Byline: Aileen Mehle
Anyone can tell you where the United Nations is; it’s that big place over by the East River. You know, the one with the flags of all nations forever snapping in the wind. And the delegates forever snapping at one another.
But, even if for one night only, another more glamorous, better-dressed version of the U.N. (no deal making in the halls, for instance) could be found on the pink and crystal St. Regis Roof when a perfumed pack, 260 strong and showing off their finery, gathered to celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of one of New York’s fascinating couples, Ahmet Ertegun, the Turkish-born music world legend, and his chic wife, Mica, Romanian-born, best-dressed and an interior decorator of note. They have been part of the city’s social and cultural life for, well, for at least 40 years, making hundreds of friends along the way.
Talk about an international guest list, all terribly top of the line. There were people there from practically every spot on earth except maybe Fernando Poo in Bight of Biafra, and I’m not even sure about that. United Nations, indeed. If it’s the mix that makes the party, they were all in the right place at the right time. Most of the guests are Americans now, but many of them started off someplace else. And about all those mellifluous accents. Even Ahmet, after listening to the what-did-he-say? speeches made by the male hosts, said, “Oh, my God.”
So let me make my point. The hosts of the party, who absolutely adore Ahmet and Mica and were thrilled to say so, were Dr. Henry Kissinger (German) and his wife, Nancy (American); Julio Mario Santo Domingo, maybe the richest man in Colombia, and his wife, Beatrice (also Colombian), and Oscar de la Renta (Dominican) and his wife, Annette (American). Among the tony guests seated at the many tables in the crowded room were the noted author and Picasso biographer John Richardson (England); Kosei Hara (Japan); man about the world Jean Pigozzi (Italy, obviously); the famous international architect I.M. Pei (China) and his wife, Eileen (China); Lord and Lady Weidenfeld (England); Cecile and Ezra Zilkha (Iraq and Lebanon); Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera (Venezuela); zillionaire Gustavo Cisneros and his wife Patty (Venezuela); Alfred Taubman (Detroit) and his wife Judy (Israel/Greece) who wore the most spectacular jewel at the party; Taki Theodoracopoulos (Greece); Boaz Mazor (Israel); Gil Shiva (Israel), and David Metcalfe (England) and his wife, Sally (American, but almost English, having lived in London for years). Then there were billionaire Sid Bass (Texas) and his wife, Mercedes (Iran); Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, stunning in Dolce & Gabbana (British); Vera Wang (Chinese) and Arthur Becker (American); Nicole Salinger (French); Drue Heinz (England), and the Sirio Maccionis (Italy).
Add to that Vivian Duffield (England) and Sir Jocelyn Stevens (ditto); Emilia and Pepe Fanjul (Cuba); Lynn Forester (American) and her husband Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (well, you know); Joy Hendricks (Belgium); Sarah Giles (England); Camilla McGrath (Italy) and Earl McGrath (American); Princess Laetitita Boncompagni (Italy); the beautiful Lita Livanos (Greece), and hey, Mick Jagger (he started out in England and never quit).
Then there were Diane Von Furstenberg (Belgium); Barry Diller (California); Jackie (English) and Jean Charles de Ravenel (French); Barbara Black (England) and Conrad Black (Canada); Princess Firyal of Jordan (Jordan, but you knew that); Florence Grinda (France); Louise (American) and Henry Grunwald (Austria); Irith Landeau (Israel); Ann and Mick Jones (England); Dreda Mele and Philippe Stern (France), and, and, and, and. So, my dears, you know what I’m saying about multinationals?
Moving right along and giving equal time to the red, white, and blue. In the crowd of North Americans were such as Pat and Bill Buckley, Shelby Bryan, Shirley and Abe Rosenthal, Wendy Stark from California, Liz and Damon Mezzacappa, Nick Dunne, Douglas Cramer, Linda and Morton Janklow, Catie and Donald Marron, Jane Holzer, Marilyn and Don Hewitt, Donna and Bill Acquavella, Nina and Dr. Dan Baker, Paul Wilmot, Bette Midler, Patricia Patterson, Gale Hayman and Dr. William Haseltine, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Elaine Kaufman, Katharine Graham of the Washington Post Grahams, Ashton Hawkins, Andre Leon Talley, Janet and Derald Ruttenberg, Angelica Huston and Robert Graham, Brooke and Peter Duchin, Duane Hampton, Lynn Nesbit, Johnny Galliher, Joe Armstrong, Senga and John Jay Mortimer, Pauline Baker Pitt, Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols and on and on into the night.
The music was nonstop and you could hear it for blocks — we’re dealing with music man Ahmet here — Robert Isabell decorated the room and the dance floor was so crowded you couldn’t have squeezed another Brit, German, Austrian, Israeli, Turk, Romanian, French, Canadian, Greek, Colombian, Cuban, Venezuelan, Italian, American or Iranian in. To say nothing of some socialite from Fernando Poo in Bight of Biafra.