I wanted to go to Paris to see my mother before Christmas, since I was not going to be there at the time. I had planned Christmas shopping but our national idol, the singer Johnny Hallyday, passed away and there was a major funeral. All of the city was practically shut down and two former presidents and
Emmanuel Macron attended the mass at the Madeleine church. So, no shopping before leaving!
I also planned a couple of days in London to see the beautiful ballet dancer
Sergei Polunin perform at the London Coliseum. The performance was a little disappointing. Polunin is gorgeous, but the choreography was not. I wished he had done some more interesting work to showcase himself. I love staying at The Ritz hotel in Piccadilly, it is so old-fashioned, lovely, and cozy, and there’s no “we are more stars than customers attitude”! The first night I went to my absolute favorite restaurant in London: the River Café. It is so delicious, and I love the setting with the red oven in the room.
Ruth Rogers, the owner, was there and I had a little chat with her. Talk about a restaurateur who knows how to run a place. It’s still in after all these years and shows in every way.
Back in New York I had so many Christmas parties planned, as well as the screening of Black and White Stripes: The Juventus Story. It’s a documentary about the soccer team that Gianni Agnelli owned. It’s really fun to watch, with all the family stories and the fights with
Silvio Berlusconi, who owned the AC Milan team. My son-in-law,
Cody Darbe, did the music, supervised by
Ennio Morricone. We presented the film with
F. Murray Abraham —I loved him, he is such a gentleman. I also saw one of The Post screenings, which I thought was very good. However,
Tom Hanks does not have Ben Bradlee’s charm. Who does?!
Johnny Pigozzi’s Christmas party is a fun tradition, super-glamorous, with all beautiful women, movie stars, and multi-talented guests in attendance. But it was his last one, since he is leaving his gorgeous apartment at the Hotel des Artistes building.
Miranda Brooks’s Christmas carols were very sweet with all the children singing in the garden around the fire. I even sang a French carol myself. She made a beautiful dinner afterward and we stayed for hours with my Brooklyn neighbor
Time for me to decamp to the Dominican Republic. It is so beautiful in Punta Cana and basically I read, watched all the Oscar movies, and did not swim or go in the sun since I got the flu as soon as I arrived! I loved Dunkirk and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.
Annette Bening is fantastic and made me cry. I went for New Year’s Eve to
Annette de la Renta. The house is beyond extraordinary and so was the caviar pie. Annette is without a doubt the hostess with the most-ess. I also visited my friend
Hamilton South, who just finished another gorgeous house of his. He had
Heather Watts and
Damian Woetzel staying. Damian has just been appointed as the new president of the Juilliard School. Talking about achievements in life, he has been a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, attended Harvard, and earned a master’s degree in public administration, was a lecturer at Harvard Law School, and served on Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Unreal! Not that I want to compare myself, but between Annette and Damian, I am not sure I dare to give dinners or speak ever again.
Aurélie Bidermann was staying at my hotel and we took yoga classes and did Pilates every morning under the palm trees, it was fabulous. I felt I should be healthy to brave 2018. I did not want to leave, but I did, to arrive back to the bitter cold here in New York.