It wasn't your run-of-the-mill block party Sunday. But then again, Rodeo Drive isn't your run-of-the-mill street. Nearly 30 fashion designers--including Tiffany & Co., Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Hermes--participated in the "Tribute to Style Millennium Exhibition," which closed down Rodeo Drive between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards and drew a veritable constellation of stars, all for a good cause.
Designers made one-of-a-kind pieces to be auctioned off to benefit the Entertainment Industry Foundation. We salivated over a three-in-one purse on a metal ring binder by Bottega Veneta and a one-shoulder evening gown with chain-link sleeve by Gianfranco Ferre.
Proceeds from the $1000-a-head dinner party and Andrea Bocelli concert benefited the foundation's efforts to support arts education through organizations such as California State Summer School for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Teach for America.
We caught up with Jennifer Tilly, in a red, body-hugging Genny gown. The actress came, she said, because "every great civilization is judged by the artists it produces, yet we continue to cut arts funding. Art was emphasized in my family, and I believe it's important."
Paris model Nina Dafni turned heads in a Lloyd Klein gray flannel gown with a train that cocktail waiters couldn't help stepping on. Her wide-rimmed black hat was tres chic and oh so Old Hollywood. Klein is a Paris couturier who lives here part time.
"I would love L.A. to be the center of fashion," he said. "There is so much energy here."
Retailer-to-the-stars Tracey Ross sparkled in a gold Chanel coat. Her take on the turn of the century?
"Platinum and white are very millennium," she said. "This week, I'm redoing my house in those colors." Ross informed us that last week her Sunset Plaza shop sold out of Jade Jagger's new clothing line, Jade Inc., in one day. The London-based daughter of Mick Jagger and his first ex-wife, Bianca, was in town Friday to launch the line at a cocktail party at SkyBar. She has been designing jewelry for about two years.
Also spotted Sunday: Bai Ling in an acid green gown with crocheted sleeves by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, Natalie Cole in a silver sheath by Chanel, Portia di Rossi in a kilt and scarf-tied top by Holland & Holland, Catherine Zeta Jones on the arm of beaming beau Michael Douglas, "Frasier" crew Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, Bo Derek, looking younger than ever, and a wheelchair-bound Elizabeth Taylor (still recovering from a September fall that broke several vertebrae). Overheard: "I'm going to use the bathroom at Dior."
The Hollygrove Orphanage in Hollywood is about to get a donation from its most famous former resident. Norma Jean Mortenson lived at Hollygrove from 1936 to '37, when she was 10 and 11, before changing her name and becoming legend Marilyn Monroe. Now, more than 30 years after her death, Monroe's debt to the home is being repaid.
On Monday, the New York Daily News reported that some of the proceeds from the recent Monroe auctions at Christie's--which raised $13 million--will be donated to the home in the star's name.
We checked in with Hollygrove director Judy Nelson, who said that an undisclosed sum will be donated by Anna Strasberg, who has looked after Monroe's estate since the 1982 death of her husband, Lee Strasberg.
Anna Strasberg visited Hollygrove two months ago and has been in touch with Nelson ever since. The two are talking about creating a Marilyn Monroe theater at the home. "We are thrilled beyond description," Nelson said. "This will help children for years to come."
Hollygrove, now located near Melrose and Vine in Hollywood, opened in Chinatown in 1880 as the Los Angeles Children's Orphans Society. It was renamed Hollygrove in 1953, when the home changed from an orphanage to a residential treatment center serving abused and neglected children who are wards of the court.
Booth Moore can be reached at email@example.com.