Byline: Aileen Mehle
When Libby Pataki, New York’s tall blonde First Lady, goes to the Inaugural Ball in Washington Saturday night, she’ll be wearing the most beautiful evening dress designed by the Greek designer Chrysoula. The graceful, full skirt is a rich navy silk satin and the fitted top with three-quarter-length sleeves is made of white and silver silk embroidered in pearls and silver thread. Very romantic.
Chrysoula may not be a designer you hear about every day, but she is undeniably talented. This is what W magazine has written about her: “If you have a wonderful black-tie party to attend, and you want to be the belle of the ball in an absolutely fabulous gown, you should make an effort to check out the beautiful creations designed by Chrysoula Stamatiou. Her black-tie collection is comprised of richly colored fabrics and earth tones from the finest mills in France, Italy and Switzerland. Her gowns have an unusually ethereal quality which gives the illusion that they are floating against your skin.” Well, hello, Mrs. Pataki!
Senator Edward Kennedy, as in Teddy, and his wife, Victoria, as in Vicky, wearing a black evening suit and a diamond and pearl pin, were at the season premiere of “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera House It was the Met’s 1,046th performance of the Verdi opera. The Kennedys sat in the center box where Jackie Kennedy Onassis sat with Caroline and John over the years when they attended the opening nights of American Ballet Theatre. Luciano Pavarotti sang from the heart as the soldier Radames to Deborah Voigt’s heavenly Aida and Olga Borodina’s thrilling Amneris, who keeps her throne but loses her great love to the princess she turned into a slave. The Kennedys led the ovation for the magnificent production, complete with horses and a spectacular three-tiered Egyptian set. Teddy, who made it through all four acts to the midnight curtain, said he was off to Washington the next day for the confirmation hearings of John Ashcroft as attorney general. Well, all play and no work makes a senator a vulnerable boy, don’t you always say?
Pavarotti’s long time fiancee, Nicoletta Mantovani, is stuck to his ample side, but there is still no sign of a wedding. Fellow residents of his Central Park South co-op know he’s in residence when big bags of groceries from Fairway start flooding the lobby. Pavarotti is the only person who is allowed to have his goodies come in through the front door. Opera legends have their privileges, don’t you always say?
The American Ballet Theatre’s premiere of David Parsons’s “Pied Piper” isn’t until May 18, but with the help of the one and only Robert Isabell and the underwriting of Celine, the honorary chairs, Iman and Michael Kors, will help dance in the season with a kick-off party at Sotheby’s on Jan. 29. Already dancing their way to Iman’s and husband David Bowie’s table are Griffin Dunne, artist Damien Loeb and Moby. Dancing in from Los Angeles are Rene Russo, who just loves Michael Kors, the creative mind behind the Celine label. On the party committee are all those you read about and try hard to love — the James de Givenchys, Bettina Zilkha, Muffie Potter Aston, Blaine Trump, Peter Bacanovic, Nadja Swarovski, the Christopher Burches, Marina Rust, Susan Fales-Hill, Tara Rockefeller, Cornelia Guest, Cari Modine, Alexandra Golinkin, the Roger Barnetts, Caroline Berthet, Carol Mack, Lisa Heiden, Laura Hoffman, the Andrew Jareckis, like that. They all cross their hearts that it will be fun and different. All rightie.
Anyone looking for New York’s host with the most has only to check out Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where Khalil Rizk, the renowned collector and dealer in treasures at his Chinese Porcelain Company, entertains the town’s creme de la creme — not to be confused with the local skim milk, please — at his splendid town house where, if you do not choose to take the elevator, you can climb up and down about a hundred marble stairs leading from one of his floors to the next. Really swell. The other night, Khalil gave a dinner there for Casey Ribicoff, the vivacious widow of Senator Abe Ribicoff of Connecticut, who arrived all in chic-erino black with Bill Blass trousers and a Carolina Herrera top — or was it the other way around? Anyhow, seated at the long dining room table, eating from porcelain plates that must have cost a fortune, were such worthies as Cathy and Stephen Graham, Judy and Ed Ney, Lynn Nesbit, Catie and Donald Marron, Paola Cussi, Elizabeth Peabody, Pierre Durand, Peter Mathes (he is Casey’s son), Joe Armstrong, Gil Shiva and Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, all very festive. Which reminds me — it was Carolina Herrera Jr. and not her fashion designer mommy, Carolina Herrera Sr., who bought Candy Van Alen’s lovely apartment in Madrid. Jr. bought it with her own money, and she’s thrilled to be living and working there. Next up for Khalil is his dinner this week chez lui for Princess Michael of Greece. As in really swell.