Byline: Aileen Mehle
Down among the sheltering palms, by the blue, blue sea, in their Great House — Casa Grande to you — and in their perfect little guest houses — casitas to you, set in acres of beautiful gardens — those impeccable hosts, Emilia and Pepe Fanjul of the sugar Fanjuls gathered a group of their friends — amigos to you — for a long weekend at Casa de Campo, their resort at La Romana in the Dominican Republic. There’s not much to do there, merely swim, sun, shoot, ride a boat, a horse or a helicopter, bike, play golf and tennis, walk for miles, get a massage, read, sleep, dance and make love. Some can even do two at the same time. No names, please.
More or less the same group arrives each year for the special weekend in this paradise of thatched roofs — jalapas to you — which makes it nice and easy. If a new face is added, thank heaven it’s a lovely one, like Princess Arriana von Hohenlohe, the radiant bride-to-be, or Denise Hale, the San Francisco hostess, who said that for her, Casa de Campo was one of the most glorious spots in the world. (She’s seen most of it.) Denise said she hadn’t slept so well anywhere in five years, and to prove it wore her diamante dog collar to the farewell party at Casa Grande in good health.
This year the usual British contingent was absent, having other fish and chips to fry. The Hon. Peter Ward, the Earl of Dudley’s brother, and his wife, Liz, were off with Pauline Baker Boardman Pitt on her chartered yacht. Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough’s brother, was said to have urgent business somewhere and David Metcalfe, who’s at every lighted candle, wasn’t at this one. Sir David Frost, the famous international television host who shoots questions at some of the most important people in the world, was supposed to show up with his wife, Lady Carina Frost, but he was busy interviewing someone. God? I mean, he’s already interviewed William F. Buckley Jr. The Lady Carina is the Duke of Norfolk’s daughter, hence the title Lady Carina. Were she not Norfolk’s daughter, she would merely be Lady Frost. See how that works? Anyhow, those were the unlucky ones who missed the fun.
Among the lucky ones were Princess Maria Pia di Savoia, the daughter of the last king of Italy, who lives in Palm Beach and has a house in the Dominican Republic; Prince Michel de Bourbon-Parme, the blue-blooded Vietnam war hero; the newlyweds Hilary and Peter Green, who arrived on their private plane, Peter being really terribly, terribly rich and all with houses everywhere you point. Deborah Norville of your TV and mine who looked like a blonde doll in strapless pink gingham party dress. Dear Deborah flew through the night Friday after her show to join her husband, Karl Wellner, who had arrived the night before. He waited up for her. Sweet.
Then there was Prince Pierre d’Arenberg on his way to Mexico where he just bought a house in Carreyes. His wife, the beautiful Sylvia, and the two kiddies are already there. Pierre will next be seen in Venice and then London in June where the haute monde will gather for what will be good times for good causes. For instance, there will be parties in the best palazzi in Venice and a big ball at the Prince of Wales’s country estate, Highgrove.
Cristina Goldsmith of Palm Beach, newly divorced from Gerry Goldsmith after more than 20 years of marriage, looked blooming. So does divorce agree with some women? Yes, and especially with her. Everyone was happy and surprised when Max Fisher flew over for a day and a night from Palm Beach. Blaine and Robert Trump were there, eating pancakes for breakfast, don’t hold the syrup. Each was covered in layers of sunblock, and Blaine wore her straw hat trimmed with an acre of flowers whenever she went out the door. So did blonde, blue-eyed Shirley Lord Rosenthal, who used to be a Vogue beauty editor and who knows better than Vogue that no blonde wants to end up sunbaked and like a shriveled pea. On the other hand, Shirley’s husband, the political columnist A. M. Rosenthal, welcomes the sun, but then he’s Mr. Salt and Pepper and what does he care? And what does Hilly Pilkington of the London Pilkingtons care? She’s a dark brunette with dark eyes, and if a George Hamilton-like coffee-tan is good enough for well, George Hamilton, it’s good enough for her. Hilly is a good enough tennis player to have made Wimbledon, but Guilford Dudley of the Nashville and Palm Beach Dudleys, an evergreen 93, beat her on the Casa de Campo courts. Dear Guilford. And dear Jane Dudley, his fetching Southern belle wife, has a Scarlett O’Hara waist and that ain’t all.
Wendy Vanderbilt, chic itself, night and day, was there with the noted New York neurologist Dr. Frank Petito. As you read here, they are a definite item and from the look of them, happy to be. Lorna de Wangen, blonde, beautiful and hatted, was there with her husband, Larry Graev, and let us not forget those fine fellows, Paul Wilmot and Duncan McLaren, who brighten every corner.
The most beautiful dress of the weekend was worn by Emilia Fanjul, a short, striped, multicolored beaded smash by Oscar de Renta, who was off at his house in another part of the D.R. recovering nicely from back surgery.
Oh, and Henry Kravis, who really never seemed crazy about the D.R. in the first place, has sold his stupendous house — somebody thought it was a post office — in La Romana to the Venezuelan zillionaire Gustavo Cisneros, who is crazy about it and who will not only live in the house but use it as a base for his far-flung businesses.
And that’s all they wrote. See me later.