Byline: Aileen Mehle
The times have definitely been peachier and creamier for the two most famous auction houses in the country, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, with heavy, heavy and serious charges of collusion hanging over their heads. But troubles and woe didn’t stop Mrs. Alfred (Judy) Taubman, the wife of Sotheby’s former chairman, from giving a great party for the magnificent London Symphony Orchestra in the auction house’s splendid new quarters. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was there in the flesh as the evening’s honored guest and appeared to be in fine fettle — only shifting in his chair three times during the LSO’s mini-concert. (I counted.) Thank God he knows how to give a speech, short and amusing; the more than 300 guests loved him. He made it clear that mummy, Queen Elizabeth, is the actual patron of the LSO and that he was really only there to do some royal pinch-hitting. He remarked that when he left London the Queen said to him, “Remember, it’s my orchestra.” He remembered all right.
The program before dinner was brilliant — handsome Thomas Hampson, the great baritone, sang selections from Mahler and Richard Strauss; Andre Previn, who guided the LSO for years and is now its conductor laureate, starred at the piano; the amazing young Sarah Chang, playing the violin with her own particular brand of verve and showmanship, showed why she is the most gifted of artists, and a number of members of the LSO delighted with their violins and cellos. You could not have asked for more magic musical moments.
Nancy and Henry Kissinger were there — Nancy in a long, black velvet coat — as were the great composer/conductor Pierre Boulez; the charming British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer and pretty Lady Meyer; Sir Ronald Grierson; Veronica Hearst; Carroll Petrie in a beaded gray confect by Mary McFadden; Alexis Gregory; April Riddle; the corporate chairman of the evening, Orit Gadiesh of Bain & Co.; Khalil Rizk; Jamie Niven; Tiffany and Louis Dubin; Kenneth Jay Lane; Dixon Boardman with Arriana von Hohenlohe; Carol and George McFadden; Kay Meehan; Shirley and Abe Rosenthal; Anna Moffo; the George Shearings; Lord and Lady Stevens of Ludgate; David Tang; Coco and Arie Kopelman; John Galliher; the Robert Taubmans; Patricia Duff; Duane Hampton; Ghislaine Maxwell; Linda Wachner; Gaetana Enders; David Metcalf; Patricia Patterson; Lee Thaw; Pierre Durand; Phillips Hathaway, and, of course, Alfred Taubman himself, who was enjoying the evening more than almost anyone. Life goes on, don’t you always say? And because of the evening, today the LSO is $600,000 richer.
To help life go on, Glorious Food fed the multitudes — artichoke bottoms with poached quail eggs and caviar, loin of veal Florentine and warm chocolate souffle tortes with raspberries and vanilla bean ice cream.
Just about the time all this was going on, Prince Andrew’s daddy, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was holding up the side, too. In Beverly Hills, Prince Philip presented the Congressional Award Foundation’s Leadership Award to Nancy Reagan at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where both received guests and then proceeded to a private reception for 30 close friends. Very black-tie. This prestigious award is given to those who have displayed outstanding commitment to improving the lives of young people, and among those who have received the honor in the past are Gen. Colin Powell, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter and Prince Philip himself.
Philip was also the guest of honor at the American Horse Show’s dinner-dance aboard the Intrepid, a little affair that raised $2 million. Bob Hardwick and his orchestra supplied the sound of music and equine fancy folk came from far and near not only to honor Philip, but to help the association raise funds for its youth program. In the crowd were such as the Adalbert von Gontards, Jane Holzer, George Weymouth, Tricia (Nixon) and Edward Cox, etc. They all listened eagerly when Philip reminisced about the Intrepid, the noble ship that was out there to be counted in the Pacific in World War II. He was particularly pleased at Mrs. Robert Wood (Sale) Johnson’s recollection: “My dad played polo with you when I was just a pup.” Dear Sale.
Meanwhile, at the St. Regis, Venetian Heritage was giving its big, beautiful dinner party on the roof. The one and only Dodie Rosekrans of San Francisco society and a big Venice lover came in for the show, as did the one and only Amalita Lacroze de Fortabat, the richest woman in Argentina and another Venice lover. Khalil Rizk, the president of Venetian Heritage, and Larry Lovett, its chairman, presided over the St. Regis frolic — but more about this next week and about the dinners given by Khalil for Prince Pierre d’Arenberg and by Lee Thaw in honor of Amalita, Dodie and Khalil with all the swells out in full fig. But just a little mention now about Thomas Hampson, who again brought down the house singing gems from Cole Porter before the dinner party along with the fabulous Frederica von Stade, who arrived in New York from Hawaii just hours before the concert, but showed up just in time to sing “I Love Paris.” Class will tell.