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Like a giant swarm of chic bees in beaded frocks and black tie, they buzzed into the Waldorf’s Astor and Jade Salons in search of nectar — OK, make that cocktails. Then they swarmed out again and into a great pink and white hive, the hotel’s Grand Ballroom decorated to its top tiers in an explosion of flowers and balloons and silver streamers and such, for what was called the Soiree Bouquet. It was the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s party of the year, a great success, social and otherwise — the otherwise being more than $3 million raised for the cause, which has been Evelyn Lauder’s baby since its birth. She, its founder and always its vibrant mentor.
The stars were out. Elizabeth Hurley in white that cling, clang, clung was the mistress of ceremonies and Lionel Richie, a one-man rock concert, entertained after dinner, bringing down the house and raising it to its feet all at the same time, including First Lady Libby Pataki in a black and diamond necklace, who really grooved to Lionel. And then there was Sir Elton John, the one and only, who, in a duet with Richie, whipped up the frenzy. I love to see a rich crowd having fun, don’t you?
Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s ran the auction, which drew big bids for tea with Hurley, acting lessons with Kevin Kline, two pairs of Elton John’s sunglasses and, listen to this, $31,000 for an intimate dinner for 10 to be given at home by Evelyn and Leonard Lauder with Evelyn doing the cooking. It was bought by Cindy Spengler. It was Evelyn’s recipe, by the way, that the Waldorf’s chefs used to make the entrée at dinner: salmon cooked with rice wine vinegar, ginger, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, a whisper of garlic and a soupçon of sugar. (No skin, please, we’re gourmets.) The dish is called Salmon Saint Nelida after the Lauders’ beloved cook because, says Evelyn, "Nelida is her name and she’s a saint."
You really should know that Evelyn was dressed for the evening in an off-the-shoulder black beaded and fringed top by Ralph Lauren and black chiffon trousers by Giorgio Armani. Very fetching. Oh, and she’s letting her hair grow and has a new ’do. You’ll love it. In the crowd wearing pink ribbons, the insignia of the foundation, were Princess Olga of Greece, co-chairmen Sir Evelyn and Lady de Rothschild in strapless black-and-white beads, Cornelia Guest, Karen and William Lauder, Ingrid Sischy, Sandy Brant, Vera Wang, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, the chairman of the Medical Advisory Board Dr. Larry Norton, pretty Phoebe Cates and hundreds of others — too blue ribbon and pink ribbon — to mention.