"No," one Beverly Hills doyenne said , "I never do stores."
But lots of other rich-types do, especially when the lavish Fred Joaillier celebrated its 10th year on Rodeo Drive on Tuesday night. Lots and lots, so many in fact that the store resembled the Paris Metro at rush hour. And it was especially pushy when the word got out that 10--count 'em, 10--precious jewels (valued at $70,000) were the door prizes.
"This could be the first black-tie riot," one bespangled beauty said.
The object of the attention was a massive, many-layered wedding-style cake--and in the cake, magic jellybeans that could be exchanged for jewels. Real jewels, like the almost 13-carat turquoise that a late-arriving Princess Stephanie of Monaco managed to win. (OK, so some matrons don't do stores. It turns out that princesses do.)
As do the granddaughters of Oscar-winning actresses, like the preteen Nicole Bowyers, there with mommy Francesca (the daughter of Luise Rainer). Handed a slice of the strawberry and cream-filled cake by none other than Cesar Romero, Nicole smushed it down, found a green jellybean and traded it for a 2.23- carat emerald.
"I don't do stores, unless there is valet parking," said persona-around-town Henry Berger arriving with wife Jayne. The line to check in was, by 7 p.m., snaking outside, over the signature Fred-blue carpet-covered sidewalk, and into the street.
Since it was a French jewelry store, Patrick Terrail, still Franco-maven after all these years, was on hand. No, Terrail was clear, he was not going to run the restaurant at the new Ma Maison Hotel. He has sold the name of his once-landmark eatery to the Sofitel Hotel chain and is a consultant--but his culinary attention is entirely on his Hollywood Diner, which has received mixed reviews even though stars like Bruce Willis keep showing up. So, he said, the diner is now changed to a French-American bistro--"Don't say Franco-American," he warned. "It sounds like spaghetti."
The party continued. Fred's chairman Henri Samuel addressed the packed room from the staircase: "We are happy to be here tonight. You are our friends, not just our customers, but our friends." And friends would be rewarded with giveaways not normally seen, even in this trinket-crazed party of the world.
Fred Bev Hills manager Sergio Baril presided over the happy confusion he had created. Luigi Leonardi (formerly of Gucci, here and now of Fred New York) meeted and greeted, and Rodeo Drive familiars such as Arletta and Don Tronstein chatted with Joan Quinn and she rushed off to discuss art with Max Baril, the owner of the Beverly Rodeo and Beverly Pavilion hotels. Waiting for their cake: Joanne and Roger Kozberg, Geri and Dick Brawerman, Gladys and Armand Oppenheim, Beverly Hills Mayor Ben Stansbury and Councilwoman Donna Ellman and Contessa Cohn, who kept waving at Terrail and shouting "Pat, Pat!"
The Bergers left early. Hey, Henry, not feeling lucky? "Lucky?" the Bev Hills bon vivant replied, "Of course I'm lucky." And, pointing to his wife he said, "Look what I got."
HOTEL NEWS--Look for Michael Ullman to take over managing the Beverly Hills Hotel in the next few weeks. Ullman has reportedly given notice at New York's Regency Hotel. He should be pretty good at dealing with stars, since the Regency is managed by John Tisch, and, with the help of his movie producer brother Steve, that Manhattan hostelry has turned into Hollywood East.
OOPS--Not our fault, but boy, are we sorry. Some gremlin in the computer system somehow changed the headline on Friday's column to make the County Museum of Art (LACMA) into MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art). We are tracking down the gremlin and will make it write, 100 times, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.