The ladies sipping tea--hot and cold--in the Beverly Wilshire's El Padrino were all wearing Cheshire cat grins. And justifiably so. With still a week to go, their efforts on the Rodeo Drive Committee's International Gala (Nov. 1 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel) are already well on the way to being the best of the best.
At the table eager to talk about guest lists, decor, entertainment, food, music were co-chairman Frances Klein, the Rodeo Drive antique jewelry dealer; Pamela Jenkinson Leavitt, representing the County Museum of Art, which will reap the proceeds from the gala; Nellie Llanos, chairman of the museum's Costume Council and her daughter, Mrs. Michael Wallace, who's on the museum's small, but prestigious Director's Roundtable (both groups will also benefit); Laura Segal who handles PR for the committee. Originally the committee (founded in 1977 to spread the word on Rodeo Drive) gave grand, elegant parties and honored such international celebrities as Dr. Aldo Gucci, retailing giant Cyril Magnin and fashion doyenne Diana Vreeland. No charities were involved. And then the committee saw the light and last year's proceeds (that gala honored James Galanos) and this year's (honoring Parisian designer Vicomtesse Jacqueline de Ribes) are both charitable functions.
"It's going to be gorgeous," Frances Klein said of the floral decor. She's been spending a great deal of time with Flower Fashions' Fred Gibbons on such details as baskets of flowers hanging from the ceiling of the Beverly Wilshire's Grand Ballroom, box hedges, topiary trees and garlands. "Everything," she added, "will be in the French colors--red, white and blue. The tablecloths will be royal blue and the centerpieces a brilliant red." The 650 guests will dance to Les Brown's orchestra and be serenaded by 30 of Murray Korda's Strings during the cocktail hour and between courses. There won't be a fashion show per se. But there will be a chance to see mini-vignettes of the vicomtesse's latest collection.
Betsy Bloomingdale, Mrs. Llanos reported , is "honorary international hostess. She agreed because she likes what we're doing at the Costume Council where we have 1,000 members and last year celebrated our 30th anniversary." Mrs. Bloomingdale confirmed the statement. "I think they're doing wonderful things."
The rest chimed in with other details. Real estate developer Donald Tronstein is the committee chairman. Co-chairing the gala with Mrs. Klein are, among more, Tiffany's Roberta Herbison, Vidal Sassoon's Andrew Forbes, and the Beverly Wilshire's George White plus for the museum Mrs. Llanos and Mrs. Jess Marlow.
You'll be pleased at the number of familiar faces expected to show--Joan Collins who is a friend of Vicomtesse de Ribes and wears her clothes; David and Teddy Orgell; Henry and Stacey Winkler; Danny and Rose Marie Thomas; Sedge and Henry Plitt; Caroline Ahmanson; Barbara (Pauley) and Bill Pagen; Dona and Dwight Kendall; Katherine and Bob Ray Offenhauser; Joni and Clark Smith; Tim and Nancy Vreeland; Grace and Merrill Lowell; Max and Eleanor Baril; Dick and Judy Carroll; Fred Joailler's Sergio Baril; Somper Furs' Penny and Edd Jacobs; Mr. Guy's Guy Greengard; Dar Mahboubia-Fardi and his wife Mahie; David Jones (he's one of a group of male members of the Costume Council); Doris Fields Heller; Kathryn (Klinger) and Rudi Belton; Kathy Kilroy; Patricia Kennedy. You get the picture, don't you?
Jayne and Henry Berger's "Berger Bijou" (a private screening room on the Bel-Air Circuit) opened for the new season the other night and all the ingredients were happily the same. First came the buffet in the Copper Room, an array of hot dogs, chili, potato salad, chocolate mousse with some new additions like chicken hash and chocolate chip cookies. And then the Bergers' guests settled down on comfortable upholstered sofas and chairs to munch on popcorn and watch the movie. Later there were drinks as the conversational threads were tied up neatly.
Irving Wallace, Herbert Hutner, Cyd Charisse and Connie Towers came solo. Irving's wife Sylvia was recouping from a European holiday at the Golden Door. Herb's wife Juli was visiting her family in Missouri. Cyd's husband Tony Martin was singing in Pennsylvania. And Connie's husband, ambassador to Mexico John Gavin, was at his post in Mexico City. Pretty Angie Dickinson, smiling happily, was with an old beau, director Richard Brooks; Richard Gully was with Claudia Mirkin; Ed Michelove was with Nancy Hempel. And Jerry and Virginia Oppenheimer, who've been married more years than they like to count, always look like newlyweds.