’t quit.
So now comes a dazzling show, “Adrian: American Glamour,” at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Exhibition opening on May 13, a presentation of the show-stopping gowns that defined a spectacular Hollywood era created by the man who raised spectacular movie-star dressing to an art form since unequalled.
And who has worked curating, interviewing and obsessing on Gilbert Adrian for the past 10 years to bring you this show? None other than our very own dear Jane Trapnell Marino, who really knows her stuff. She has been a costume designer in film and television for over 20 years. Harold Koda, the Costume Institute’s chief curator, invited her to do the show as a guest curator, and Philippe de Montebello, who runs things at the Museum, is sending out invitations to 200 glamourites for a dinner following a private viewing of the show. Lester Lanin’s band will evoke the Adrian era with music from “Dinner at Eight,” “The Women,” “The Philadelphia Story” and on and on into the night.
Jane’s darling husband, the famous architect/interior designer Peter Marino, will be there to help with the party decor — a lot of Adrian-inspired bias-cut black and white stripes will reign. Remember, Technicolor had not yet been invented then!

In Andie MacDowell’s newie, “Crush,” she plays an older woman having a passionate affair with a much younger man played by the newcomer hunk du jour Kenny Doughty. Whatever qualms Andie had about the role she overcame because she believed so in director John McKay’s script. “Personally, I would never get involved with a much younger man,” she says. “Being from the South, when it comes to dating, I’m very conservative in my beliefs and always have been.” Good for her — but then the dear girl will never know till she gives it a try, don’t you always say?

Sarah, Duchess of York, is on the move, and no one is happier about it than her former father-in-law, Prince Philip, who to say the least can’t stand her. She’s rented a small, four-bedroom house in Surrey for $7,500 a month for herself and her daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie. It’s not far from Sunninghill, Prince Andrew’s 12-bedroom estate, where they’ve been living together for the past five years, never mind the divorce. Oh, and the duchess, Fergie for short, has bought her own castle in Italy, the first piece of property she has ever owned, complete with six smaller buildings, two swimming pools, two tennis courts, a vineyard, a fishing lake and a spring on a thousand wooded acres in Tuscany. She paid $3 million, described as a steal. The plan is to turn part of the property into a retreat and health spa for travelers plus a winery producing 50,000 bottles a year bearing her name and likeness. Is that all? Her partner is her former lover Italian Count Gaddo Gherardesca. And despite the British press going gaga over Fergie’s few dates with Rupert Beckwith-Smith, it was never, ever an affair. She and he, who comes from one of Britain’s sweetest and most colorful families (so English they make your teeth hurt), are merely longtime friends.

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