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RSVP / THE SOCIAL CITY : Good and Plentiful

October 29, 1995|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It's been a whirl of extraordinary benefits: one, the Getty House Restoration Foundation gala in Hancock Park; two, the elegant Los Angeles Garden Show at the Arboretum; three, Sotheby's opening of its vast new headquarters on Sunset Boulevard, and four, the "Carriage Days" alfresco dinner at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, following a historic and fabulous exhibition of fabled California fashions. All in one week.

"Gracie Mansion in the future will be known as Getty House East," joked Mayor Richard Riordan as he cut the ribbon to the mayor's official residence. Friend Nancy Daly and former resident and former Mayor Tom Bradley looked on. Daly is the one who has tirelessly dedicated herself and a band of 1,000 volunteers, workers and donors to the restoration. Said the mayor: "I am very proud of what Nancy's angels have done for this house."

Five hundred could hardly wait to get by the front boxwood hedge, iceberg roses, pansies and French lavender to tour the English-style house. They were so lured by pretty interiors that the rococo feast of salmon and filet mignon was somewhat delayed, which, in turn, delayed Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger's comedy and Mel Torme's finale of songs such as "Stardust."

Said Daly of the house: "We live in a city where ideas are plentiful, but this is beyond our wildest expectations." She called the 19 designers, the 17 committee chiefs, the 300 volunteers and the hundreds of tradespeople heroes.

The first-nighters included Stewart and Lynda Resnick, who were presented "The Angels Award"; Brad Dickason, project director; Adele Yellin, head of interior design, and Shirlee Fonda, Marcia Israel, Alice Avery, Ann Miller and John Gavin. Gala co-chairs Juli Reding Hutner and Julia Sanchez admired the big white dinner tent Clarise Ellis had shadowed with leaves.

When he has late-night meetings, Riordan says, he'll stay over instead of driving to Brentwood. The house really is for the city and a place to entertain foreign dignitaries.

"Isn't it wonderful," said Nancy Call. Everyone agreed.

Spectacular Show: Some 400 first-nighters took in the Los Angeles Garden Show at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. C.Z. Guest, "America's First Lady of Gardening," headlined one of 40 seminars and proclaimed the show the best she had seen.

Smelling the roses and dining alfresco to a pretty sunset were opening night honorary chairwoman Alyce Williamson and husband Warren, Judy Morse, Patty and Roger Burschinger, James Watterson, Susan Seidel (party chairwoman), Marilyn Brumder, Catherine Cheney and Charlene Vert. The Los Angeles Times and Robinsons-May were sponsors of the six-day project--teas, brunches, seminars, style gardens and style pavilions.

All the Gold: Andrea Van de Kamp, managing director, West Coast Sotheby's, brought the brass--or, shall we say, "the gold"--of Sotheby's to town for the opening of its spacious new Southern California location at 9665 Wilshire Blvd. Chairman Dick Oldenburg, president and CEO Diana D. Brooks and Stuart N. Siegel, president of Sotheby's International Realty, were on hand for the opening benefiting the California Institute of the Arts and chaired by Lawrence J. Ramer.

Viewing the impressionist and contemporary American paintings was a joy before the chow-down at the buffet on the terrace overlooking Wilshire. This is where future auctions of jewels, art and real estate will be held. The next night, Music Center Blue Ribbon and Fraternity of Friends members got similar treatment.

Carriage Days: The wonderful exhibitions of the "Carriage Days" show at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising at 919 S. Grand Ave. is a must-see.

Again, Alyce and Warren Williamson were honorary chairs, this time of the California Historical Society's opening night. Maggie Pexton Murray had put months of loving care into the show. Thus, the continuing collection includes rare fashions (bustled gowns, 1920s dresses, button shoes, dinner caps and fans, some dating to 1830) from prominent Southlanders such as Alice Avery, Ann Longyear, Polly Goodan, Janice Carpenter, Bitsy Hotaling and Kay Onderdonk. The dress Avery wore on her third birthday is in the show. Sally Wenzlau wore her grandmother's crocheted dress.

Linda and Dennis Vaughn were among those who took the elevator to the institute's fourth floor to admire the Larry Halprin gardens below. Kudos to gala chairwoman Linda Dickason and a committee including Jan Clayton, Betsy Link, Ginie Braun, George Erskine and Jackie Leisure. Among San Franciscans attending were Mike McCone, Edith Piness, Stephen Taber (in his father's tuxedo) and Southland trustees including Joe Coulombe.

Elsewhere on the Social Circuit

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