Lunch: Dominick Dunne & A Surprise Page Six Lovefest

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We’re back! Fashion Week kept us away from our weekly visit to 55th & Fifth. Nothing much new to report there — the collections were, ahem, slightly underwhelming. The big news: Marc Jacobs actually started his show on time and received rave reviews. Coincidence? We think not. Anyway, back at the canteen for the cool kids, you’d never know a monsoon was brewing outside. The dining room, blooming with forsythias, was busier than ever with captains of industry, social swans, fashion folk and a smattering of media mavens were celebrating this and that. It was air kisses all around. Life as it should be for the town car set.

I was thrilled when my pal, the tireless Dominick Dunne, stopped to chat with me at the bar. Last week, he had regaled me with tales of the Princess Diana inquest while we waited for the Carolina Herrera show to begin. Today, I congratulated him on his cameo in Doris and Bernard, HBO’s compulsively watchable take on the relationship between tobacco heiress Doris Duke(played brilliantly by Susan Sarandon) and her enigmatic butler Bernard Lafferty (Ralph Fiennesin a performance sure to be remembered come next year’s Emmys). Dominick appears in two scenes with Hallmark honcho Henry Schleiff as Duke’s board members. (We first spilled the beans about the dynamic duo’s appearance in the film last year.

Dominick’s turn on the small screen is making headlines all over.
When Page Six‘s Richard Johnson rang up the other day, the intrepid chronicler of the rich and infamous feared the worst. “I thought, ‘Oh no, what now?'” Dominick told me. “They haven’t always been so great to me with the Condit lawsuit.” But his fears were quickly allayed when he learned The Post‘s guru of gossip simply wanted to check out Dominick’s connection to Bernard Lafferty who he used to see regularly at Elizabeth Taylor‘s house during the OJ Simpson trial. The resulting — positive! — item is on Page Six today. “I was so relieved,” says Dominick. “It was great fun doing the movie. I enjoyed it.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Happy Birthday! Alex Hitz celebrating with pals Liz Smith, adman extraordinaire Peter Rodgers, New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia, Vanity Fair‘s Amy Fine Collins and Brooke Duchin.

2. William Lauder and a distinguished mustachioed gent.

3. Michael S. Wolf & Terri Santisi; Second seating: Terry Allen Kramer.

4. Dominick Dunne, attorney Michael Griffith and a late-arriving, dark-haired gal.


5. Howard Rubenstein, who patiently awaited the arrival of his guest.

6. Town & Country‘s Pamela Fiore with Armani‘s Wanda McDaniel, Christian Leone and Roberta Armani (niece of Giorgio) who was feted last night at the designer’s Madison Avenue store in celebration of her appearance on the cover of the new book, Inheriting Beauty.

7. Lanky Luke Janklow & novelist Plum Sykes.

8. Legendary photog named Jean, so we’re told …

9. Cynthia Lewis.

11. Bobby Friedman, who actually got up and hugged Dick Parsons as the big guy made his way to the Garden Room. Turns out Dick “loves it back there,” says a staffer. His regular table: No. 45. So take that all you strivers!

12. Christine Lategano-Nicholas and Seth Rothman.

14. A very youthful-looking Jane Pauley (loved the short ‘do!) and a smiling Jackie Leo.

15. Publisher’s Weekly‘s Sara Nelson and a mystery gent …

16. Charles Koppelman.

17. Judy Price and Gabrielle Hirn of Le Hotel Bristol in Paris.

18. CBS spinmeister Gil Schwartz, Harper Collins’ David Hirshey and Matt Hiltzik talking about …?

20. Two well-dressed gals no one seemed to know …

21. Paul Caine.

22. Jean Norden.

23. Steve Greenberg.

24. Ken Wessel of Wessel Fragrances.

26. Jason Rapp.

27. “The young Gerry Byrne.”

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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