Byline: Aileen Mehle

Sandy Hill Pittman, who climbed a lot of snow-capped peaks in her day before she finally decided enough was enough, and Tom Ditmer, who has a lot of money, will marry in April of next year in California, where Ditmer has a ranch and is starting a vineyard. They have been a couple for a couple of years now, living in London. When they couldn’t take another rainy day in Londontown, it was California here we come. And there they went. At the Prince of Wales’s dinner last year at the Tramshed in London, Sandy was one of the most attractive women in the room, swathed in white satin with her long dark hair falling in a fringe. Who doesn’t know that’s bangs to us Americans?

The first floor of Tiffany & Co. was red hot at the party given for Paloma Picasso to celebrate her 20th anniversary as a jewelry designer exclusively for Tiffany’s. It was an “Evening in Red,” because that’s her color, after all, hosted by Mike Kowalski, T & Co.’s president, and chairman Bill Chaney and his wife, Carolyn. The place was a red sea of red votives, topiaries of red roses in the form of Paloma’s famous “kiss” design of X’s and red lighting everywhere. I mean, if you’re going to do it, do it.
A larger-than-life sketch of Paloma by British artist David Downton, illustrating her striking looks and sophistication, dominated the party and also appeared on fans carried by models wearing her jewels and elegant column dresses by Bill Blass. Paloma, a fashion icon, wore a magnificent 129-carat tanzanite and pearl suite she designed just for this special occasion. Among her many admirers were her husband, Dr. Eric Thevenet, her mother, Francoise Gilot, Grace Mirabella and Grace Cahan, Patricia Patterson, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Mario Buatta, Marina Schiano, Betty Sherrill and ever so many others just like them.

Carroll Petrie gave a jewel of a luncheon, literally. She set up four precious tables in her Fifth Avenue dining room covered with taffeta silks in sapphire, ruby, topaz and emerald, and, I hesitate to even guess how it was done, but the champagne was colored to match. All of this glitter was to celebrate Phillips Auctioneers’s sponsorship of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s preview party for the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show at the Park Avenue Armory on Oct. 19 with Muffie Potter Aston and Mrs. Edmund (Mary) Carpenter doing the chairing.
Phillips brought over the $25 million worth of jewels they’ve planned to sell at auction at the Waldorf-Astoria for the ladies to try on — just for fun. Needless to say, they all perked right up. Among the shiny things was a rare 45-carat pink pear-shaped conch pearl and diamond necklace and earrings, worn by Elizabeth Taylor in her Black Pearl perfume ads. Phillips also brought out a 17.8-carat marquise diamond, affectionately referred to by its owner as “the football.” Now you know that’s cute.

Speaking of Carroll Petrie, what do she, MOMA president Agnes Gund and pugilist — OK, fighter — Oscar De La Hoya have in common? If you said nothing, you’d be wrong. They’re all honorees at the Casita Maria Fiesta 2000 dinner dance at the Plaza on Tuesday. The chairpeople are a merry mix of Kissingers, Eisenhowers, Rockefellers, Hearsts — and John Leguizamo, por favor! Bob Hardwick and his orchestra will play everything from Berlin to Broadway to the Back Street Boys and beyond.

The French-American Foundation will honor the famous French business tycoon Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH, at a gala on Oct. 23 at the Rainbow Room. Arnault will receive the Foundation’s signal honor, the Benjamin Franklin Award, which recognizes an individual for particularly distinguished service toward the cause of mutual understanding between France and the United States. Another powerful Frenchman, Michel David-Weill, the chairman of Lazard Freres, and the charming American francophile Liz Fondaras are the chairmen of the evening. Lest you underestimate the prestige of the event, the honorary chairmen are the Hon. Anne Cox Chambers, the Hon. Walter J.P. Curley and the Hon. C. Douglas Dillon, who all got to be Hons. when they represented our country as ambassadors abroad. But, you knew that.

Picking Up The Pieces: Pat York opened her photographic show, “What Piece Of Work Is Man” at Laurie Frank’s gallery in Hollywood to such an overflow of guests that not just one but two receptions were given to accommodate the overflow of more than a thousand eager types, among them Madonna, Jacqueline Bisset and Steve Martin, a big buyer. For those who couldn’t get in, Pat’s photographs were beamed onto a wall in the pretty courtyard. The Corcoran Art Museum in Washington bought six of her photographs and the Los Angeles County Museum bought one on opening night. Her next stop was Europe, where her work will be shown in Ghent as part of the Flanders Film and Music Festival. And by now she must have joined her husband, Michael York, in Rome where he is on location filming a sequel to last year’s flick, “The Omega Code.” Most women would love to join Michael no matter where he is.

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