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.


notre dame


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:

Standing in a all white kitchen, in a lovely multi-level home with a red carpeted entry hall, I recognize a man whose picture is on the refrigerator…a real picture, not something cut out of a magazine.

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! I didn’t know the two of you were friends.”


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 as we stroll down the street in the 7th arrondissement, near the Rodin museum. He’s handsome, well-dressed and has a very skinny girlfriend.

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.”


neighborhood bakery


Conversation Number #3:

I eye a Christmas card under a stack of papers and recognize the familiar face of Richard Gere. It’s not that I”m noisy, I’m just curious.

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.”


strawberry season


Conversation Number #4:

Chatting about parties in New York City…none of which I’ve attended.

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.”

 Restaurant dessert sampler

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.

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One Response to “An Unexpected Invitation”

  1. franca Says:

    Wonderful, as always. Tell Lapo I said hi!

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