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ANN CONWAY

Steven Bren, Ex-Model to Wed at Mission

August 26, 1988|ANN CONWAY

There are only two words for it: power wedding. President Reagan and Gov. George Deukmejian have received engraved invitations. And so, of course, has Claire Trevor Bren, grandmother of groom-to-be Steven Bren, son of billionaire developer Donald L. Bren.

Steven will marry former European model Thais Baker in mid-September (his high-profile-but-shy pop does not want the exact date announced) at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara.

"I'm thrilled for them," Claire Trevor Bren said recently from the floor she occupies at Hotel Pierre in New York. "I hope to be there."

The mission pastor, Father Virgil Cordano, will perform the Catholic nuptials. The priest also married the bride's parents, Sandra and Bayeux Baker, retired from the foreign service office of the State Department.

According to her mother, the bride-to-be is a direct descendant of the Foxen family, related to the De La Querras and the Cotas, founding families of Santa Barbara.

"Yes, our family goes back nine generations in Santa Barbara," said Sandra Baker, a resident of Montecito and Malibu, who once dreamed up costumes for such TV shows as "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." "Every relative of ours has been married at the mission. Some of our relatives have even been buried there."

Steven and Thais met 10 years ago when they were neighbors at the Malibu Colony. Since then, Baker has become an interior designer for Westfall Interior Systems of Newport Beach--creators of interior environments for the Disney corporate offices in Anaheim and Chicago--and Bren has begun selling automobiles--from luxury Rolls-Royces to reasonably priced Chevrolets--at his Newport Auto Center.

What kind of car does he drive? Formula race cars, preferably. The young Bren dreams of winning the Indy 500 someday. Otherwise, he climbs into something that "fits the mood he's in," one of his employees said.

Given the setting and the high-society stature of the comely couple, the knot-tying is bound to be one of the most exciting and romantic in California mission history. But the details that will make it so are top-secret. Extremely iffy about discussing the wedding (lest she incur the wrath of her daughter's father-in-law-to-be), Sandra Baker would only confess having planned for "mariachis to play at some point."

Insiders say the hush-hush rites will be attended by a privileged few. Among them: Donald L. Bren (we presume) and his ex, Diane Bren (Steven's mother); Joanne and Gary Hunt (Don's corporate right arm); Matthew Saks, son of Gene Saks, the brilliant director, and Nathan Alexander Baker--Thais' brother, a fashion photographer from Milan.

Arty parties: When Harold and Sandy Price welcome guests into their Laguna Beach home for the party they will stage for the Laguna Art Museum on Saturday, guests will see two silk-screen portraits by Andy Warhol gracing the walls--two silk-screen portraits of Sandy Price. "They're probably worthless (because they do not portray a contemporary icon)," said Harold. But they mean the world to the Prices, whose valuable art collection covers "all of the wall space" in their cliff-hung home. "We received the commissioned portraits from Warhol two weeks before he died," Harold said.

The Prices and several other Laguna Art Museum patrons have combined forces to create "Perspectives," a series of $150-per-person fund-raising events that offer such varied nights out as the Price's "Starry Night," where guests will feast on veal roulette as they drink in the Price's vast art collection. (Deep background: Price's brother, Joe, has donated his extensive collection of Japanese art, created between 1540 and 1840, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.)

Also among the party-givers: Anton Segerstrom, son of Henry Segerstrom of Newport Beach, who will co-host a bash tonight at the avant-garde Club Postnuclear in Laguna Beach; interior designer Dolores Milhous of Newport beach, who will take guests aboard her Italian-made yacht, the Bravissimo, on Sept. 3 for a tour of Newport Bay before they dine in her fashionable Linda Isle home; Don and Claudette Shaw of Newport Beach, who have made plans for journalists Paul Duke, Charles McDowell and Jack Nelson to bring their popular PBS show "Washington Week in Review" to the Four Seasons Hotel on Aug. 29, and Elizabeth and Tom Tierney of Santa Ana Heights, who have invited Martin Bernheimer, Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic for The Times, to speak at a luncheon at the Center Club on Sept. 14.

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