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Some Enchanted Evenings

We’re right in the midst of the “opulence season.” The glitter spots along the Sunset Strip are jumping with capacity crowds these eves and the crowds here in the muchly publicized “informal West” seem to be doing a lot more dressing up. And not in a wild and woolly way, either.

The opera, plus its opera ball, at the new Embassy Room in the Ambassador certainly brought out the stars galore in their most lavish gowns. Loretta Young, in black velvet, was wearing a startling jewelled headdress to top things off; Ann Blythe (with Roddy McDowall) was small and svelte in blue satin—and Irene Dunne, too, was in pale blue satin. Diana Lynn looked like a doll in very pale pink satin. Ann Miller sported a new, small white mink cape and kept it on all evening. No one looked more lovely than Ava Gardner her hair swept up high all around, with long fan-shaped diamond and amethyst dangling earrings. Their color matched her pale lavender taffeta dress styled by Mainbocher, slimly draped but with big poufs of the silk at the hips.

Sally Forrest looked adorable at La Rue one night with Jerome Courtland. Her choice of the slim silhouette resulted in her little suit of black broadcloth, trimmed with Persian lamb. When its tight jacket (buttoned down one side seam) came off, there was really a dress beneath, for the black cloth straight skirt was attached to a lovely pale blue lame blouse.

During an unseasonable heat wave, Clark Gable gave a lot of beach belles a thrill just by staging a putting contest at the Bel Air Country Club. Then he went on to the charming outdoor luncheon that Charles Brackett gave at his Bel Air home. It was so hot that by the time luncheon was served, most of the guests had moved their gaily bedecked tables to shady but “uncharted” spots around the place and bewildered waiters spent a lot of time trying to figure out whom to serve and where. Joan Fontaine was very fetching in a two-toned pink raw-silk creation she picked up in Paris. Claudette Colbert managed to look cool in a semi-tailored dress of sheer pale gray wool.

However, winter is very much around and even when it’s mild out here in the semi-tropics during the day, you get to thinking about the evening firesides and what to wear when lounging in front of a crackling hearth. Hazel Brooks has a knockout lounging outfit comprised of a long-sleeved black wool jersey pullover, worn with ankle-banded Siamese trousers of a gleaming metallic brocade. You could get the same effect with any number of pullovers—plus turning the full skirt of any old once-elegant evening gown into a pair of such trousers.

Jane Wyman takes to plaid beside the fireplace, with a vividly patterned wool hostess robe that has a sweeping flange collar—so flattering. Jane fills in the gap of the wide collar with a gray silk scarf on which she fastens tiny jewelled pins.

Allene Roberts has a three-way outfit that really is an eye-catcher, and so practical, too. It’s basically a cocktail dress with a strapless bodice of beige embroidered in copper sequins. When its jacket of soft, almost. sheer light brown wool goes over it, it becomes a snappy suit for street wear. The slim wool skirt is of a slightly darker shade than the jacket—the all-over effect being three-toned as well as three-way.

Cesar Romero doesn’t often toss a shindig, but when he does, he shoots the works. This time, he gave a cocktail-through-dinner-through-dawn soiree in honor of Samuel Shellabarger, author of “Captain from Castille” and “Prince of Foxes.” Cesar may be playing in Shellabarger’s “King’s Cavalier” by the time you read this. For the author told “Butch” he wrote the main character with him in mind. Happily gathered ’round were Joan Crawford, Mark Stevens, Anne Baxter and John Hodiak, the Gary Coopers, Lex Barker. Hoagy Carmichael played the piano for a lot of “characters” who never sang before, to sing. But then, so did Judy Garland, who really knows what she’s singing.

Betty Grable and Harry James, Valli, Alice Faye and Phil Harris were among those who took a bow the night Sophie Tucker opened at Ciro’s. Tony Martin, with beautiful Cyd Charisse and Jack Briggs (strictly playing the field now), were among the ringsiders who almost fell apart laughing when pandemonium broke out later—pandemonium in the form of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, that is. They took to the floor with Sophie and a couple of the Ritz Brothers and practically broke the place up.



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