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Raising a Glass to 'Two Fashion Geniuses'


Caroline Ahmanson said it well at the Costume Council Patron Dinner celebration of the opening of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's exhibition "Adrian: The Couture Years, 1942-1952."

"We honor two fashion geniuses," Ahmanson said. She referred to the late Gilbert Adrian and to Tony Duquette.

Adrian (1903-1952) was known for his legendary MGM costume designs and a couture fashion career that earned him the 1945 American Fashion Critics Award. He was married to Janet Gaynor.

Duquette, 81, the first American to present his works at the Pavilion de Marsan at the Paris Louvre Museum, starred at the dinner. He worked with Adrian on the MGM production of the film "Lovely to Look At." Adrian did the costumes; Duquette did the sets.

When Maggie Pexton Murray screened film excerpts after dinner, the elegant black-tie and gowned audience did what they'd done all evening--aahed and oohed.

"My childhood Polly!" Duquette told Polly Gooden. "Gee, we look marvelous." She was among the many scrutinizing the 70 Adrian gowns and suits shown by the museum and donated to the institution through the years by prominent women such as Caroline Liebig and the late Mary Gross, Alberta Chandler and Ganna Walska.

Others looking included Alice Avery and Jimmy Moiso, her ex-husband. "We were married four years--it would have been 57 this year," Avery said.

More were Peggy Ducommun Ward (who owns a house Adrian lived in), Frances Brody and Martin Manulis, Laura-Lee and Robert Woods, Adrian model Nan Martin, Nancy Wheatley and the trio of party chairwomen--Jane Ackerman, Kathy Offenhauser and Anne Johnson.

Costume Council Chairwoman Eva Elkins, in a bright summer floral print, welcomed the guests. Flora Thornton, in a charming black Travilla, admired Adrian's black evening gown worn on film by Greer Garson. Susan Quinn Keck, in a lacy black Carolina Herrera, was more excited over her 2-month-old twins.

Said Eleanore Phillips Colt, "Adrian was the most prestigious American fashion designer. We couldn't afford to buy him [at his elegant salon on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills], so we got copies--everybody knocked off Adrians."

Elsewhere on the

Social Circuit

* Inaugurating their 91st year in Los Angeles, the Bachelors have elected Steven William Leland of South Pasadena as president. Other new officers are Thomas J. Blumenthal, vice president and ball chairman; John E. Andrews, secretary, and William P. Bessolo, treasurer. Elected to the board of governors: Robert M.L. Baker III, Charles D. Bell, Eric G. Christenson, A. Peter Kezirian Jr., Christian E. Markey III, Scott S. McKay, Travis E. Reed III and James P.S. Shotwell. Past presidents Charles F. Donnelly, Arthur H. Rasmussen Jr. and Robert H. Forward Jr. will serve ex officio.

* After working nearly 2 1/2 years to rebuild and redecorate their Glenbrook "cottage" at Lake Tahoe, Joan and Dave Traitel of Arcadia mustered 275 friends from Southern California, San Francisco and Sacramento for a Glenbrook jamboree and barbecue.

Indoors, kilim and Native American rugs mixed with English antiques. It all looked perfectly Southwestern and open. The rustic red and green linens covering the furniture inside seemed to merge into the terraced patio over the meadow.

San Francisco architect Don Brandenberger, who designed the remodel, joined the party. So did Marjorie Miller, John Donlon, Helen and Tom McCrea and Warren and Ellie Jones, Pat and Rob Greenwood of Piedmont, Alice and Peter Redfield of Atherton, Amy and Charles Stephens of Pasadena and Barbara and Bill Steele of San Marino.

It was a weekend of house parties. Linda and Jim Dickason of San Marino entertained 150, many of them Traitel guests, a night earlier at their Glenbrook home. Among them were Isabel and Jeff Arnett, Betty Baxter of Glenbrook and her daughter Nancy Baxter. Frank and Betsy Ulf and Mimi and Eugene Bell attended both parties. So did Webb and Rita Coulter, Winnie and Lynn Reitnouer and Rari and Frank Simmons, all of San Marino.

A week earlier, designer Tony Duquette escorted Eleanore Philips Colt, former Vogue West Coast editor, to the League to Save Lake Tahoe's Oscar de la Renta fashion show at Rubicon Beach, where many of the same people shared fun.

* Surprises don't always work, but it seemed John Argue, daughter Betsy and son John staged a real coup recently at the Oakmont Country Club in Glendale.

The secret was kept by 350 who belted out "Happy Birthday" to Liz Argue as she arrived late. It was her 60th. Joining her in celebration was childhood friend Marilyn Butcher. They grew up in Sunnyvale and celebrated their 13th birthdays together.


Mary Lou Loper's column is published Sundays.

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