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THE SOCIAL CITY / RSVP

The Colbert Festival Was Picture-Perfect

November 12, 1995|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Arnie L. Kopelman, president of Chanel Inc., called the Beverly Hills Chanel boutique "the most beautiful boutique in the world." It may be.

Kopelman is also U.S. chairman of Comite Colbert, the association of 75 French luxury goods companies that last week promoted the second Colbert Festival in Beverly Hills. He was at Chanel, celebrating its 10th year in Beverly Hills and greeting 300 VIPs and celebrities who had come to see Karl Lagerfeld's photographic exhibition, which recently drew mobs at Studio Industria in New York. What the crowd hadn't suspected was that Lagerfeld himself would attend.

So, when the Chanel couturier blazed through the door bearing his trademarks--a black fan, dark glasses, ponytail, black suede shoes--the fuss was serious. Though he was met by Barbara Cirkva, Chanel senior vice president, and Arlette Thebault, executive director of public relations (the two in twin white Chanel boleros), the night became an unavoidable press-the-flesh occasion. Guests couldn't get up on the single elevator fast enough to view Lagerfeld's photographs of Linda Evangelista, Kirsty Hume, his home in Hamburg, his self-portrait.

Lagerfeld held court on the balcony, overlooking Rodeo Drive's holiday lights.

In the crush were Joan and John Hotchkis, Judy and Don Tallarico, Norma McIntyre and daughter Anne, Nina Martin, Sherry Shelley, Teran Davis (she has a 3-week-old baby, Allegra) and Drini Abellan.

Lagerfeld is in Los Angeles to photograph our Southland for Chanel's spring fashion brochures.

*

It's History: Rancho Los Alamitos was once 300,000 acres, the largest of the California land grants. Now it's 7 1/2 acres, after eminent domain--some for the Long Beach veterans hospital, some for Cal State Long Beach, some for freeways. Now, it's called Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens, open to the public.

Wearing a cowboy hat and scarf, chief speaker Preston Hotchkis told the First Century Families 57th annual luncheon crowd how it was back in the days when his Bixby relatives, arriving from New England in 1881, held the ranch's then-125,000 acres. In one anecdote after another, he recalled his grandfather Fred Bixby, who could crack an egg for the frying pan by throwing it at the ceiling just so.

And he quoted Bixby as saying, "There's nothing that puts fat on a steer faster than rubbing against an oil derrick." Yes, the family owned part of Signal Hill.

Among those at the luncheon were John Hotchkis Jr. and his wife, Courtney; Preston's wife, Maurine; Joan Hotchkis (husband John was out of town) and Robert Ketterer.

Sally Brant chaired the luncheon and her son, Robert Howard Brant, Union Bank senior vice president, was at the head table, too. More attending: Lou and Sis Jones, Gwen Cheesewright, Lucy Toberman McBain, the Rev. Chip Libbey, Bitsy and Dick Hotaling, Rhoda Osthaus, Barbara Osthaus, Missy Crahan, Patrick and Patty Doheny, Pamela Seager (who showed slides of the early days), Christine Shirley and representatives of some of California's historic families--Vail, Avery, Chandler, Garnier, Gavin, Hoffman, Martin, Niven, Stoneman and Workman.

*

Antiques: Onnalee Doheny, Alice Avery, Shirle McConner and Cass Armistead are among members of the Bel-Air Garden Club who returned with happy purchases from the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show.

Now, we hear from Sally Wright, owner of Richard Gould Antiques on La Cienega, that the Antique Dealers Assn. of California is planning a mid-May show at the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport. It will somewhat emulate the San Francisco show--panache, gala preview, fabulous antiques.

The gala will benefit the Women's Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Elsewhere on the Social Circuit

* It would be impossible to describe the joy of the crowd that came the other day for the ribbon-cutting at the Richard J. Riordan Building that houses Puente Learning Center in Boyle Heights. Smiles, laughter, bravos, raves. In the mid-1980s, Riordan sought out the property for the site and bought it with his own money. With the tenacity of executive director Sister Jennie Lechtenberg, the modern gleaming white building designed by architect Stephen Woolley is now a literacy school (with 200 computers) for 2,000 ranging from preschoolers to octogenarians. Pam Mullin, chair of the $9.5-million capital campaign, has $1 million to go to meet the Kresge Foundation pledge of $450,000. "We'll make it," she said. Minerva Perez was emcee. The student mariachis were marvelous.

* New, too, is Women's Care Cottage's daytime resource center for homeless women and their children, which opened this week in North Hollywood.

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