Byline: Aileen Mehle

Stop the presses, and stop me if you’ve heard this one. You know about the breakup, now here’s about the makeup — and I don’t mean the products she shows off in all those Estee Lauder ads. Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant, having announced their years-long romance as burnt out and over, spent last weekend together in the countryside. When they get back, we should know if it was for a wedding or a funeral, so to speak.

Also, so to speak, Madonna has arrived with a capital A. Along with her boyfriend, Guy Ritchie, the father of her future child, she has now been invited to a private dinner given by the Prince of Wales at his country estate Highgrove. He will take the loving duo on a tour of the gardens of which he is so proud — along with 76 other guests, but never mind. They’re all supporters of the program Prince Charles introduced in the U.K. to teach children how the human body works and how illegal drugs wreak havoc. And not a moment too soon.

Clothes are supposed to make the man, so Oscar-winning costume designer Deborah Scott brought all her talents to bear dressing adorably hunky Mel Gibson for Columbia’s anticipated summer blockbuster “The Patriot.” Sure, measuring Mel and all that was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.
Scott also trotted out her fashion sense dressing the movie’s female characters, especially Joely Richardson, who plays Charlotte, “the most wealthy, city-oriented person in the Revolutionary War epic, and she goes through a tremendous change,” says Scott. “She starts off fancily dressed in soft colors, then slowly changes. At her country house, she’s less structured, richer in hue. When the family escapes to freed-slave territory, she becomes free from fashion’s restrictions and is much less covered up.” Surely Mel will notice the change, because Joely’s his love interest, and who doesn’t know that anyone’s love interest is much more interesting the less covered up she is?

These Were The Parties That Were — and Were and Were and Were: There are few more coveted awards than those that the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center gives for Excellence in Corporate Leadership, Medicine and Philanthropy. At this year’s gala dinner dance at the Rainbow Room, the Society presented those awards, in that order, to the financier John S. Reed, to the noted doctor/scientist Richard A. Rifkind M.D. and to Mr. and Mrs. H. Virgil Sherrill, philanthropists of the first order since 1956. The co-chairs of the party were Mrs. Joseph A. Califano Jr., Mrs. Derek L. Limbocker and Dr. Paul A. Marks, whose names are synonymous with both Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the Society. For this special evening, the Rainbow Room, filled with the Society’s supporters, was transformed into a magical setting by Avi Adler with beautiful flowers and slender crystal prisms dripping from everything but the guests.
Thankfully for all concerned, the speeches were short and to the point, but the most poignant of the evening was given by Betty and Virgil Sherrill’s daughter, Anne Pyne, whose paean to her mother was not only emotionally lovely but beautifully presented. In the crowd: Norma and Charles Dana; Douglas Dillon and the lovely Mrs. Dillon, Susan, in cobwebby black and white lace; Julia and David Koch; Grace and Chris Meigher; Carroll Petrie; Evelyn and Leonard Lauder; the Stephen Sherrills; the Coleman Burkes; Catie and Donald Marron; Tonie and Charles Peebler; Anne Ford with Jamie Niven; Joseph Califano; the Robert Gardiners; Alyne Massey; Armene Milliken, and on and on into the night.

Brooke Astor, all done up in black lace, was the guest of honor at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s dinner divertissement at the Ukrainian Institute of America, the former Fletcher Mansion, now restored. The fete was called “A May Evening with Brooke Astor,” and so it was, with the house chock-a-block with Astor admirers — as aren’t we all? The chairmen of the evening were Christina Lang Assael, Peter Marino, Robert Pirie and Doda Voridis of Athens and New York.
Long ago, Brooke was recognized by this city as the living legend’s living legend, and she has been endlessly honored for her good works. This celebration was a birthday of sorts, one of many — both celebrations and birthdays for our heroine, who was born in 1902. The Chamber Music Society was among those who have honored Brooke for her great humanitarianism, philanthropy and friendship. And for the almost $200 million she has contributed to the city’s less fortunate. There’s no doubt the lady’s a wonder. She went home with her present, a little leather dachshund, under her arm and did spritely little dance steps to the music on her way out.

Earlier, the directors of Phillips Auction House, Hilary Califano, Bettina Zilkha, Pat Buckley, Joanne and Robert de Guardiola, Julia and David Koch, Kathy and Rick Hilton, Carroll Petrie and Nan Kempner gave a dinner in the glorious Magic Room at the LVMH Tower to honor Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Cocktails were served beforehand at the Phillips gallery and there was a private viewing of the Phillips’s collection of Impressionist and Modern paintings. We all know, don’t we, that Bernard Arnault, the big man at LVMH, owns both the soaring tower and Phillips. Don’t we? We should also know that M. Arnault donated $200,000 to Memorial Sloan-Kettering, which is the why of this dinner in the sky.