Byline: Aileen Mehle

This Is What It Was: The opening night of American Ballet Theatre’s Fall Season. The evening of divine dance was called “A Tribute to the American Spirit” and so it was, a special performance at City Center featuring ABT’s dazzling stars at their most dazzling. The dinner afterward at the University Club brought out hundreds of the ballet company’s devotees including many beautiful, beautifully dressed women. The night raised over $500,000; the company has never been in better financial shape, and this is what Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie had to say: “The art of dancing offers a liberating and uplifting reminder of what the human spirit can achieve when directed toward the goals of beauty, goodness and truth.” Hear, hear.
This Is What They Wore: Julia Koch, the evening’s chairman, in Valentino’s long, black coat striped with silver paillettes; Blaine Trump in Celine’s black evening suit with a golden paillette blouse; Karenna Gore in a burgundy silk slip; Cari Modine, chic-ly suited in gray silk; Princess Pavlos (Marie Chantal) of Greece in a long black skirt and a gathered blouse the color of a deep blush; Nina Griscom in a sheer black lace top; Arriana Boardman in blue silk with a beaded necklace clasped with sable tails (it’s the only way, really); Judy Peabody in red satin; Muffie Potter Aston in a cream satin tuxedo by Badgley Mischka, like that.
In The Crowd: Prince Pavlos of Greece, Winston Churchill and his Belgian wife, Luce; Joy Henderiks; David Koch, who delivered an upbeat speech on the current state of ABT; George McNeely; Dixon Boardman; Ashley Schiff, and Michael Kors, the creative director of the French house of Celine, as if you didn’t know. Michael designed the costumes for ABT’s contemporary new ballet “Clear,” which had its world premiere Thursday night at City Center starring principal dancers Maxim Belotserkovsky, Angel Corella, Marcelo Gomes and Julie Kent. For the dancers, Michael used quite a lot of nude matte jersey, jumpsuits, plunging necklines, cummerbunds, bootleg trousers and, did I say, nude matte jersey? Ever so many Celine fans promised the audience would simply eat it up+

Such caring mommies and daddies as Grace Hightower, who is married to Robert DeNiro (their son Elliot is three), Cynthia and Dan Lufin, Kimberly Rockefeller, Nicole Miller, Jennifer Creel, Debbie Bancroft and Claudia Fleming of local social circles will take the kiddies to the Ghosties & Goodies party next week at Doubles, celebrating Halloween at the private club for the 26th year in a row. Many of these same mommies and daddies had fun there when they were little ones, can you believe it? Wendy Carduner, Doubles’ guiding light, is laying on magic acts, disco dancing and even Sparkles the Clown. You all remember Sparkles. No you don’t.

Speaking of sweet young things and their parties, who doesn’t remember, even hazily, his/her junior prom. Now Robert (Bob) Mosbacher’s friends in Houston are thinking senior proms, vintage senior proms, to be exact. On March 9, they’re having a big blast at the Bayou Club in Houston honoring the Texas multimillionaire oilman and secretary of commerce in former president George Bush’s cabinet. The exact reason for the celebration has not yet been divulged — there are those who are afraid to ask — but guests are being asked to share a vintage photo of their school days with the promulgaters. Sure.

Katie Couric, perky and pretty with newer, longer hair, and Richard Meier, the distinguished, white-maned architect who has always had longer hair, will add additional cachet to the Opening Night Party of the Winter Antiques Show on Jan. 17, when they will serve as co-chairmen of the evening. Not that this preview show benefiting East Side House Settlement needs cachet. The chic crowd, some of whom knows one antique from another, always turns out to see and be seen — and for a very good cause.
On view will be superb antiques and works of art, some on special loan from the Winterthur Museum and Library in Pennsylvania now celebrating its 50th anniversary. One of the highlights to be shown from Henry Francis du Pont’s collection at Winterthur is the Van Pelt high chest, which Henry Francis bought for a record $44,000 in a bidding war with William Randolph Hearst Sr. That was in 1929, when these two antiques-seeking missiles bought everything precious they could lay their hands on. Arie Kopelman is the chairman of the Winter Antiques Show and Margaret Russell and Joan Young are the co-chairmen of the opening night committee.