An Unexpected Invitation
You might want to think twice the next time you bypass a copy of Vanity Fair in the grocery store aisle or airport. For the past fifteen years I’ve had a faithful subscription, following Dominick Dunne, the rich and famous, as well as minor nobility and scions of business. They were always distant figures in my life, but somehow I remembered the gossip and the incestuous relationships and now, in Paris, I can discuss their lives with their friends, pretending they’re my friends too…and it works!!
Paris? Did she just say Paris? I thought she’s supposed to be in Venice? I know, but believe me it was completely unexpected.
In a seemingly normal conversation I received an invitation to accompany a friend to Paris where she said we could stay with a distant cousin of hers. I originally said thank you, but no, I’m here to study Italian and live like a Venetian. Then she said who her cousin was and I asked, “When are we leaving?”
I’m not a name-dropper (well, actually I am), but I would like to return one day, so my hostess (for the sake of protecting her identity) will only be referred to as SHE. And I will be referred to as K.
Conversation Number #1:
I recognize a man whose picture is on the refrigerator.
K: “Is that Lapo?”
SHE: “Do you know him?”
K: “Of course, he’s Gianni Agnelli’s grandson. I love the way he dresses.”
(Agnelli Family Feud, August 2008)
SHE: “How funny! Yes, I know exactly what you mean. He was wearing these outrageous glasses the other day.”
K: “I personally love his blue velvet slippers.”
(Best-Dressed Hall of Frame, August 2009)
SHE: “Aren’t they fabulous!”
Since I’m unable to flaunt pictures of my new acquaintances, I’ll share with you the sweet life of Paris instead.
Conversation Number #2:
SHE waves at a man getting into his vintage Mercedes coupe while we stroll down the street.
SHE: “That’s one of the Annenberg sons.”
K: “I so admire his mother’s work in L.A.”
(Her Own Kind of Annenberg, September 2009)
SHE: “She basically supports the museums there.”
K: “Not to mention those incredible community projects.”
Conversation Number #3:
I eye a Christmas card under a stack of papers and recognize the familiar face of Richard Gere.
K: “What a lovely picture of Richard and the family.”
SHE: “Oh, he was just here visiting last month. You wouldn’t believe the paparazzi that gathered outside my door.”
K: “I’m sure he handled it with grace.”
(Ok, I can’t remember which issue, but it involves him and the Dali Lama.
Buddhist = grace, what do you think?)
SHE: “Of course, he even insisted on posing for pictures with my maid’s children.”
Conversation Number #4:
Chatting about parties in New York
SHE: “It was so much fun at the Eastman’s last party. Paul was there. He played and sang, always the ultimate entertainer.”
(Hmmm…Paul? You have to be quick with this crowd. I knew Paul McCartney was married to Linda Eastman, and that he’s a singer who plays the piano. So, I took my chances.)
K: “How’s he doing? I just heard he got remarried.
SHE: “Yes, and Nancy’s lovely. Such a nice change after Heather.”
K: “I always thought that was a mistake.”
(Dominick Dunne’s Diary, London Intrigue)
SHE: “We all did, dear.”
Subscriptions starting at $34.99 a year, well worth the price
PS—if you run into Lapo or Paul, please don’t tell them I’m a fraud.