Byline: Aileen Mehle

If you’ve already heard this, don’t stop me — because I want to hear it again myself.
At a recent dinner at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales’s country house, Prince Charles is said to have given Madonna advice on where she should send her four-year-old daughter, Lourdes, to school. This as the M word commits more completely to Merry Old England, accent and all. The story goes that Charles recommended the very toff Pembridge Hall School for Girls, the sister school near the Wetherby School where Princess Diana used to take Prince William and Prince Harry daily.
Fodder being fodder, the London tabloids and the paparazzi, who call Madonna “Madge,” are writing almost as much about her as they did about Princess Diana. Meanwhile, everyone should know by now that Madonna/Madge’s new husband, director Guy Ritchie, has made plans to star his wife in his next movie, “The Mole,” a gangster flick in which Madonna will play an American woman in England who falls in love with a gang leader during a gang war and is suspected of being a police informer. “Madge” is also suspected of being involved in the production of the movie. And you can bet your bottom pound on that one.

Meg Ryan sneaked into Aspen with sexy singer/songwriter Andrew Hyra this week, but don’t get all excited, he’s her brother. Meg came to join her pal Laura Dern and Laura’s boyfriend, blues guitarist Ben Harper, who was giving a concert at the town’s Wheeler Opera House. Meg’s hot beau, Russell Crowe, went home to his ranch in Coff’s Harbor, Australia, where he played with his band, “30-Odd Foot of Grunts.” Let’s leave that one alone. As for the adorable Meg, she raised temperatures at the St. Regis Aspen Hotel when she sashayed through the lobby in her bathing suit and bathrobe on her way to the jacuzzi.
Later, Laura, who might be the first one to tell you that pink-pink-and-more-pink is the color of the Aspen season, went shopping at Lana Marks in the lobby where she picked out two pink alligator bags. At Lana’s show to benefit the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, Lara Flynn Boyle, in town with Jack Nicholson, as if you didn’t know, carried a pale pink “Europa” bag. Everywhere you look you see pink, from Gucci ski suits to Fendi minks. And if you’re not wearing a brand name, you might as well go back where you came from.
Aspen is still packing them in. The young, attractive, married-with-children crowd including Christian Curry and his wife, Ashley, their Nashville pals Stephanie and Patrick Maxwell (they are this year’s chairs of Nashville’s big blast, the Swan Ball), and horse lovers Ashley and Rusty Holzer are forever burning up the slopes while the exclusive Aspen Mountain Club is literally going to the dogs. Investment banker Damon Mezzacappa and his wife, Liz, brought in their wire-haired dachshunds Marco and Polo the other day, amusing Anne Bass sitting at a window table nearby. Others playing in the snow were brother and sister Tony and Cecilia Peck, both with their children; Lynda Carter and her husband, Robert Altman, and Diana Ross and Dean Cain, who, pity, skied without his tights and Superman logo. It was enough to make a girl burst into tears.

Among the dewy girls coming out at the International Debutante Ball in the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom were Alexandra Turnbull Carl of Washington D.C. and the Social Register Carls and Lisa Dupree, who is on the Dean’s List at Columbia, representing Massachusetts. Lisa spends some of her non-student times with her parents, Sunny and Frederick Dupree, at Northeast Harbor, Maine, in London and at St. Kitts and Stowe, Vt. All the Duprees spent the New Year at a house party in Stowe, driving up with the young David Rockefellers, which, if you’re going to drive anywhere is not a bad way to go.
As for Mrs. James (Candy) Van Alen, who along with Susan Eisenhower was the honorary co-chair of the deb ball, she went off to Newport for the fin de siecle, as Candy’s set might term it. Candy is a Newport stalwart as was her late husband, Jimmy, who lived and breathed tennis and had quarts of Vanderbilt blood coursing through his veins. Candy will not be going hunting in Spain anymore as she just sold her house in Madrid, the one she bought as a surprise for Jimmy, to Carolina Herrera. Her smashing daughter, Carolina Herrera Jr., who makes movies, will be living there while she’s working on a film about young boys who live (and die) to be toreros. Ole to that.

One of the biggest events of New York’s winter social season is, of course, the Winter Antiques Show. Some of the richest people in town and for miles around put in an appearance, get their pictures taken by a barrage of photographers and spend a lot of money, there hardly being an antique around that doesn’t cost a packet. This year’s show is a loan exhibition entitled “The Best Is Not Too Good For You: Colonial Williamsburg Celebrates 75 Years of Collecting,” so you may expect such treasures, 60,000 of them, from mahogany tables to porcelain tureens to folk art to a Cherokee pipe. The show runs from Jan. 19 to 28 at the 7th Regiment Armory on Park Avenue — but more of all this anon.

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