The American Academy in Rome’s gala; more on the Russell Crowe-Danielle Spencer merger; Jude and Sadie make up; Cornelia comes home.

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Mercedes Bass

Photo By WWD Staff

The American Academy in Rome is a famously esteemed and cherished refuge for American artists, writers, composers, musicians, architects and professors of all talented stripes. There, in the beautiful Villa Aurelia high on a Roman hill surrounded by millions of flowers, these fortunate few are free to peacefully hone and polish their gifts among their peers. It is one swell place.

The Academy’s Board of Trustees is impressive — Michael Sovern is its chairman and the decorative and cultivated Adele Chatfield-Taylor is its president, and each year, Sid and Mercedes Bass, the Fort Worth philanthropist and his stunningly fashionable wife, underwrite a grand dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street that lures the glitterati, the culturati and those who bask in their proximity. It is the Academy’s primary fundraiser.

This year’s dinner honored Great American Composers and Their Music — Elliott Carter, who received the Centennial Medal, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland, all associated at one time with AAR. The renowned violinist, Robert McDuffie, played selections from each composer. The honorary chairmen of the evening were, of course, the Italian ambassador to the U.S., Sergio Vento, and Giorgio Radicati, Italy’s consul general in New York, and in the crowd, such stars and satellites could be seen as Lord and Lady Black (she is the ever-alluring Barbara Amiel, he is the newspaper tycoon), Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, John Guare (the renowned playwright who is married to Adele Chatfield-Taylor), Anna Wintour and Shelby Bryan, Annette and Oscar de la Renta, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Doda Voridis of Athens in caramel-colored charmeuse and pearls (such pearls!), Jan Cowles, Barbara Goldsmith, Mica Ertegun, Fernanda Kellogg, Catie and Donald Marron, Duane Hampton, Liz and Damon Mezzacappa, Boaz Mazor, Georgette Mosbacher in black satin and paillettes, Wendy and Bill Luers, John Richardson, Kenneth Jay Lane and on and on into the night.

Sick of the Russell Crowe-Danielle Spencer wedding overkill? Well, stick around for a little more. Russell is all gladiator and nobody’s fool. Word from Australia has it that he and blushing bride Danielle signed a prenuptial agreement before they went to Milan to meet Giorgio Armani and try on their wedding outfits. It is said Danielle is guaranteed a minimum of $15 million if she stays married to Russell for at least three years. In addition, there will be $3 million trust funds established for each of their children practically the moment they’re born, which might be happening sooner than you think, if Burnum Burnum, the aborigine witch doctor Russell brought in to perform an ancient fertility rite at their wedding on his ranch in Australia, has anything to do with it. Danielle will also get their new $8 million penthouse overlooking Sydney Harbor. But let’s let them get back from their honeymoon before we begin thinking about something so terribly crass as money, shall we?
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