Byline: Aileen Mehle
I am just back, and I mean just back, from yon bonnie banks and yon bonnie braes where the moon shone bright on Loch Lomond — and every other part of Scotland. In this, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, where you never know what the weather will be doing, every day for the past five days has been perfect. Forget sweaters, forget jackets. Remember blue and silver skies and blessed sunshine every afternoon. The countryside is as green as malachite. The palaces and castles have never looked more magnificent, and, I am pleased to report, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles have been lighting up the place. They had both flown in from London that day for the ravishing private dinner the prince gave that night at the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh, where he was the most charming of hosts, completely at ease and adept at putting his guests equally so. In Scotland, he is in his metier. It could be the kilts.
Or maybe it was the presence of Mrs. Parker Bowles, dressed beautifully by Valentino in simple sleeveless navy blue silk with a matching scarf and wearing a lovely diamond necklace. This woman Charles loves can move through a room as graciously, her gaze as direct, her smile as warm as any royal who has been trained since birth. Since I first met her a dozen or more years ago, she has become even more attractive, much better looking in person than in those unforgiving pictures you see in the British press. She may not be photogenic, but she’s got “it” and no mistake. The men at the party made that quite clear. Maybe it’s in her DNA.
But all this and much more will be the subject of next week’s columns, so do tune in for further episodes. You’ll like what you read.
Meanwhile back in God Bless America, here’s what’s happening: The breathless reports from California would have us know that “A-list” celebrities will be dressed to the nines in Armani, Valentino, Chanel and Dior — the better to regale Hollywood on Oct. 28 at Barbara and Marvin Davis’s Carousel of Hope Ball at the Beverly Hilton. The hot news is that Jennifer Lopez will even wear a dress, now that we all know what she looks like without one. Among the galaxy of women in designers’ most delicious rags will be Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry, Kirsten Dunst, Christine Lahti, Claudia Schiffer, Kelly Preston, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anjelica Huston, Natasha Richardson, Salma Hayek, like that. Among the gents expected are Kevin Spacey, Rob Lowe, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Harry Hamlin, Sir Sean Connery — you get the picture.
The decor will consist of those pink merry-go-round horses Barbara Davis features at all her huge Carousel of Hope galas to fight diabetes, pink lighting throughout the ballroom and acres of pink Anna roses. Swiveling Ricky Martin is the headliner of the evening, and there will be performances by Toni Braxton and Charlotte Church. Jay Leno is the master of ceremonies. And an always “exciting feature” will be the Silent Auction with huge prizes on the block. Also, 50 celebs have painted plates with their very own celeb hands that will be up for sale. Nicole Kidman, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey, Gregory Peck, Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas and Sir Michael Caine’s plates are “sure to start a bidding frenzy.” If they say so.
Thar’s gold in them thar hills — and sex, you can bet your bottom nugget. Milla Jovovich, Nastassja Kinski and Sarah Polley all star in “The Claim” (UA), an epic saga of love, passion, redemption and whatever else they can come with up with. A rich pioneer and founder of the mining town of Kingdom Come, played by Peter Mullan, and a hunk of a young railroad surveyor, played by Wes Bentley, are striving to “build” California and at the same time keep the aforementioned lovely ladies warm in the wild and wintry Sierra Nevada mountains. But two of these women have a secret that could blow the thriving town of Kingdom Come to — you guessed it — kingdom come. You will have to wait until winter to see the movie. But I can if you can.
Sweet Charity: For its first 14 years, the team of Bill Blass, Nancy Kissinger, Judy Peabody, Casey Ribicoff and Ann and Herb Siegel led the benefit known as Fete de Famille. With the late and much missed Glenn Bernbaum cracking the whip, this group always drew an enormous crowd every October for a great carnival of a party in a tent erected for the night in the street next to Glenn’s late lamented restaurant, Mortimer’s, raising through the years close to $7 million for the AIDS Care Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
But Mortimer’s is no more and the party has moved from East 75th Street to Broadway. This year it’s a theater party on Oct. 17 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater with a reception before at the nearby Supper Club with an extravagant buffet provided by Glorious Food and Swifty’s restaurant. You will be thrilled to hear that the show is “The Full Monty” and that the new team running the evening boasts such generous types as Elizabeth Peabody, Lisa Perry, Helen O’Hagan, Elizabeth Saltzman, Robert Couturier, Pierre Durand and Peter Rogers. I think Glenn maybe would be pleased. What about you?