Versailles turned into an almost week-long event that was bookend by glamorous and competing parties. Kickstarting the revelry was a dinner hosted by the owner of the swanky Colony Club on Sunday, followed the next day by Norton-Simon’s takeover of Maxim’s (the conglomerate had just purchased Halston’s business) in honor of Liza Minnelli (who disallowed photographers inside the restaurant). Closing it was Baron de Redé’s dinner ostensibly in honor of Kay Thompson, who had already left Paris. (Gossip columnist Suzy dubbed his party “Versailles Mouthwash,” as “someone said it took the bad taste of all the bickering surrounding the Versailles Follies out of all those beautiful, bee-stung mouths.”) Simmering below guests’ tuxedos, smooth statins, and sparkling jewels were anxieties aplenty.
“Some are calling it American week in Paris, and others the Versailles Follies…. Whatever the label, it is definitely not just the historic French-American fashion show that it started out to be. Maxim’s at luncheon is a gossip columnist’s paradise…. What started out as a simple enough plan to put top French and American fashion together in a single show to benefit the Versailles Restoration Fund, but at the moment has become a boiling pot of fuels, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, jockeying for position, and rumors.
— “Americans Party in Paris,” by Eugenia Sheppard. Los Angeles Times, December 5, 1972.
“Giving the fashion caravan the air of an opera melodrama are the prima donna designers who were invited, others who weren’t, and several who claimed they declined their invitations.”
— “Five of the Country’s Top Designers…,” by Bill Cunningham. Chicago Tribune, November 26, 1973.
“Last night’s party at Maxims had everything going for it: money, stars, society and intrigue. The place was closed to the outside world for the first time in 16 years—a little gesture that can be bought for $13,000, which is roughly what it costs to entertain some 200 guests. The host, David J. Mahoney, who looks like a matinee idol but is chairman of Norton Simon Inc., gave the party ostensibly Liza Minnelli, who is starring, free of charge, in the Franco-American gala tomorrow at Versailles.”
— “Fashion in Paris: Money, Stars, Society and Intrigue at a Party,” by Hebe Dorsey/ The International Herald Tribune, November 28, 1973.
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