Byline: Aileen Mehle
Ten years ago, Kenneth Jay Lane, purveyor of fantasy jewels extraordinaire, gave away in marriage Gale Hayman, creator of the smash hit perfume Giorgio and of a cosmetics line bearing her name, as well as the writer of books. The man who got her was Dr. William Haseltine, super scientist and geneticist who has sequenced the whole genetics chain, responsible for your DNA and mine. Dear Bill.
Since KJL was a member of the wedding, it was only fitting that he give a party for the ever-so-happy couple on their wedding anniversary a decade later at his luxe duplex with its soaring ceilings, filled with bibelots and objets d’art, paintings and fine furniture, much of it covered in leopard. Dear Kenny.
Gale wore a short, vintage off-white crepe buttoned in gold (Dior Couture 1966) and a belt with matching gold tassels. You would have loved it.
“There is some quite decent caviar in the dining room,” announced KJL in the understatement of the year and stood back to avoid the onrushing horde.
Among the horders were such worthies as Ambassador and Mrs. Richard Holbrooke (she is the author Kati Marton); Judy Miller of the New York Times and her husband, the publishing world’s Jason Epstein; Wendy Vanderbilt and her onetime stepmother, Jean Harvey Vanderbilt, looking Russian princess-y in a big fur hat; Lizzie Spender Humphries, whose husband Barry Humphries (aka the infamous entertainer Dame Edna) was off in Philadelphia doing his outrageous thing; the Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S. Rubens Barbosa and his pretty wife Maria-Ignez; Princess Firyal of Jordan, trimmed in chinchilla, with a new Moulin Rouge hairdo, very La Goulue; Cecile and Ezra Zilkha; Patricia Patterson; Judy and Ed Ney; Mary McFadden, etc., etc., etc. and on and on into the night. Toasts to Gale and Bill were drunk and drunk and drunk. It’s the only way, really.
Maybe you’ve heard it by now but just the same…it was a recent near miss for Princess Michael of Kent — who has her devoted claque in New York, where she lectures from time to time and has parties given for her — when a helicopter in which she was flying was forced to land high in the Andes mountains because of bad weather. The princess had left an airfield in Arequipa, Peru, with her host, the tycoon Jim Sherwood, and a dozen other tourists to visit the wondrous Colca Canyon, which is twice as grand as our Grand Canyon. On the way, a thick fog rolled in from the Pacific and the pilot had to fly near the mountains in order to see. He landed in the wilderness near an abandoned farmhouse he had seen from the air, 15,000 feet up. The freezing temperatures and thin oxygen might have led to disaster, but they siphoned off fuel from the helicopter to light a fire and used a cell phone to call for help. Torrential rains had washed out the roads and help didn’t arrive for eight hours. But all’s well that ends well, and the princess is now home safe and sound in London. It takes something hairier than a forced landing and a storm scene from Shakespeare to knock Princess Michael off her pins. Hail, Britannia.
Talk about running off to join the circus, Princess Stephanie of Monaco has run off with Franco Knie and his traveling circus. Listen, it’s not as odd as it sounds, because Knie, 46, is a descendant of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria whose son Freidrich founded the Circus Knie, now the national circus of Switzerland, in 1803. Steph and Franco met two years ago when she handed him a prize at the annual Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. Last summer, she brought her three children to the big top, shocking the gentry by letting six-year-old Pauline be photographed in a pink tutu whilst riding high in the air on an elephant’s trunk. By the way, Knie just separated from his wife. Send in the clowns.
Model Christie Brinkley and her husband, Peter Cook, the closest thing we have to replicas of Barbie and Ken in human form, are the honorary chairmen of this year’s Bunny Hop party at FAO Schwarz on Tuesday. The Bunny Hop is supposed to be for children of all ages, but it’s social cotton tails from five to 10 years old who will bask in the limelight. The Associates Committee of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering are giving the toy store-wide celebration to help put in a new family kitchen and pantry as part of the complete renovation of the hospital’s Department of Pediatrics facility, and they’ve seen to it that every little body will go home with a bulging party bag. Among the baby bloomers and adult boomers hippety-hopping to Bunnyland are such mummies and daddies as Pia and Christopher Getty and Carol and George McFadden. It’s a small world.
Artist Lynn Chase, who’s just wild about wildlife and paints it on her porcelains, has been in Palm Beach at the new Neiman Marcus store signing those patterned porcelains for a good cause, the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, which received tidbits from every plate sold. Who among us doesn’t know that Palm Beachers are simply crazy about a good animal story splashed all over their clothing and tabletops? Lilly Pulitzer famously did it on her Lilly dresses printed with hot pink and green frogs, palm tress and what have you. Now Lynn does it with zebras and cheetahs on her china. Maybe it sort of runs in families, because even the dumbest Palm Beach citizen — not you, darling — knows that Lynn and Lilly are semirelated, Lynn’s stepmother, Flossie, and Lilly Pulitzer being sisters. So what if it’s a stretch? After the signing, Lynn’s chums swept off to a dinner in her honor at the Everglades Club. It was Palm Beach-chic and terminally civilized, but if you looked hard enough, there was a certain amount of wildlife in evidence. Not you, darling.
The famous New York family, the Warburgs, have always been known for their devotion to charities. Now the indefatigable Phyllis Farley has taken on a new project. For years, she was the chairman of the Maternity Center Association, following in the footsteps of her great humanitarian and philanthropic mom, the late Carola Warburg Rothschild. Now Phyllis is the head of a pilot program called Doulas for the Dying, whose mission it is to recruit, train and supervise volunteers to be with those dying alone in hospitals. Traditionally, doulas are those wonderful women who provide one-on-one emotional and physical support to mothers during pregnancy, labor and birth. Through the new program, doula skills will be applied to the end of life as well. Thank you and bless you, Phyllis Farley.