It's an absolute first for Los Angeles. And it should thrill everyone whose heart beats faster at the sight of a new fashion creation. And particularly when that fashion comes from Paris, the fashion capital of the world, and it carries that incomparable label--Chanel.
What we're leading up to is the premier showing in Los Angeles of the fall couture collection (it makes its debut next week in Paris) from the House of Chanel. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the collection will be the star attraction at a gala evening on Sept. 16 hosted by the Music Center's fashion-conscious Amazing Blue Ribbon. Mrs. Thomas R. Vreeland Jr., a veritable fashion plate herself, is chairing the black-tie event which takes place in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion's Grand Hall.
The evening will start with a champagne reception just outside the Pavilion's doors. Then the party moves inside for the show. And after that, it's time for dinner and dancing.
The fashion show, a 28-minute presentation, will be very Parisian, done exactly as it is in the Chanel showrooms on the Rue Cambon. Except, of course, that in Paris the models walk on a runway and at the Music Center they'll be parading up and down the Grand Staircase. (Mlle. Chanel, we feel, would not object. She always watched her showings from the staircase that led to her office.)
Hard Work Pays Off
Chanel is not only underwriting the expenses of the show, but is also making a $150,000 donation to the Music Center Unified Fund. It's the kind of wonderful benefit a party chairman dreams of. But it's also hard work. Says Nancy Vreeland, "I've been working on this with Kitty d'Alessio (Chanel president) for a long time. Kitty and I first met in February of 1983."
The coordination between Chanel and the Blue Ribbon has so far been ideal. Chanel has specified that the decor be all white. The couture house is also bringing in 25 of its models, including the "face of Chanel"--Ines de la Frassange--their head vendeuse , and their lighting and sound specialists who will work hand in hand with their counterparts at the Pavilion.
Besides Nancy Vreeland, who is on the phone to Paris almost daily, those heavily involved with this fund-raiser include honorary co-chairs Mrs. Alan W. Livingston (you know her as actress Nancy Olson and the Blue Ribbon's new chairman) and Mrs. William F. Kieschnick (you know her best as BR's new president) and an honorary committee that includes, among many more, Paige Rense, and Mdmes. Henry Winkler, Peter Ueberroth, Charles B. Thornton, Aaron Spelling, Gregory Peck, Peter O'Malley, Otis Chandler, Garry K. Marshall, Kennedy B. Galpin, Leonard Goldberg, Walter Annenberg, Peter S. Bing, Robert A. Hamilton, Earle M. Jorgensen, Thomas V. Jones, Henry Salvatori, Nicholas Vanoff, Vernon O. Underwood and John K. Van de Kamp.
On a social scale of 1 to 10, the visit to Los Angeles of the President of the People's Republic of China Li Xiannian and his wife, Lin Jianei, ranks at the top, right alongside, according to Mayor Tom Bradley's chief of protocol Bee Lavery, the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. And that's saying a lot.
The mayor and his wife Ethel are official hosts on this visit and the Bradleys will be on the Tarmac at L.A. International Airport on Saturday awaiting their very special guests. Also on the receiving committee will be L.A. World Affairs Council President Edmonde Haddad and his wife; Supervisor and Mrs. Ed Edelman; Mrs. Howard Ahmanson, who is on the National Committee for U.S.-China Relations; Mr. and Mrs. Laurence Liu (he's president of the L.A.-Guangzhou Sister City Assn.); and Mr. and Mrs. David Lee (he's president of the National Assn. of Chinese Americans).
That afternoon the Chinese president and the mayor will have a private meeting. And that evening there's the big dinner hosted by the mayor and the World Affairs Council. That ticket is so hot there are 700 on the waiting list. There's so much interest in this visit, says Mrs. Lavery, because of the number of corporations doing business with China (McDonald-Douglas, Occidental Petroleum and Lockheed among them) and because there are more Chinese-Americans living in this area than in any other part of the United States.)
President Li seems to be no different from any other high ranking visitor--his itinerary includes a visit to Disneyland. He'll also tour the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, meet with Dr. Armand Hammer, who returned from China just a few weeks ago, and attend a dinner at the Beverly Hilton given by the National Assn. of Chinese-Americans and the Chinese-American community. On her own, the president's wife will attend a tea given by Caroline Ahmanson.
This will be Selwa (Lucky) Roosevelt's first visit to Los Angeles accompanying a head of state in her capacity as U.S. chief of protocol. The president, who arrives in New York next week from Canada, will stop off in Washington and Chicago (where he'll open a new consulate) en route to L.A.
Ellen Byrens has a great sense of fun. And her husband, insurance broker Berny Byrens, goes along with it.
For their 38th black-tie wedding anniversary at Jimmy's, Berny was just as surprised as the rest of the guests at what Ellen and Flower Fashions had wrought. On one side of the bar, in the new party room, were games of chance. Walter Harris was a winner, acquiring two stuffed animals for his wife. More winners were Philip Salet, Sybil Brand (her escort on and off the dance floor was Cesar Romero), R. L. Spencer and Mr. Blackwell, Mr. and Mrs. Daryoush Mahboubi Fardi, and Grace and Merrill Lowell. Dinner was served in the older party room where Del Simmons and his group made great big band sounds and later Ellen and Berny's daughter, Bambi, introduced one of the groups she manages, the Cooley Bop Crew, who sang and danced to everyone's delight.
Although his doctor said dancing was verboten , Fred Gibbons spent a lot of time whirling Gail Simms about. (She's just signed a contract to design the Pierre Cardin swimsuit line.) Others hardly ever missing a beat: Kathy and Chris Matsumoto, Frances and Happy Franklin, Martin and Chantal Stern, Jimmy and Anne Murphy, Ruth and Alan Berliner (they're just back from a long European holiday), Ruth and Harry Roman, Geri and Dick Brawerman, Sid and Frances Klein, the Kleins' daughter Dr. Karen Fritz and John Swope, Leona Palmer, Sedge and Henry Plitt, and Darwin and Guadalupe Shannon. The dancing resumed right after the waiters paraded by with dessert--flaming baked Alaskas.
Sitting out a few dances and/or table-hopping were Zena and Rusty Hoffman (he's recuperating from a broken hip), art collectors and philanthropists Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert, and publisher Seth Baker, who just doesn't like to dance. Period.
The Social Scramble: Up in San Francisco, Prentis and Denise Hale celebrated the publication of Dominick Dunne's new novel, "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" with the happy author, Tony Hale and the flamboyant Charlotte Mailliard. Next month the Hales will be entertaining for Neiman-Marcus' Richard and Heather Marcus and Princess Ghislaine de Polignac.
Seen at New York's 21 on a busy day: Sen. Ted Kennedy lunching with Marshall Cogan, one of the popular restaurant's new owners; Jayne and Henry Berger hosting a dinner for banker Peter and Dolores Bosshard; Jimmy and Charlene Nederlander and Astoria Studios owner George Kaufman and his wife, Cheri (the Bergers and the Nederlanders meet up later in Monte Carlo); Charles Allen with his usual entourage; stately Mildred Hilson, who's off next week to Paris to catch the couture collections; Mary Lasker; producer David Brown; Nancy Ittleson, who'll be spending the rest of the summer in Los Angeles; Sonny and Leah Ray Werblin; and Hubie Boscowitz with Robert Sarnoff.
Norman Kreiss celebrated his birthday the other night at La Reserve at Beaulieu in northern France with his wife, Eileen, Aquascutum's Gerald Abraham and his wife, Cliff Lambert and Tommy Monaco. And after dinner the birthday party moved on to Monte Carlo for the Sporting Club Gala starring Sammy Davis Jr. Ringside that night were Bill Cosby and Sugar Ray Leonard.