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South Coast Plaza Will Sparkle With Elegance for Tiffany Welcome

August 12, 1988|ANN CONWAY

It's out of the bag: details of the gala that promises to razzle-dazzle Orange County's glitterati like they have never been razzle-dazzled, the one that celebrates Tiffany & Co.'s opening at South Coast Plaza on Oct. 8, were finalized last week when Patricia Russo--Tiffany public relations director--met with the gala steering committee at South Coast Repertory Theatre, beneficiary of the $300-per-person event.

The results: an evening loaded with style, the sort of style you expect from the jeweler chosen to string the pearls Abraham Lincoln bestowed upon his wife at the height of the Civil War.

For openers: a glittering guest list that includes Paloma Picasso--daughter of Pablo Picasso, the most celebrated artist of the 20th Century--a trend-setter in the world of international beautiful people.

Paloma (Spanish for dove--she was named for the dove her father created for the poster that commemorated the International Peace Conference of 1949), creates jewelry for Tiffany. Her X-shaped earrings, kisses, are sizzling best sellers, as are her bold, stone necklaces. She will attend the Tiffany Ball with her dashing husband, Rafael Lopez-Sanchez, an Argentine playwright. Paloma's mother, Francoise Gilot, and her husband, Jonas Salk, have been invited to make the trek from their home in La Jolla, site of the Salk Institute.

Also coming from the Big Apple: Tiffany chairman William R. Chaney, who took Tiffany & Co. public in 1987 via the New York Stock Exchange and sold about $100 million worth of shares, and his wife, Carolyn. The Chaneys are known to hobnob with Manhattan's smart set, including Malcolm Forbes and Ivana and Donald Trump.

Gene Moore, the genius behind Tiffany's whimsical window displays at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, will also attend. Moore is famous for window trimming that pokes fun at New York's current events. For example, during a water shortage, he floated diamonds in gin. And during a transit strike, he displayed bejeweled trains wrapped in newspapers. He will create the display that kicks off the South Coast Plaza opening.

Arriving gala guests will be greeted by the Chaneys, along with Renee Segerstrom, honorary chairwoman, and her husband, Henry, managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, owner of South Coast Plaza. ("Henry spent nearly 10 years bringing Tiffany's to South Coast Plaza," Russo noted over afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton last week. "We knew we wanted to come. We just needed the right time and the right spot." The "right spot" is just outside of the Nordstrom ladies' shoes department and just across from Charles Jourdan.)

Cocktails and Domaine Chandon champagne will be served to the guests in the mall outside of Tiffany before party-goers are invited to sweep into the store to drink in its multimillion-dollar "Diamonds of Tiffany" collection, due to be on display among its other blinding baubles, bangles and beads.

Phase 2 of the gala has guests exiting from the street entrance of Tiffany into a massive white tent for dining and dancing. Tent decor will include swags of ecru and white fabric; four crystal chandeliers and a bandstand crowned with an elegant canopy. But the breath-taker will be the faux marble dance floor that Tiffany has commissioned for the occasion.

Entertainment? Wayne Forster's orchestra and spirited performances by the Stepsisters, a '40s and '50s revival group. The menu? Still in the planning stages, but it will be catered by Somerset of Los Angeles. Surprise gala keepsakes commemorating SCR's 25th anniversary will be created by Tiffany.

And the ladies in attendance plan to sport some surprises of their own. Kathryn Thompson of South Laguna, for one, has commissioned Gildas of Newport Beach to create a ball gown embroidered with brilliants that depict a brooch set with the 128-carat Tiffany diamond.

And what are you doing Oct. 8?

Put another candle on his birthday cake: Besides raising funds for his reelection, Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) will be celebrating his (we'll never tell) birthday Aug. 23 when President Reagan attends the luncheon in his honor at the Irvine Hilton & Towers. The event, which is expected to draw 1,000 guests, already has a heavy-hitting guest list. Among those who have received the title of co-chairman (helping chairman George Argyros) because they have sold tables for 10 at $500 per seat are: Al and Jim Baldwin, Don Bren, Ninetta and Gavin Herbert, Buck Johns, John Cronin, Willa Dean and William Lyon, Zee Allred, Kathryn Thompson, Gus Owen, Jim Warmington, Tony and Marion Knott Montapert, Jim Peters, Coalson Morris, Brandon Birtcher and Jim Peters. On the menu? Meat Loaf Wellington. And birthday cake, of course.

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