Byline: Aileen Mehle

Blow trumpets, ring bells and scatter rose petals! Alexander Bolen and Eliza Reed Bolen, the statuesque beauty whose mummy and step-daddy are Annette and Oscar de la Renta, are expecting a baby Bolen in the fall. Whether it’s a boy or a girl doesn’t matter, because everyone is tickled pink and blue, especially Eliza’s daddy, Sam Reed. Of course, Annette and Sam have traveled this path before. Their son, Charles Reed, has issue (pardon me, Debrett’s), as has their older daughter, Beatrice Morrison. That’s the Beatrice Morrison who’s all ready to marry David Niven Jr., who can’t wait to marry her. Love, your magic spell is everywhere.

Spring is almost here, and with it come blooming romances and a lot of lusty lovers in the news lightly turning to thoughts of love. You know about the love match between legendary tennisists Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf — they may be planning a wedding on June 14, Steffi’s birthday — and then there’s sexy Russian ace Anna Kournikova, now engaged to Soviet skating star Pavel Bure. But did you know, or care, that Brian May of Queen and Brit actress Anita Dobson are back on track? Or that rock’s living legend Sir Cliff Richard, whose reputed celibacy gets almost as much attention as his platinum discs, is suddenly stuck on Karon Maskill, who does p.r., or that veteran stage and screen actor Alan Bates is now inseparable from the fine actress Anghara Rees? Whatever, former Prime Minister John Major’s daughter, Elizabeth, will beat the pack up the aisle when she marries her longtime beau, Luke Salter, on March 26 with a glittering reception for 180 following at stately Stapleford Park in Leicestershire. So posh.

Speaking of posh, John Major will probably become the new president of the swank Surrey Cricket Club, my dears, which is not exactly like being prime minister of Britain, but what the heck. The backstairs buzz at Buckingham Palace is that still another honor awaits him next month when Queen Elizabeth dubs him a Knight Commander of the Order of the Garter, England’s premier order of chivalry. He didn’t have to wait long for the prize. His predecessors, Baroness Thatcher and Edward Heath, had to tough it out for years and years before they made the cut. You realize there are never more than 24 Knights of the Garter at the same time. It’s not allowed. So you have to count the chaps carefully, you understand. Make a mistake and it’s off to the tower and off with your head. Just kidding. England has evolved, you see.

The race to dress the stars for the Oscars is in full gallop in L.A. American beauty Annette Bening has been poring over sketches by Escada’s designer, Brian Rennie, who is working around her darling tummy. Pregnant, you know. Warren Beatty again, you know. Annette’s co-star, Mena Suvari, the delicious young blonde who is the object of Kevin Spacey’s desire in the multi-nominated picture “American Beauty,” was at Escada’s Oscar preview brunch in Beverly Hills, where Rennie sent out 40 glam gowns with red carpet appeal. Mena walked right out with a midriff-baring silver-beaded mesh stunner to wear to the Screen Actor Guild Awards on Sunday. She also picked out a smashing little thing she just might wear to the Oscars, if you must know.
Also popping in to shop were Academy Award winner Angela Bassett, Mary Hart and Jane Seymour, who tried on everything from a slinky beaded dress to a ballgown with a bustle. Powerful Hollywood stylists have come by to pull dresses for stars to choose from, such as Halle Berry, Kim Basinger, Minnie Driver, Selma Hayak, Gloria Estefan, Geena Davis, Jennifer Tilly, Lisa Kudrow and Raquel Welch.

Marilyn Monroe’s four-inch waterfall rhinestone earrings that were sold at Christie’s to Harry Winston have been restyled in 110 carats of diamonds and will make their appearance on the delicate lobes of some major star on Oscar night. This, if you can believe it, is being kept a state secret. I can wait if you can.
What I’d really like to know is why Marilyn wore rhinestones all the time. Except for the diamond engagement ring Joe DiMaggio gave her, did she ever have any real jewelry of any importance? All that sex appeal may have translated into the odd bauble, bangle or bead from this and that man but not into big, beautiful rocks. It takes a certain singular talent for a woman to turn base metal into gold, and Marilyn didn’t have it. That legendary sorcerer’s apprentice Paulette Goddard could have shown her the way.

Calista Flockhart — her name weighs more than she does — is a multitalented actress who made her acting debut in many off-Broadway productions before landing the title role in “Ally McBeal,” thereby becoming an icon to neurotic singlettes everywhere. She is really not afraid to tackle anything, even a very different and demanding role in MGM’s “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her,” playing a tarot card reader who is devoted to a dying female lover. (Listen, whatever happened to heterosexual lovers?) Calista says it’s the most difficult role she has ever taken on, and she doesn’t mean the days and days she spent studying the craft of tarot reading. “It’s very complicated,” she says. “My character’s feelings are hurt, and she’s angry and ashamed of herself for feeling restless and impatient.” Backing her up while she goes through hell in the flick are Cameron Diaz, Amy Brennemand, Glenn Close, Kathy Baker and Holly Hunter, an amazing crew. So Calista, shut up and deal.

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