Byline: Aileen Mehle
Interior Decorating Notes From All Over: Vera Wang is just back from Palm Beach and her family’s far-flung mansion where she had a little holiday with her kiddies and her interior designer Lisa Jackson and her kiddies. While the kiddies played in the pool, the mommies were off searching for antiques, rattan and white-painted furniture, etc. the better to renovate Vera’s house. Many of the rooms will be white-on-white with 19th century Asian accents including an exotic, triangular-shaped pair of red leather, lacquered chests. Vera is so excited about this mix of old and new, she can just feel it breathing new life into her house, which was designed by Addison Mizner, the wildly popular architect who reigned in PB in the Twenties, building one decorative pile after another for the extremely rich in his “damn the expense” style.
Now Vera is getting ready for her new bridal collection to be launched at her Madison Avenue boutique on April 14. Later in the month, she will unveil her new china collection for Wedgwood, which she plans to use at her first dinner party at her newly renovated house. When and where she’ll be spraying her new perfume, called Vera Wang, all over herself. Ain’t synergy grand?
The Versailles-Giverny Foundation is hosting its yearly dinner at the Carlyle on April 17 in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Greece, who — as anyone who knows the first thing about him can tell you — cornered the market on charm a long time ago. The prince not only writes engrossing books on such diverse subjects as the supernatural, ghosts, historical figures of royal birth, exotic locales such as harems, seraglios and such, but is also a charismatic speaker. Hear, hear!
In his latest book, “St. Petersburg’s White Night,” Prince Michael, a Romanov whose grandmother was the Grand Duchess Olga of all the Russias, deals with his obsession and fascination with a most puzzling fact: The mysterious disappearance of the Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich in name and in person. The poor fellow has even been eradicated from the imperial family’s genealogical tree! Oh, fie! Oh, shame! Oh, damn it all! What happened? Why?
It’s a riveting and Romanesque true detective story in the heart of Imperial Russia that uncovers, so to speak, the beautiful and notorious American adventuress Fanny Lear. So sensual was she that Grand Duke Nicholas had her sculpted in marble wearing not a stitch and adorned her nude statue with magnificent jewels to the end of his days. Sweet, but what a waste.
In the book, we learn of stolen icons, of diamonds that could have financed the beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution, and even perhaps of the assassination of Nicholas’s uncle, Czar Alexander II, in 1881. Sheer melodrama! Prince Michael will spill it all with great elan in his speech, “The Forgotten Romanov,” at the Carlyle dinner. And it will be only 15 minutes!!!
The dinner is a benefit for the Palace of Versailles and Giverny, the famous house and gardens where the great Claude Monet lived and painted for years of his life. This year, the Foundation’s supporters have enabled it to acquire for Versailles four Delanois chairs made for the exquisite salon in the Petits Apartements of Madame Du Barry, Louis XV’s mistress, and for Giverny, the last fields surrounding its gardens, thereby saving them from a “french fries” syndicate! Ooo-ooo-ooo, what a little monnaie will do-ooo-ooo.
Florence (Mrs. Gerald) Van der Kemp, who with her late husband, the acclaimed curator of Versailles and Giverny, was responsible for the formation of the Foundation, is coming for dinner and so are her daughter Barbara de Portago, vice president of the Foundation; Vivien and Guy Wyser-Pratt; Valerie and Donald Zilkha; Anne Sutherland Fuchs; Kathryn (Mrs. Austin) Hearst; Lynn Wyatt; Kenneth Jay Lane; Pierre Durand; Prince Michel of Yugoslavia, and a roomful of others of that ilk and stripe.
On April 22 at a dinner dance at the Plaza, the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will bestow its Annual Awards for Excellence in Corporate Leadership, Medicine and Philanthropy on Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Dr. Alan N. Houghton and Carroll (Mrs. Milton) Petrie, respectively. All richly deserved. Mrs. Arie (Coco) Kopelman and Mrs. Douglas (Patsy) Warner are the chairs of the evening.
You all know Lou Gerstner, one of the biggest names in big business who has had a marvelous run as chairman and chief executive officer of IBM. Presently a vice chairman of Sloan-Kettering’s Board of overseers, he is also chairman of its Institute for Cancer Research.
You all know Dr. Houghton, internationally known and recognized for his study of how the immune system recognizes and rejects cancer. He is the chairman of MSKCC’s Immunology Department.
And you certainly know glamorous Carroll Petrie, who is among the Center’s most generous supporters, a member of the Board of Overseers, and she and her late husband endowed a Chair at MSKCC as well as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Unit.
A gold mine of vintage Saint Laurents from the Seventies and Eighties just arrived at the City Opera Thrift Shop, donated by some of the most fashionable women in New York. And just in time for its benefit happening on Monday. Hamish Bowles, Amy Fine Collins and Lorry Newhouse are chairing this seductive shopping spree taking place at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. The ultimate seducer, “Don Giovanni,” was chosen as the theme to entice and beguile guests at this year’s trove of designer finds. The dress for the night is “Red Hot and Black Tie.” Oh, and Neve Campbell is the mistress of ceremonies.
Some of the city’s yummy mummies and their yummy kids will gather for a face-painting and cookie-decorating spree at Dylan’s Candy Bar on Monday. It’s another benefit — every lighted candle in New York is a benefit — for Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, which now has a national accredited pre-school among its children’s programs. Alex Kramer and Julie Dannenberg-Regal are the chairs and on the Kids in Candyland committee are such as Renee Rockefeller, Alexandra Von Furstenberg, Aerin Lauder, Grace Hightower, Ione Skye and Lauren duPont. Bring on the peanut butter and jelly.