Is Orange County ready for a new Gatsby era? Interior designer Kit Lietzow of Laguna Beach thinks so. His client, Michael DeAngelo, owns a 35,000-square-foot Moroccan-style mansion that crowns the hills of Tustin. "This man lives in a style that can only be compared to the kind F. Scott Fitzgerald describes," said Lietzow of DeAngelo, one of the founders of ClothesTime Inc., an Anaheim-based operator of women's discount apparel stores.
To say the least. The property--all 20 acres of it--reads like something that might have prompted Fitzgerald to write: "In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."
For starters: the central courtyard alone is a solid acre of palms swaying around a swimming pool rimmed with rock caves, each bubbling with its own Jacuzzi. Off the courtyard, a "club-size" discotheque is a study in "New York slick," as Lietzow describes it, "with granite, leather and bleached woods." The mansion contains two racquetball courts and a video room with 10 screens. Not to mention the 900-square-foot wine cellar. Or the lake DeAngelo is creating so that family and friends can Jet Ski on the property.
All of which adds up to gala giving, a la Jay Gatsby himself. Invitations will be mailed in August for the Oct. 2 "New Gatsby Era 1988," a benefit for the City of Hope sponsored by Professions & Finance Associates of Orange County, of which Lietzow is a member.
"Mr. DeAngelo told me that when I was through decorating the property, I could throw any kind of party I wanted," Lietzow said. "So I thought it would be nice to do one for charity."
Who's that girl?: The comely woman passing the canapes at Michael Parker's recent fund-raiser for Sen. Pete Wilson (R-San Diego) looked familiar. Those short red tresses, that smile, those dimples. Well, of course. It was Charlene Prager, wife of Hans, owner of the ritzy Ritz restaurant in Newport Beach. Charlene, a woman usually very on the scene, was helping out behind the scenes at Parker's chic little Big Canyon home. And so was her husband. Resplendent in suit and tie, Hans was in the kitchen wielding the saute pan, just like in the good old days at Scandia and the Waldorf. (The secret to his more-please scampi? Butter-loaded bread crumbs.)
And while Hans, who said Parker has a standing table at the Ritz (Parker met his wife, Cindy, when she was a waitress there), warmed up the kitchen, Wilson and his wife, Gayle, were cool by the pool. "Let us not forget there are more (registered) Democrats (in the state) than Republicans," Wilson told guests for openers. And then, smiling: "We've come from the Amazon basin, the nation's capital. And I just hope you appreciate what a selfless act of patriotism it is to serve back there." (Hostess note: Gayle said her husband, whom she met when she was prexy of the Junior League in San Diego, occasionally enjoys a gin or a Scotch. She sipped Evian bobbing with a lime wedge that perfectly matched her dress.)
Wilson said Parker, CEO of Parker North American Corp. in Newport Beach, lives by three credos: Never allow a customer to escape; nothing happens until someone sells something; and reward someone who does a good job. "I had no idea there were such parallels between the primitive art form that I've chosen and those that actually make a profit," Wilson piped. Among guests: Margaret and Carl Karcher, who sips his Tanqueray on the rocks.
Power deb: Move over, Cornelia Guest. "Who's Cornelia Guest?" asked Kristen Lusk, 18, Children's Home Society debutante and daughter of Nancy and John Lusk of Corona del Mar.
Kristen had never heard of the so-called deb of the decade. And why should she? Her dad, developer John Lusk, is named, along with nine other OC moguls, in the July issue of Los Angeles Magazine as one of "The 40 Richest People in Town." Net worth: $225 million, the article states. "If we're so rich, why are we still scrubbing floors?" asked Nancy Lusk, howling.
The bubbly teen-ager welcomed fellow debs such as "Steph" Argyros (her pop, George, a developer, was also on the Big 40 list. Net worth: $220 million) and "Chickie" Moiso, daughter of Melinda and Tony Moiso, president of the Santa Margarita Co., aboard the C'est le Vie--her folks' 83-footer--for a recent Newport Bay cruise.
The young adults and their dates donned casual wear for a night that included dancing on the foredeck under the moonlight. Kristen donned a jeans mini-skirt, white tank top and blue blazer for the splash. And what did mums wear?: "My maid's outfit," deadpanned Nancy, then howling again.
On the go at the Chateau: Gaye and Art Birtcher are going to permit a little disturbing of the peace at their Chateau Tranquille in San Juan Capistrano on Aug. 3. The Birtchers (his company, Birtcher, is on the list of top 10 U.S. developers) are going to welcome supporters of Santa Margarita High School for the final meeting of the school's Campaign Cabinet, fund-raisers of a whopping $12.5 million since January, 1986. Among those on the invitation list: Melinda and Tony Moiso, co-chairman of the Campaign Cabinet with Birtcher; Gail and Roger Kirwan, Major Gift's chairman; Margaret and Carl Karcher; Susan and Timothy Strader, and Willa Dean and William Lyon.