Byline: Aileen Mehle
Elizabeth Taylor, who memorably played Maggie the Cat years ago in “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,” has more lives than any feline of my acquaintance. Certainly more than the allotted nine. In London this week, she is said to have practically purred when, at Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth hung the title of Dame on her. For Elizabeth T., born in Britain, now in her sixties, it was perhaps the high point of a furiously hectic life, the ultimate honor. God knows she was not behind the door when they passed out comedy and tragedy. But you knew that.
For Elizabeth it was an exciting time of dress-up. Her magnificent wardrobe, high drama indeed, was created just for her by the famous designer Gianfranco Ferre, whom she happens to love, and likewise. For the investiture ceremony on Tuesday, Elizabeth wore a camisole of mauve silk crepe and tulle with floral forget-me-not embroidery and mauve silk trousers. Over this floated a long-sleeved mauve silk redingote with gold threading. They just love mauve in England and, besides, it sort of, kind of, goes with the myth of her eye color.
Last night in Cannes for the big AMFAR evening, she wore a caftan made of beige-pink silk organza both embroidered and hand-painted. Because peach is so for her, next week in London she will wear the color again at the BAFTA British Film Awards Dinner; it will be an empire-style frock in peach silk organza and tulle with a wide neckline, also embroidered in a geometric motif. Over this, she’ll toss a peach silk mousseline stole. Now doesn’t that sound pretty?
Next Friday it’s back to Los Angeles, where at a concert in her honor, Elizabeth will wear pinky mauve paillette trousers and an A-line silk mousseline blouse in the same color trimmed with pink marabou and bird-of- paradise feathers. Exquisite. If you miss her, you’ll see her anyhow.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Queen Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law through Sophie’s marriage to the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, cut short her golf trip in Spain to dash back to her London office to explain to her staff that she is, yes, making plans to sell her public relations firm there. ‘Tis said offers up to $5 million are being entertained, oh my. Sophie will stay on board with the new owners for three years, after which, if you believe the stories, she will be starting a family. Heaven knows it’s not the done thing to pry, but one wonders how she plans to do this. The gossip goes that she and Edward continue to sleep in separate bedrooms, and when they visit the Queen they request separate suites, which shocks — shocks! — the staff. Believe all this at your peril.
Before she celebrates her first wedding anniversary, you had better know that lithe and lovely Christina Green, wearing a bare white silk dress under a long white organza jacket, married handsome Lloyd Harriman Gerry at the Brick Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue at the end of last month. It may have been the shortest ceremony on record, but very sweet, with Anthony Peck reading a little story about the Fox and the Little Prince. Afterwards there was a big reception at the Altman Building downtown, way downtown, which started late because the mother of the bride, Judy Green, in a white organza dress and coat embroidered in green leaves and designed by Oscar de la Renta, hadn’t realized the wedding would be over so quickly. Anyhow, all the guests drank champagne and danced to music that could be heard around the block, while waiting for the welcome words, le diner est servi.
Lloyd Gerry’s mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. W. Douglass Smith, and his stepmother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gerry, gave a beautiful rehearsal dinner the night before the ceremony at Le Cirque, and they all came, including Californians and Texans. (Sandra Smith’s family is from Texas and she now lives in San Francisco. That takes care of the out-of-towners.) William S. Farish III (he is famed in the horse world) and his wife, Sarah, were there, and so were Melinda and Alan Blinken, Ann Downey, Paul Pelosi from San Francisco, Marylou Whitney Hendrickson and John Hendrickson, Dasha Epstein, Mary McFadden, Yolanda Garza Laguera and more, more, more. At the wedding and reception were such as pretty blonde Tessa Kennedy; C.Z. Guest, looking too marvelous in a smart beige suit and little white gloves; the bride’s goodlooking brother, Nicholas Green; Susan and Neil Sheehan of Washington and their gorgeous daughter Maria; Dominick Dunne; Terry Allen Kramer; Gaetana Enders; Tommy Corcoran; Anne Slater; John Cahill; the Isaac Arnolds from Texas; Lynn and Oscar Wyatt; Evan Galbraith; Billy Hitchcock; Mario Buatta; Johnny Galliher; Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas; Yanna and Warren Avis; Boaz Mazor; Cornelia and Marty Bregman; Pat Kerr Tigrett; Alice Mason; Anne Ford and Jamie Niven; Elbridge Gerry Jr.; Bobby Gerry IV; Elaine Kaufman; Danny Zarem; Bobby Zarem; Maria and Byron Janis; the stunning Mona de Sayve from Paris; and yes, it was big, very big. (This is just a mere scratch on the surface.)
This weekend at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, Danielle Steel, the super-prolific writer of best-sellers, is hosting a benefit planned for her son’s foundation, the Nick Traina Foundation. Nick, after a long battle with manic-depression, took his own life two years ago. Danielle wrote a book about him and from the proceeds started the foundation to provide support in the different areas of mental illness. The gala, a dinner dance called the Star Ball, is expecting the likes of Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner, Rosalynn Carter, Jaclyn Smith, Jackie Collins, Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna and on and on into the night. Barry Manilow will perform, Gary Collins is the master of ceremonies and Tiffany’s will model its jewels. There will also be a live auction of four or five pieces of magnificent jewelry donated by Fred Leighton and David Webb. Simply everyone who is anyone in San Francisco will be there because Danielle Steel is San Francisco’s bright and shining star and the city never forgets it.