Byline: Aileen Mehle
The New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala raised $1.4 million for the company, so let us all raise our glasses to that — and to the glorious dancers onstage and their big moments. The evening was meant to celebrate the Diamond Project, underwritten primarily by the Irene Diamond Fund, and after the dance extravaganza there was a Supper Ball in the New York State Theater, beautifully organized and superbly handled. Deep bows to Mr. and Mrs. Guy (Lucile) Peyrelongue of L’Oreal, the co-chairs of the event, and Rose Marie Bravo of Burberry, the corporate chairman, sponsors of the evening. Both Lucile and Rose Marie wore black — this is after all New York — Lucile’s a filmy black lace, Rose Marie’s black organza, the work of Roberto Menichetti, Burberry’s star designer. Roberto was there in his own individual take on white tie with his pounds of hair in a braid hanging down his back. Roberto was not born to blush unseen, and good for him.
The invitations read black tie, and at the ball you could cast your beady eye on those who adhered to the request, in many cases beautifully, and those who didn’t bother, a group that looked dressed for a bench in Central Park, guaranteed to frighten the pigeons. In perhaps the fashion capital of the world, there they were, the best and the worst, the wheat and the chaff, the sheep and the goats. May I say they were easy to separate?
Before dinner was served, three “gay divorcees” or about-to-be-divorcees stood together posing for a picture: Carolyn Roehm in a red chiffon Oscar de la Renta, Cece Kieselstein-Cord in a dark blue chiffon sheath and Katherine Bryan in a Chanel cream-colored, beaded column. Now I realize that gay doesn’t mean what it used to and it certainly doesn’t apply in this case, but my God, those ladies looked happy. Maybe they know something we don’t. As they posed in their red, white and blue regalia, Carolyn said laughingly that they looked just like a flag. Heh, heh, heh. Then someone else said, “Yeah, from an independent country.” They all giggled. What the heck, it was late.
The big woman at Vogue, Anna Wintour, wore one of the most beautiful dresses in the room, Gaultier’s clinging scarlet beaded chiffon with no back to speak of. Her escort was Andre Leon Talley, all done up in a black and gold brocade jacket. A lot of people stared at Anne McNally and then stared again. She wore one of those wildly deconstructed “insane asylum” dresses by John Galliano for Dior, white and shredded in pieces. Fashion is where you find it, and she ferreted it out. Blaine Trump, fresh from the International Best Dressed List, was a sugarplum fairy in Burberry’s short golden brown organza with a burnt orange leather skirt peeping out underneath, whipped together, of course, by Roberto Menichetti. In the crowd: Nina Griscom and Dan Baker, Sloan and Roger Barnett, Victor Barnett, the chairman of Burberry, and his wife, Lainie, Tina Brown with Joe Armstrong, Wendy Wasserstein with Douglas Cramer, Robert Higdon, Fe Fendi, Joan Rivers, Stanley Tucker of Burberry in a kilt, Mai Hallingby and Ridgeley Harrison, who are getting married in Southampton at the end of July, and hundreds and hundreds of other just like them.
In another part of the forest, the Prince of Wales is celebrating what Eastern Christians call the Bright Week after Easter with a spiritually rejuvenating pilgrimage to the legendary holy monasteries of Mount Athos on a secluded peninsula in Northern Greece. The Prince, always passionate about religion, is particularly close to the Greek Orthodox Faith. Understandable, when you remember that his father, Prince Philip, is from the Greek royal family, and that Charles himself was finally lured back to New York after a long absence by a benefit opening of the Byzantium Show at the Metropolitan Museum, for the Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine’s on Mount Sinai.
Prince Charles once again borrowed his friend the Greek tycoon John Latsis’s yacht, the Alexander, and sailed through the Aegean, probably because that’s the only way to get to Mount Athos. He had no choice but to leave Camilla behind, because the ancient monasteries have always banned women. In previous centuries, visitors had actually to undergo a strip search to make sure nothing female got in. (This is spiritual?) Charles, of course, got to keep his kilt on. In a skirt or out, you don’t muck about with a future king.
Camilla was hardly thrilled to pieces that she had to stay behind, the gossip goes — and goes — and goes that Charles brought his cell phone along with promises of daily calls and the happy knowledge that they will shortly partake of a rendezvous on the romantic nearby island of Limnos. It is hoped she will find His Royal Highness refreshed and ready for the London season.
(Next week, weddings and things and an evening honoring Brooke Astor laid on at the Ukrainian Embassy by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.)