While bopping on the dance floor at London's Grosvenor House ballroom with Superman Christopher Reeve, the Princess of Wales was heard to remark that some of the men she'd been dancing with seemed a bit reluctant to put their hands on her bare back. Not so for her first dancing partner of the evening, Bruce Oldfield, who had designed the open-back, sun-ray-pleated gown of silver and gold lame. Oldfield, who is one of the 23-year-old Princess' favorite designers, hosted the gala evening as a benefit for Dr. Barnardo's, the orphanage in which he was reared. It was the Princess' first official appearance as president of Dr. Barnardo's, and she dazzled the 900 guests and provided London's tabloid newspapers with "Di-namite" headlines (the Sun) as she posed for pictures with Joan Collins, "Bowing to a Greater Dynasty" (the Daily Mail). Other guests who paid 100 pounds each for the privilege of saying they had rubbed shoulders with the Princess of Wales on the dance floor--and they did--included ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Charlotte Rampling and David Frost.
The Oscars can't come and go without a word from Listen. At the Governors Ball that followed the awards, we sipped Mumm's Cordon Rouge champagne, dined on veal chops and cute little chocolate mousse-filled meringue swans, worked the room (well, everyone else was) and got a chance to take in the parade of clothes whooshing by--the ones that didn't whoosh by on the TV telecast. Candy Spelling, for one, looked positively Elizabethan in her new bobbed hairdo and torso-hugging black velvet gown. And then there were the Peck women--Veronique and Cecilia--who cut a handsome mother-daughter profile in their poufy, floor-length taffeta gowns. Of all the garbed-to-the-hilt actresses in the room, all eyes were turned on (the envelope, please) . . . Elizabeth Berridge, who played Constanza Mozart in "Amadeus." New York designer Giorgio Sant'Angelo dressed her appropriately in a baroque beaded gown revealing her unmistakably "Amadeus" decolletage. We liked the whole look, especially with her boyish, slightly punk hairdo. . . . Oh yes, for the history books, the table favors were tiny bottles of Scoundrel and Chaz.
As for what the women on the Oscar show wore, well, nominee Ann Roth, costume designer for "Places in the Heart," said it all. "The clothes weren't too anything ," she summed up. Meaning not too bare, not too sexy, not too dull. "They were straight down the middle," she said. "I found them conservative--no, not conservative . . . nice." Listen thinks Diana Ross looked more than nice in her beaded Galanos gown. And her friend, Patrice (not even Ross' business associates know his last name) looked...well, unusual in his full-length leather dressing gown with dotted lapels.
L.A. designer Luis Estevez tells Listen: "It's the deal of a lifetime, it's what I've been waiting for." And that sounds like an understatement. Estevez, whose client list includes Harriet Deutsch, Betsy Bloomingdale, Fran Stark, Ginny Mancini and Arlene Dahl, has put together a "major umbrella company" called Luis Estevez Enterprises. He will open a couture clothing studio in Beverly Hills and will also design a "volume line of wonderful young Estevez dresses" for retail stores. His backers include James G. Robinson, the Chicago-based tycoon; Allan Carr, the Hollywood producer-director; Fredric B. Gershon, Carr's partner; socialite Sandra Moss; Ginny and Henry Mancini; Wendy and Leonard Goldberg; Anita May Rosenstein; businessman Richard M. Cohen; attorney Alan Alexander, and importer/manufacturer Lou Hyman. In addition, Estevez says there are another three backers who prefer not to be named. "This deal was a year in the making," adds Estevez, who'll be chairman of the board and largest stockholder of the firm.
The transition is complete. Calvin Klein has progressed from hotshot New York designer to Hollywood heartthrob type. That was evident last week when the designer broke all personal-appearance records at New York's Bloomingdale's as hordes of adoring fans showed up to get autographed posters of the murky blue ad for Klein's Obsession perfume. Here at Robinson's Beverly Hills, the crowds weren't as vast, but they made up in enthusiasm for what they lacked in number. Klein stood behind a table (tall, slim, boyishly handsome in a navy jacket that topped what looked like a white undershirt) as hundreds of customers lined up to get a word, a wink, a signature from the man they treated like an Oscar nominee or an Olympic champ. They approached him with reverence, offering perfume bottles (he signed the bottle bottoms in silver ink), Calvin Klein underwear briefs (he signed the white waistbands) and all sorts of other Klein-labeled items, which presumably will never be washed or worn now that they are personally inscribed. One young woman offered a brand-new pair of Klein white men's briefs, which she wanted autographed for her boyfriend. Klein wrote: "She's hot" on the body of the pants. Another woman, Georgie Stepner of Pacific Palisades, was totally clad in springtime Klein: a patterned vest over a silk blouse over a patterned silk pleated skirt. "He signed my cologne and my poster," Stepner sighed, adding that she is "a really big Calvin Klein fan." Even Listen could see that this man might make it on the silver screen. But we're not sure he can act.
The "yes,but-how-does-she-look-in-leotards?" group may eat their hearts out when they see Linda Evans wearing sleek, shiny exercise clothes--with not a bit of bulge or flab to mar her golden-girl image. The "Dynasty" star, along with Veronica (Mrs. Muhammad) Ali and a number of other personal friends, will appear starting May in nationwide TV commercials for General Foods' Crystal Light low-calorie drink. Spokesperson Marijane Levee says the spot features the group "wearing next to nothing" and participating in a strenuous workout led by Evans. Levee adds that even without her Nolan Miller "Dynasty" duds, Evans is "a knockout."
Craziest T-shirt of the Week Award goes to the top we spotted that has printed on the front: "I'm a schizophrenic and so am I."