The first leg of the trip starts in Paris; both Loree and myself are here to attend Valentino’s White Fairy Tale Love Ball at his castle: Chateau de Wideville. Loree checks in the Maurice (www.lemeurice.com) on Rue de Rivoli, a stunning 5 star hotel next to the Louvre coined “The Hotels of Kings” and I am staying at my good friend Eric B’s (www.theblinddesigner.com) incredible penthouse apartment, right behind the Louvre, with 4 balconies overlooking all of Paris: from the Louvre to the Seine and Eiffel Tower, to the Île de la Ville…just incredible!!! The irony is that my friend Eric is blind and yet has the most desirable views in Paris. Looking out from the balconies reminds me of one of my favorite Disney movies I was obsessed with when I was a child: The Aristocats. The views of all the Parisian roofs and chimneys, along with all the iconic landmarks, is a site like no other…I want to live here!!!
It’s fashion week in Paris and everyone, who’s anyone, is in town; so the days prior to the big event are a marathon of social events, fashion shows and dinners in all my favorite spots in Paris. Most of my time is spent with my 2 favorite Parisians: Eric B, my host and an incredible interior designer (a considerable achievement considering he is blind!) and the very handsome and talented opera singer: Vincent Simonet. They are both so much fun and terribly naughty at the same time…just what the doctor prescribed! I even spent time with my LA contingent: Wolfgang & Gelila Puck along with the very talented fashion designer Monique Luhllier and her sweet husband Tom Bugbee at one of my favorite bars in Paris at the Hotel Costes…yeah, the one with the crazy, over-the-top, semi-drag-queen host-ess with the most-ess.
Balcony #1: Rive Gauche & Eiffel Tower
Balcony #2: The Louvre back entrance
Balcony #3: Île de la Cité & Notre Dame
The day of the event Loree, in white Chanel Couture, my “girl” Tamara Beckwith, in vintage Ralph Lauren, and the lovely Ann Crawford, all share the ride to Valentino’s castle, a 45 minute drive out of Paris. The invitation called for “White Dress”, so watching Loree, who I’ve never seen wearing anything but black in over 27 years, dressed in white was a treat in itself…she was glowing like a “reluctant angel” at the wrong ball!
When you arrive at Valentino’s castle, your breath stops and your jaw drops at the sheer beauty of his Parisian estate. Valentino, like just a handful around the world, has the most extraordinary taste in everything that is anything! Like his clothes have proven for over 40 years, his talent and impeccable taste go beyond fashion and into interior decoration, art, architecture and antiques, just about anything with a visual value…even the people he surrounds himself with have to be beautiful! I want to come back as Valentino in my next life…sans the orange “faux” tan!
An amazing tent was built next to the castle to host the big event where they created a Russian winter wonderland theme, complete with snow falling from the ceiling, a landscape of snow dusted pine trees, moss-covered floors, dining tables named after a fairy tales with fabulous winter centerpiece decorations, massive carved ice bars serving up russian Vodka…a total visual feast!!!! Of course, this evening wouldn’t be complete without the “AAA” crowd (as you can get a sample just from the invite) and an army of gorgeous super-models well placed around the room! Tamara Beckwith was responsible for organizing our table which included all my favorite people: Omer Karacan and Alasdair Dundas, Loree Rodkin, Giorgio Veroni and the eastern-block power-house: Goga Ashkenazi, right next to me…that in it self was an experience: she is one tough broad to keep up with!!!
The evening was a plethora of “ou la la’s” and “I thought you were married…” and “more Vodka, please”; and just when the party was getting fun and the vodka kicked in and the dancing started, my very own fairy tale god-mother, Loree Rodkin (still glowing in white), got bored…which means: “Wheels up”! The alternative, hitchhiking back from the castle to the city in black tie and smelling of vodka, is highly discouraged.
Before I know it, I’m back in the SUV sobbing (slight exaggeration) on my way back to Paris. The day after I found out that the surprise performance was Brian Ferry, one of my favorite…more sobbing!!!!!!! Even so, for one night I felt like Count Herbert von Kashanov of Beverly Hills attending a Roman Polanski version of Anna Karenina’s Russian Ball.
Turns out it was good I got dragged out early…I hear some people got snowed in!
Valentino’s Chateau de Wideville, Paris
Valentino and the stunning Natalia Vodianova
My two gals: Tamara Beckwith and Loree Rodkin
Trouble & Trouble: Giorgio Veroni & Alasdair Dundas
Loree Rodkin and the fabulous Omer Karacan
Our table was named “Bianca Neve” or Snow White.