May 29, 2010

Naomi Campbell and Vladimir Doronin

My mother tought me early in life my name should never appear in the gutter press except when noting my engagement, marriage and – God forbid – my demise.

So you can imagine my horror when I arrived at Naomi Campbell’s 40th bash at the Hotel du Cap – that’s on the Riviera for those of you who still think the Waldorf Astoria is the cat’s meow – and had to give my name and picture i.d. to spiky-haired heavies all in black. Worse, I had to join the 400 guests in a group photo, think of cattle being squeezed into wagons and you’ll get the picture. Like the Wasp that I am, I stood back and watched the gold rush.

There were two thrones in the center, one for Naomi, the other for her boyfriend, the Russkie who was springing for the 5 million Euro bash. The thrones were in white plaster. The rest were normal chairs, chairs that were fought over as if they were made of gold. On the left of the birthday girl sat… Mark Rich, the mega crook and tax avoider whom Bill Clinton pardoned as his last act of his discredited presidency. (For ten or twenty million, that is.) Rich looks feeble and old, but he had the de riguer blonde next to him. Pushing his weight – and it’s a real load, believe you me – to sit in the front row was Jean Pigozzi, the playboy Italian Simca heir who has a house nearby and had entertained Roman Abramovich for lunch that day. My sources tell me that Abramovich uttered not one word, but had a chopper pick him up to take him to the Nice airport from where he flew to watch the Champions League final that evening. Harvey Weinstein was another front liner in the picture, but at least Harvey does produce movies, some of them damn good. Oh yes, I forgot, there was also J.Lo, Andre Leon Talley – the African Queen – and some others much too vulgar for me to mention.

I thought about the picture afterwards while looking at some old albums of my family. Groton class of 43, Exeter of 51, Lawrenceville of 52 and Blair of 55. Young gents in starched collars, prep ties and unwrinkled faces. The only thing they had in common was the lack of wrinkles, but at least my ancestors could smile.

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