January 21, 2010
Gstaad. I went to a wonderful party, three days of a non-stop feast, although not at the Palace, the mere hoi polloi were excluded, in theory at least.
There wasn’t a sign of Kate or a Mick, they must have forgotten the date, actually they were not invited, but Topper (whom no one could say is a pleb—well bred is his motto, or is it well fed?) was there, as was Freddy, and Minnie, and Lolly and Bunny and George, I couldn’t have liked it more.
Sorry, Sir Noel, but I write this rather hung over, the Muse having silently slipped away in the snow around six-thirty this morning on my way home. 430 swells flew over the Atlantic for Philip Radziwill’s marriage to Devon Schuster, his childhood sweetheart, for a romantic but spectacular wedding in the snow-covered village of Gstaad, where the groom’s parents have a chalet. The timing was perfect. Gstaad resembles Yemen during the holidays, but then things quiet down until the February rush that turns this beautiful alpine town into Beirut with a bit of downtown Moscow thrown in for good measure. So, in the middle of January, while hoi polloi were back chasing the not so mighty buck, the swells arrived for some serious partying among the sheltering mountains of the Bernese Oberland, the German part of good old Helvetia which I love. (French speaking Switzerland I find bogus-chic, and the Italian part slightly Sloany—phony).
What a pleasure it was not to run into anime creatures with exaggerated cheeks, lips and breasts. No pouting Jade Jaggers stinking up the place with their self-importance, certainly no desperate publicity-seeking Paris Hilton types, just a lot of young good looking people having fun. The parents of the groom are very old and good friends of mine. The mother, Eugenie Radziwill, is actually a childhood friend. As is her husband John. I first met John’s father, Stas, when he was JFK’s brother-in-law. He was married to Jackie’s much prettier sister Lee, but the marriage I always thought to be a rocky one, and it ended in divorce sometime during the Seventies. Stas liked to have a good time and we used to hit the clubs together when he’d come to Paris. He would have enjoyed last weekend as he had an eye for the ladies, to say the least. Just before I sat down to write this column I glanced at the papers and saw pictures of a hoodie delivering a small package to 18-year old Georgia Jagger, and with the de riguer punch-up which followed and ended Georgia’s birthday celebration in London. Oh to be in England, with its hoodies and its punch-ups, but for the moment I think I’ll stick to Switzerland.
And the hell of a party that was. Miles of silk covered the permanent tent that houses four tennis courts, and miles of marble that based the Radziwill portraits that plastered the tent. The Radziwills were electors of Poland, which means they were elected to be kings, not a bad idea even back then. Another good idea was to start the fun with a mountain fondue party on Friday, with cabins well-stacked with warm gluewein taking the merry makers to the top. Coming down for some strange reason seemed to go much quicker and then it was on to the Palace GreenGo club until the dawn.
Next day came the wedding in the beautiful Saanen church followed by the ball. In between, however, I had been asked to give a lunch for some who flew over for the bash, which did not turn out to be a great success even if I say so myself. I felt too ill and had to leave in the middle for some cross country skiing to be ready for the evening. A rather rude thing to do but necessary. My great buddy John Sutin played host, although he wasn’t feeling his best either, especially as he was wearing an alpine coat of lemon green that did not help.
And a funny thing happened that evening. I danced with a married lady while very much in my cups and kissed her. Right in the kisser. After awhile I wanted some more, asked her to dance once again and applied the Taki method. Not best pleased she pushed me away. Never one to insist, I sat down and complained to a friend of mine about the volatility of females. “But that was her twin,” my friend George told me, “and they’re wearing identical dresses.” Figuring that I might pick on the wrong twin again, I gave up and concentrated on some of my daughter’s friends. For dancing only, that is.
Now I’m left with some wonderful memories and an enlarged liver for my troubles. My son John Taki set a new record in the Taki Cup as he raced up to the Eagle Club in 36 minutes. Ten years ago, when the competition began, 59 minutes was the record that was supposed to be unbreakable. And JT did it without sleep and having skied all day. He does even better with the fairer sex—he’s separated from his Italian wife and has two young children—but the reason I consider him an ungrateful son who hates his father is because he absolutely refuses to put in a good word for his old man to past or present girlfriends. In fact he tells them I’m happily married, a vulgar abuse of the truth.