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Midsummer Magic

Never saw a month so filled with parties. Parties for newlyweds, for “visiting royalty” and “visiting firemen.” The festivities furnished good excuses for the stars to show off their newest and gayest frocks.

Just before Sir Charles Mendl left Glamourtown to rush to the bedside of his very ill Lady Elsie, he dinnered in honor of the Clark Gables, who, besides spending weeks in Honolulu and then secluding themselves at Clark’s farmhouse in the San Fernando Valley, waited weeks longer before making the “Hollywood rounds” of parties or night clubs. Evelyn Keyes, with her hair blonder than ever, Otto Preminger, Rhonda Fleming, Charles Brackett, Bob Coote, the Donald Nelsons, Dru Mallory, popular Harry Crocker, were among the guests at the table besides the Mike Romanoffs. And this time, instead of cute and well-dressed Gloria Romanoff taking the spotlight, it was Mike who got the glare. He came to the party in an almost bright green dinner coat to match the famous green and white decor of the Mendl Home!

Sylvia Gable was wearing a very low-cut, strapless, black net evening gown and a necklace of two almost choker length strands of round diamonds. The stones graduated in size, but we’d bet that the smallest ones, at the back, are at least three carats each. She’s had ’em for years. Clark amused a small group by telling about his very first movie job. It was in the old Lon Chaney film, “The Phantom of the Opera,” and Clark said that in the scene where Chaney drops a huge chandelier on a theater audience, he and Don Alvarado, playing extras in the film, rushed to get under the contraption, figuring they just might get a close-up by being part of the wreckage!

Now then, if you think Romanoff’s green tux is a gasp, don’t faint when we tell you that Zachary Scott has been showing up at dressier occasions in a red plaid dinner jacket! No kidding! At this point let’s tell you about something else that’s been showing up at dressy todo’s and anytime from morn till night—pleats! All kinds, offering opportunities to vary the silhouette at every turn, with every kind of texture and color and style. Joan Bennett has a shadow-printed turquoise silk shantung that can go anywhere from brunch to midnight supper, and while her dress is simple and not pleated, the exquisite hip-length coat of deep violet faille is pleated—tiny knife-pleats. Even the full sleeves are a mass of billowing pleats!

Prince Bernadotte (of the Netherlands) got in Dutch with a lot of Hollywood people who had planned on entertaining him, because he only went to three parties during his visit to Film-town (two were publicized and one wasn’t), but the most lavish soiree in his honor was the dinner dance tossed by the Louis B. Mayers at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel’s Mayfair Room, commandeered for the night. The Prince had to leave early but told the guests, “Not all of you must work tomorrow, please stay on and enjoy yourselves.” And quite a few did. Sort of funny aftermath to that kind of an evening was finding Johnny Green at the piano, with Judy Garland, Dinah Shore (in a luscious, sea-foam green, ankle-length ball gown, with a low-cut bodice held up by shoe-string straps instead of those pesky “stays,” and accessoried by a delicate matching lace stole and shortie lace gloves), director Mervyn Le Roy, Claudette Colbert and a few more, all raising their voices in “harmony” to “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” as the dawn dawned!

There were parties galore for Sarah Churchill (Winston’s daughter), when she and Jeffrey Lynn opened with “The Philadelphia Story” in Los Angeles. There wasn’t exactly an exciting turnout for the opening night, but lots of gala stuff ensued in Sarah’s honor. One of the nicest was the supper party that the director Peter Godfrey gave. Among the guests were Barbara Stanwyck and Bob Taylor, the Ronnie Colmans, Barbara Bel Geddes, Rod Cameron, the Reggie Gardiners, Peter Lawford (pining out loud for Sharman Douglas).

Chinese lanterns and fantastic festoons of red paper decorations spotted the residence of Helen and Peter Rathvon (he’s the former head of RKO Studios), when they partied for Mrs. Bob Considine, back from a visit to the Orient.

Rathvon gave the guests a tip-off that they were going to have an exotic evening of it when they were greeted by a staff of Chinese gals in flowered kimonos. And even the host and hostess were wearing authentic ancient ceremonial robes of blue covered with jade-colored flowers, and Mrs. Rathvon wore flowers fashioned of real jade in her hair! The luscious buffet was catered by one of Hollywood’s newest food-purveyors, Peter Chang, who has opened a restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Ida Lupino and Collier Young were a twosome for this affair, but it doesn’t mean a thing. They’ll probably have “gotten together” just for the purpose of seeing a divorce court judge by the time you read this. Joan Fontaine, composer Lieth Stevens, Harriet Parsons, Allene Roberts, among the many there. Allene’s semiformal dance frock was a lemon-colored lace affair, with a very pinched-in waist, very full skirt, over a black slip! Above the narrow belt of black velvet was a camisole-top bodice. Black satin pumps, gloves and a tiny black elbow-length cape-let of black satin completed this unique and charming outfit.

Caught Betty Hutton and her big crush Bob Sterling laughing it up at La Rue, and Betty’s dress was a two-piece job, semi-dressy. Fashioned of cocoa silk crepe, it had a shirtwaist top with a wide, tailored yoke, instead of the typical collar you’d expect. The skirt was a mere thirteen inches from the ground, pencil slim and even clinging, because the silk was triple accordion “permanent” pleated. The only trimming, outside of a narrow brown velvet belt, was the collar and cuff combination of deep, bright blue linen. (Dreamy color scheme, huh?) What’s more, Betty is so nuts for pleats, that she had Paramount’s Edith Head design her a gorgeous gown of white lace for the premiere of “Annie Get Your Gun,” the Hutton’s biggest and best, yet. The gown is dead chalk white, but filmy, full and floor-length, with a strapless, slightly draped top. But the lace skirt over two skirts of white chiffon, plus a moderately full underslip of white taffeta, flaunts a million pleats! You can make a bet that Betty will be the toast of Hollywood and points east when “Annie” gets around. And the whole thing has given the gal a yen to go back to Broadway and wow ’em as the star of a stage musical.

If you want to know about a really cute gimmick, a gift that will give your boyfriend, husband, sweetheart, or even your brother a big kick, it’s the gift that John Derek’s spouse had made for him, just for a gag, but, by golly, it’s so practical and handy for “excuses.” Its a huge white linen handkerchief, with a big red linen You don’t get it? Well, with a hanky like this, a gent can remove lipstick without smearing the kerchief, or shall we say, being detected?





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