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Studio Sets Stage for Couturier Lacroix

October 22, 1987|MARY LOU LOPER | Times Staff Writer

Christian Lacroix, the rage of Parisian couture, will be on the "Streets of Matador" and in the "Arena of Arles" on Nov. 4, but that means on Sound Stages 6 and 18 at 20th Century Fox. Saks Fifth Avenue, its vice president Martin Fischer and director of fashion and publicity Patty Fox are celebrating their exclusive launch of Lacroix and they invited him to show his latest couture and ready-to-wear deluxe collections at a gala; he genially accepted.

Then came the difficult part--determining which four Los Angeles organizations would reap the benefit plums. The winners: the Costume Council Patrons of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, SHARE Inc., the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Only 600 tickets are available. The crush is on.

Said Nelly Llanos of the Patrons: "This may be the party of the century." Said Marcia Koch of the guild: "I've had calls from people who will be out of town asking me to watch out for them." It's first-come, first-served, and early birds should walk, not mail, acceptances to the door.

Last week, Patty Fox invited the ladies to tour the lot. First came the croissants and fruit in the Shirley Temple room as Fox noted Lacroix was born in Arles and grew up in the French provinces, thus his passion for bull fighting, the theater and sun. Then, like a Pied Piper, she led the group through Stage 6, to be re-created like a "quaint town of Arles" for cocktails, then to Stage 18 where the set for "Big Trouble in Little China" will be transformed into a Roman arena a la Arles. Adrienne Horwitch, Carolyn Blywise and Ruth Fox (of the Women's Guild), Gloria Franks (SHARE--she tap-danced lots of roles on Fox stages with Miss Temple and Jane Withers), Ann Johnson and Jackie Theis (Patrons), and Felisa Vanoff (Joffrey) expressed approval. Now, to sort those acceptances.

POLO POLISH: "Here we go--coast to coast!" drawled commentator William Devane as the lively polo ponies and their players on the Aloha and Gehache teams dedicated their hearts and souls to competitive polo last weekend at the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center Polo Classic at the Eldorado Polo Club in Indio. Aloha player Robert Fell had stitches in his head and blood on his shirt; a polo pony had a heart attack. It all kept the charity crowd on the edges of their white chairs. And few left before the final score (Aloha won, 16-10) with Frank Sinatra arriving to bestow the trophies and wife Barbara on the field with kisses for the polo players.

As the semi-final for the 1987 U.S. Open Polo Championship, the event was a sell-out. It all leads up to the finals Nov. 1. And the whole desert lights up with the compliment that the 83-year-old U.S. Open chose the Eldorado Polo Club, with its 10 polo fields and 750 boarding polo ponies, for the competition. It's the first time in more than 20 years that the open has been played on the West Coast.

Said Barbara Kaplan, the friend who drew the attention of Barbara Sinatra (in white fringe, silver and turquoise) to the Children's Center, now a $2-million facility at Eisenhower Medical Center for abused children and their families): "They came to us in February and asked if we'd like to do a benefit; we hedged a bit because our big season at the desert is January to May." But Jacque Coveny and Nelda Linsk were asked to be co-chairmen. That assured results.

Under the white tents, there were 230 on the terrace at tables for $2,500 (they dined on artichokes and shrimp), 300 more in reserved seats at $150 (they lunched on chicken salad and pineapple) and more than 1,000 in the grandstands at $15 each (they could purchase barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers). Lots of the polo intelligentsia tailgated. Everyone had fun.

And the Southlanders gathered (as well as Texans): Jo Owens, who lives at Smoke Tree, entertained Frank and Dorothy Clark; Bob and Gwen Cheesewright came up from Pasadena; John and Lucille Hadley from Los Angeles, with Lupe Hincke from Puerto Vallarta. Sinatra neighbor Natalie Schwartz was on the greeting team; so were Henry and Madeline Trioni, he a polo club owner and a main principle in Wells Fargo Bank. Palmer Wheaton of Hillsborough decided to celebrate his 80th birthday by inviting his daughters, Polly Wheaton of Pasadena, Linda Hollister and her husband Myron of Palo Alto and Margery Wheaton of Carmel, to join him for the weekend.

Actress Ruby Keeler sat at Barbara Sinatra's table. Carlton and Keleen Beal, formerly of Bel-Air, invited Beverly Morsey of Los Angeles and her daughter, Kelly Lohman, and Jean and James Wittenburg of Amarillo. Philanthropist Kay Waycott took a table, Buddy and Beverly Rogers two. Jane and Lloyd Hodges (Shell Oil) of Oklahoma City were there. Former polo player George Eliot of Palm Desert and Eleanor Thurmond of Rancho Mirage successfully helped battle an intrusion from one yellow jacket.

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