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The Great T&C Magazine Coup That Evaporated in a Twinkling

September 09, 1988|ANN CONWAY

The disappointment of it all. After more than a year of talk that a "beautiful and well-connected" county woman (you heard it here) would be on its October cover, Town & Country magazine has said: Sorry, no deal.

What happened? "I know what happened, but I'm not going to tell you," said Darlene Dotts on Tuesday. Darlene and her husband, Bill, run W.W. Dotts Inc. in Corona del Mar, the ad agency that represents T&C in "13 western states," Darlene said. Twice.

Deep background: Come October, along with ads placed by local businesses, T&C--a 400,000-circulation mag loaded with pictures and pretty words about the world's wealthy--will feature a 20-page spread on Orange County.

Henry Segerstrom, managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, owners of South Coast Plaza, has sunk a bundle into his tony shopping center's T&C ad campaign. (Henry and his wife, Renee, will be featured in the editorial spread. You will see them dressed to the nines in front of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.)

Now, there was never any suggestion by the magazine's editorial staff--Sandy Sheehy, a contributing editor, for one--that the Segerstroms would be featured on the October cover. In fact, when Sheehy was in the county in April doing research for her article, she made it clear that "the magazine seldom uses someone over 40 on its cover."

But she did say that "we're confident that with all of the beautiful women in Orange County, we'll be able to find someone (under 40)."

And they did. Her name is Kelly Gray. She is in her 20s. She is the coltish, blond daughter of Bob and Marie Gray of Irvine, owners of St. John (manufacturers of those gorgeous, pricey knits that well-heeled women wear). She is also the company's signature model. She appears in all of the St. John ads, many of which find their way into the glossy pages of T&C (via the Motts agency, according to Darlene Dotts.)167772160 A month ago, Kelly spent most of a day posing inside the Performing Arts Center in St. John knits for T&C's own mega-talented Robert Phillips, fairly confident that she and the Center would be on the cover. But then, the Grays, C.J. Segerstrom & Sons and staff members at the Center were told that it was not to be.

"I picked a cover that would have the most newsstand impact," said Melissa Tardiff, art director for T&C. "The cover is beautiful. It shows a woman wearing a large sapphire-and-diamond earring and a chrome-yellow fur coat. It was purely an aesthetic decision on our part."

Meanwhile, two of T&C's biggest advertisers are tres disappointed.

Manifold destiny: How do you say Detroit with food? If you are Mary Ann Miller of Newport Beach, you ask Michel Pieton, head chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, to create a pastry automobile (a Tucker, perhaps?) and then you serve it up to guests on a record. Miller, adored in social circles for her clever party-giving, is chairwoman of "This Is My Country," a patriotic benefit ("It's election year, " said Mary Ann, "and Orange County's Centennial") for the March of Dimes set for Sept. 24 at the Irvine Hilton. The gala is part of the national March of Dimes' Gourmet Gala series, a benefit effort so delightful Time magazine once dubbed it "the best thing to hit the pike since Girl Scout cookies." Loads of gourmet food will be served up at themed booths (thus, Miller's ode to Detroit) with local head chefs whipping up fare to be eaten by guests and weighed by judges such as Jeremiah Tower, owner of Stars restaurant in San Francisco; Jan Turner Hazard, food editor of the Ladies Home Journal; John Mariani, restaurant critic for Esquire magazine and food editor of USA Today; radio personality Paul Wallach, and W. Peter Prescott, entertainment editor for Food and Wine magazine. And that is just for starters, folks. After that, a gourmet dinner will be served, with dancing, of course.

Their cup runneth over: Mercedes dealer Jim Slemons and his wife, Diane, have been riding high this week aboard their $2.8-million, 92-foot yacht, the Mercedes. The Italian-made craft, boat of the year in Europe in 1987, was chosen to be a VIP escort yacht during the America's Cup challenge in San Diego. Catch them today on TV. Their blue-striped, white Versilcraft will be riding the cobalt chop near the Stars & Stripes. Good pals Ben and Barbara Harris are going along for the ride. (Tidbit: The Slemonses have been doing their share of escorting lately. When President Reagan appeared at the fund-raising luncheon for Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) in Irvine three weeks ago, the couple floated actress Jaclyn Smith down from L.A. In what? A Mercedes limo, of course.)

Dinner near Tiffany's: The last word on the Tiffany gala to be held at South Coast Plaza on Oct. 8: Arnold Scaasi--fashion designer for Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Walters, Elizabeth Taylor, et al--will attend. And, as guests exit Tiffany and enter a sprawling tent for dinner, they will get to watch models pirouetting upon pedestals--resplendent in Scaasi evening gowns--along the way. Another new name on the guest list: Jo Ellen Qualls, the Audrey Hepburn-esque woman recently appointed veep of the Costa Mesa store.

Georgia on their mind: About 100 guests will crowd L.A. Rams owner Georgia Frontiere's two-story suite at Anaheim Stadium on Sunday when the Rams kick off their season against the Detroit Lions. On the guest list: Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates, James Roosevelt and John Crean. Hike!

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