Fashion Show Looks Back at a Futurist


At the box office, “Back to the Future” is scoring a solid hit. Equally successful, we’re convinced, will be the Los Angeles Fashion Group’s “Looking Back at a Futurist,” a loving tribute to the extraordinary career of the late Rudi Gernreich, a futurist if there ever was one.

Some of Gernreich’s most famous models--Peggy Moffit, creative director for the tribute and the first to be photographed in Gernreich’s topless swimsuit (by her husband, Bill Claxton, who’ll be in charge of the tribute’s films), Ellen Harth, who modeled Gernreich’s creations in the ‘60s and (keep your fingers crossed) perhaps Jimmie Mitchell, Gernreich’s first model--will show off the Gernreich creations on stage Aug. 13 at the landmark Wiltern Theatre.

Times Fashion Editor Marylou Luther heads a committee that includes Sarah Worman, the Fashion Group’s president, and Cole of California’s Sheri Mobley and Barbara Trister, who serves as liaison between the mayor and the fashion industry. Tickets are $250 per person for cocktails, dinner and the show; $35 ($10 if you’re a student) will get you into the fashion show.


Giorgio’s Fred Hayman (he’s also donating Giorgio fragrance favors), Herb Fink (among the first to recognize Gernreich’s talent) of Theodore and Country Club Fashions and Vidal Sassoon (his hair styles often accessorized Gernreich’s fashions) are underwriting the event. That means all the money raised in ticket sales will go to the Rudi Gernreich Fund for Design. Other generous people: Model agency owner Nina Blanchard is donating the models, and Moet et Chandon is furnishing the champagne and the Simi wine for dinner.

There was nothing wishy-washy about Gernreich’s work. He loved strong color. And best of all he loved the combination of black and white. And in keeping with that, the Fashion Group benefit committee is making the night of Aug. 13 a black-and-white affair. Following the theme will be the decor, the food (yes, the food), and if they pay attention to the invitations, the guests.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, considered among the 10 leading scientific research centers in the world, isn’t profligate with its awards. Since its founding in 1944 by Chaim Weizmann, the institute’s first president, it has presented its highest honor, the Weizmann Award in the Sciences and Humanities, to just 14 individuals, the last one being British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

But now the institute is ready to do it again. And this time the recipient is Bram Goldsmith, chairman of the board and CEO of City National Bank and City National Corp. The presentation will be made at a dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel on Dec. 8. That word comes from Frederic N. Richman, president of the L.A. Committee for the Weizmann Institute and 1985 tribute dinner chairman.

It was Jimmy Murphy, a Gemini, who made a tradition out of a yearly lunch (at Murphy’s Jimmy’s, of course) for his Gemini pals. This year when the time was right, he and his wife, Anne, were in Rome for an audience with the Pope and some sightseeing. That’s when Contessa Cohn, who loves parties more than anyone else, stepped in and planned the Gemini luncheon to coincide with the Murphys’ return to L.A. By then it was the Moon Children’s time to shine, which was fine because Cohn mixed her Geminis with other friends born under the signs of Aries (that’s Cohn’s birth sign) and Pisces and Capricorn and Taurus.

The luncheon took place at a very long table in Jimmy’s new glass-enclosed patio. (Other people eating their lunches at tables around the edges of the patio didn’t seem to mind the high jinks and laughter.)


Flower Fashions did the decor--two brightly colored floral arrangements, crayons and marking pens plus lots of glossy paper. T-shirts in many colors, Gemini stamped on their backs, served as slipcovers for the backs of the chairs. During the course of the luncheon most of the guests were moved to scribble laudatory messages about their hostess. Costume designer and Gemini Moss Mabry wrote a poem. Max Eckert, a Taurus, wrote a note to Vincent Price which photographer Michael Jacobs promised to deliver. And being a Pisces and a bit perverse, Joan Quinn penned this message: “I wouldn’t be a Gemini for all the money in the world.”

Rima Rudina, who played the lighthearted violin music backed by an accordionist, serenaded each of the Geminis--Fred Hayman, who was there with Betty Endo; Mabry; Peggy Parker; Ellen Pollon, who’s off to Jamaica for a holiday “because I’ve never been there”; Murphy; and Fred Gibbons. The non-Geminis included Kurt and Betty Niklas, Kathy Finley Matsumoto, Jack Lowrance, Jacques Camus (his birthday was July 5), Grace Robbins (hatted and wearing her gold nails), Gloria and Phillip Luchenbill, Cohn’s daughter Stephanie Blackman, and Art Kassel.

The Social Scramble: Tichi Wilkerson Kassel, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Hollywood Reporter, gets back from Russia just in time to host, with her advisory board and the California Museum of Science & Industry, a reception at the museum on Wednesday. It’s the night, you see, when the Reporter presents its trophies for the 14th annual Key Art Awards honoring artists of movie and television posters. The exhibition of prize-winning posters will be open to the public at the museum’s Discovery Gallery from Thursday to Aug. 30.

New Yorker Jim Mitchell, out here for a little R&R;, settled down to a fancy Chinese dinner the other night at Madame Wu’s Garden with a few chums: Alexis Smith and Craig Stevens, who’d just completed a cruise with the “Love Boat,” Lucy Gould and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Sisi Cahane and her son, Chris, who lives in Malibu and produces television commercials.

Today, in case you’ve forgotten, is Bastille Day. And naturally it’s the day Vittel, the world’s largest bottler of still mineral waters, headquartered in Vittel, France, has chosen for the dedication of its American addition, the Bartlett Mineral Springs Co. (it produces sparkling water) in Bartlett Springs, Calif. The company’s president and CEO, Guy de la Motte-Bouloumie (an ancestor developed a health treatment center near Vittel’s springs), is flying out for the ribbon cutting.

The Vittel city band will play, and of course there will be a brunch and a cocktail party surrounding the event. De la Motte-Bouloumie will be in Los Angeles Monday seeing to business. When he returns in mid-September he’ll be in a more social mood. There are plans afoot for mineral-water tastings and parties at Nipper’s in the Rodeo Collection. The distinguished Frenchman has been well decorated by his country. Among his honors: chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur and rank of officer of the Merit Nacional. For 24 years he served as mayor of Vittel.


Jeanette and Vidal Sassoon hosted a table of family and friends at Madame Wong’s West where Vidal’s nephew, Simon Sassoon, and Billy Dee Williams’ son, Corey Dee Williams, opened with their new group, Atmosphere. Earlier in the day Vidal had received an invitation from Yale University to be guest speaker next semester at the Ivy League university’s Masters Tea. Bella Azbug, designer Bill Blass, former New York Mayor John Lindsay, cellist Yo Yo Ma, Gulf Oil’s chairman Jerry McAfee, novelist D. M. Thomas, studio head Frank Wells and Vincent Price have been speakers at the same forum.

Backtracking: The “regulars” were out in droves to say goodby to Laura Hug and her staff before the popular Swiss Cafe closed its doors. (It may open again on the site of the Saloon.) Bonita Granville Wrather, who had given a cocktail party for the Swiss Cafe bunch a few days earlier, was there on the same day Merrill and Grace Lowell were lunching in the patio with Carlo Celoni. (He left a few days later on a European jaunt.) Also Francie Brody, Claire and Steve Weiner, Beverly Kay and her daughter and Jerry Miller.