CityWalk would have been the perfect place to throw a surprise 60th birthday party for Jon Jerde, the Venice-based architect who is known as the father of the modern mega-mall. He designed CityWalk, as well as Newport Beach's Fashion Island, the Glendale Galleria, Westside Pavilion and hundreds of others. But Jerde, one of the USC School of Architecture's most famous graduates (along with Frank Gehry), was feted Saturday at one of L.A.'s true cultural gems: Union Station.
The USC marching band, complete with Blues Brothers-esque sunglasses, played "Conquest" and led their Trojan king down a receiving line so long it would have intimidated almost anyone. But Jerde took it in stride, greeting each guest with a hug or a handshake.
Nearly 300 attended the fiesta-themed party, including Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn and his wife, Elaine Wynn. Jerde designed Wynn's Bellagio and Treasure Island resorts, as well as his Las Vegas home.
"Jon is our brain," Wynn said. "He does creative but traditional architectural work--except when he sees me. When he sees me, he has more freedom to do fanciful stuff. It's nice to work on a casino--it's institutional frivolity."
Jerde was at USC from 1959 to 1965. "Jon was the person who first thought about combining entertainment with architecture," USC professor of architecture Victor Reignier said.
The party, organized by Jerde's wife, Janice, was planned for 6:30 p.m., but the Jerdes did not arrive until nearly 8 p.m. "Were you driving?" a friend asked Jerde in jest. "No wonder it took so long."
Venice-based sculptor Robert Graham and his wife, Anjelica Huston, mingled with the mariachis, along with Southland magazine editor-in-chief Elizabeth McMillan (Jerde's second wife) and Isaac Tigrett, founder of House of Blues.
After guests had settled at their dinner tables, USC School of Architecture Dean Robert Timme presented Jerde with two gifts in his name: a chair endowed with $1.5 million, which will bring architectural scholars to the campus each year, and a traveling fellowship that will enable one student each year to study abroad.
Jerde said, "This is one of the greatest moments of my life. My heart beams."
English gin maker Tanqueray tossed a Brit-themed bash at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood the other night. Guests sipped apple martinis and snacked on fish and chips while taking a gander at fashions by London swimsuit queen Liza Bruce and shoemaker-to-the-stars Jimmy Choo. There was even a faux newsstand stocked with British tabs.
The fire marshals put a bit of a damper on things. After they showed up at 10 p.m., almost no one was allowed to enter the indoor area, which was where all the action was. How do I know? Because a really nice guy sneaked me in through the back. (I want to apologize to my friends who were stuck behind the velvet rope. Really, guys, you didn't miss anything--except for Leo, Courtney Love, Seal, Lenny Kravitz, Rose McGowan and Tori Spelling.)
Second to spotting my former neighbor and sometime role model Angelyne in a hot pink miniskirt that matched her male companion's hair, the highlight of my evening was the Ozwald Boateng fashion show. In a scene hotter than a Ricky Martin video, steamy male models in the English designer's body-hugging suits gyrated to Latin beats on a three-story "Hollywood Squares"-type structure. Boateng, who dresses Mick Jagger and Robbie Williams, among others, will show his collection in the U.S. for the first time in New York next month.
I was amused to see 1980s designer jeans are back in full force. I must have spotted at least 10 Jordache-clad backsides at the party. Too bad I didn't save my Sergio Valentes from back then. (Who am I kidding? If I did still have them, I'd be lucky to get them past my calves!)