Byline: Aileen Mehle

You either care desperately about it or you don’t give a flying fig. I refer to the latest International Best Dressed List for 2000-2001 herewith submitted for your approval/disapproval, to frame in gilt or to cast into darkness. Read it and weep, read it and laugh hysterically, read it and say congratulations to a committee of fashion authorities who made the selections for a job well done. So without further ado — and alphabetically:
Victoire de Castellane, the French socialite and jewelry designer.
Susan Fales-Hill, the New York television producer.
Mrs. David (Julia) Koch, the New York and Palm Beach hostess and wife of a very rich man.
Mrs. Henry (Marie-Josee) Kravis, the Canadian-born economist and wife of a very rich man.
Marian McEvoy, the editor in chief of House Beautiful.
Enid Nemy, the New York Times journalist.
Sally Tadayon, the Iranian/Swedish New York sculptor.
Chloe Sevigny, the movie actress.
Anne McNally, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.
Christina Macaya, the Spanish social leader.
Mrs. Sami (Rena) Sindi of New York, the Iraqui-born daughter of Investcorp titan Nemir Kirdar and his wife, Nada.
Uma Thurman, the New York movie actress.
Also, each year, those fashionable women who have been regarded as best-dressed for enough years to merit the ultimate in recognition are elevated to the List’s Hall of Fame, a distinction devoutly to be wished, of course. This year’s grupetto is as follows:
Lauren Bacall, the star of film and stage.
Marisa Berenson, the New York actress/fashion figure.
Mrs. Saul (Gayfryd) Steinberg, the New York socialite and philanthropist.
Mrs. Martin (Ann) Summers, the American-born wife of the London art dealer.
Marie-Beatrice, Countess Arco, a Hapsburg descendant and the wife of Austrian count and financier, Riprand Arco.
Eleanor Lambert, a legend in the fashion biz, founded and has conducted this poll for the past 62 years. In her words, “the current shifts and confusion within the fashion industry today have made women of taste everywhere more keen to depend on themselves in choosing clothes.” Well, fine. The committee, which tabulates the written-in ballots and announces the results, further points out that the women cited this year “represent the current importance of personal style rather than temporary trends.” You think?
Whatever, personal favorites are pushed to great avail at the final meeting of judges at Eleanor Lambert’s apartment — who pushed whom is so easy to spot — and maybe that’s what they’re there for. Some women listed are the ultimate in taste and always beautifully turned out. But if you don’t recognize one odd name or another, even with an accompanying description, you are not alone.
Some on the list had never even been heard of until the last year or so when they seemed to spring full-blown onto the scene. If you’re mentioned enough and your picture appears in the papers often enough, taken, of course, at a party a night in something unbearably stylish (or even unbearable), you could well be fresh fodder when voting time rolls around. Or you might wear, all thrown together at the same time, a green hat, a purple crocodile belt, red snakeskin shoes, fishnets, a military cross and a beaded bag, and, all of a sudden, you’re fashion-fabulous, big time. Please. Anyhow, may all the listed ladies wear whatever “personal” they feel like whenever they feel like it and in the best of health.

The news from Switzerland and Greece is that following in the footsteps of other children of privilege and demonstrating her Greek tycoon grandfather Aristotle Onassis’s ambition and drive, 16-year-old Athina Onassis Roussel, maybe one of the richest girls in the world, is planning to go for the Olympic gold with the Greek Equestrian Team in 2004. She has been invited to try out for a position by the Hellenic Equestrian Foundation and is said to be keen. Athina is a fine rider who has competed in Europe for the past eight years. She is also an excellent skier and tennis player and speaks French, English and Swedish. She lives in Switzerland on the shores of Lake Geneva with her father, Thierry Roussel, and her step-family, but her ties to Greece and her Greek family are said to be strong. Her Greek family, distrustful of Roussel, has worked hard to keep them that way. On Jan. 29, 2003, when she turns 18, Athina will inherit one billion dollars from her mother Christina Onassis’s estate. God bless the child who has her own — and maybe even gets to keep it.

The young art patrons of the Whitney Museum will gather for a gala next Thursday where they’ll all get a peek at the digital art show. There will be “high definition” dancing and “virus free” cocktails, whatever they are. The gala’s chairman, Jacqueline Anderson — the actress wife of the museum’s director, Maxwell Anderson — sent a passel of pretty young things, all on her committee, to pick out baubles from David Yurman’s Pink Passion Silver Ice Collection to wear to the party. These shiny things can all be seen on Lucie de la Falaise, Amber Valletta and Patti Hansen in W, Vogue and Vanity Fair. Naturally, David Yurman and his wife, Sybil, are the sponsors of the party. Would you like to know who has been invited? Well, anyhow, Cornelia Guest, Debbie Bancroft, Samantha Boardman, Jane Lauder and Nadja Swarovski, who have been asked to arrived dressed “digitally.” Whatever the hell that is.