They were the apotheosis of tabloid newsprint as they clasped each other amid the ebbing gentility of Mortimer’s. The former Ivana Trump Mazzucchelli, in a racy black number, was whispering into the ear of actress Joan Collins, who was clad in an aggressively white suit.
A man nursing a drink watched as the photographers fired away at the image. “That’s the black and white of today,” he said, swirling the ice cubes in his glass. Swirling around him were the usual suspects of Manhattan’s fall social season: Nan Kempner, who had trouble air-kissing her friends because of a twiglike contraption that she was wearing in her hair; Pat Buckley; and the dourly countenanced Glen Bernbaum, owner of Mortimer’s, who after hugging Ms. Collins, monitored the crowd over the tops of his eyeglasses.
The actress peered out from beneath her world-class bouffant, batted her long lashes and said that she had worn white to this party in honor of her new memoir, Second Act , because “I like to be the last rose of summer.” But, as anyone who has read the book would know, Ms. Collins did not want her uniform to be interpreted as some sort of statement of virtue. “Oh, I want to be a devil,” she told The Transom in a theatrical voice.
Then, as if to prove it, she motioned in the direction of Italian socialite Count Roffredo Gaetani, who is the current beau of the former Mrs. Trump, simply known as Ivana. Mr. Gaetani is four years younger than Ivana, according to her spokeswoman. Which would make him 44-although other published accounts put his age in the neighborhood of 42.
“So this is Ivana’s man?” Ms. Collins asked, the tiniest hint of a leer in her eyes.
The Transom asked her for an appraisal.
“Not bad,” said the former Alexis Carrington. “Better than the last two.”
Told that many in the room were dying to know what she and Ivana were whispering, Ms. Collins smiled. “Men talk,” she said.
Nearby, a waiter offered a tray of crisp bacon strips that had been coated in a caramelized substance. It was the perfect hors d’oeuvre for the evening: A desiccated core dressed in cloying sweetness, at once irresistible and slightly lethal.
Mr. Gaetani stood at the bar of Mortimer’s. Even though this was his crowd, he did not seem to be relishing the new attention coming his way. He had been in this situation once before. Several years ago, Mr. Gaetani had come to the defense of the model Carré Otis at a time when she was having relationship troubles with the actor Mickey Rourke. Mr. Rourke had crashed Vogue magazine’s 100th-anniversary party in 1992, which Ms. Otis attended. When things got ugly between them, Mr. Gaetani stepped in to aid Ms. Otis. Two years later, Mr. Gaetani, an accomplished pugilist, challenged Mr. Rourke to a boxing match. Alas, the gossip columnists were denied the opportunity of seeing the socialite punch out the lights of the actor, although Mr. Gaetani did assert that when Mr. Rourke “hears my name, he quivers like a dog in a storm.”
Perhaps Mr. Gaetani remembered this moment in the limelight as The Transom asked him what had brought him and Ivana together. “The Red Cross Ball in the South of France,” he almost mumbled.
His reluctance to talk provided plenty of opportunity for Oscar de La Renta executive Boaz Mazor, the man once dubbed the “snake-hipped socialite” by the New York Post ‘s Page Six, to provide some color.
Mr. Mazor explained that approximately six years ago, he had taken the former Mrs. Trump to a Beach Boys concert in Manhattan, where they had sat a row in front of Mr. Gaetani. The next day, Mr. Mazor said that the Count contacted him to say he was “crazy about this girl.”
Mr. Mazor recounted that he gave Mr. Gaetani Ivana’s address and that the Italian sent her flowers. But then Mr. Mazor smiled one of his rubbery smiles and said that, unfortunately, “She had so many flowers from so many men, she don’t remember him.”
Mr. Mazor laughed, Ivana smiled and Mr. Gaetani winced. Over at the doorway to the restaurant, Pat Buckley greeted Blaine and Robert Trump as they entered the party. “Roberto, how’s your steam shovel?” Ms. Buckley asked. “What are you steam-shoveling?”
“Anything I want to,” replied Mr. Trump.
Wenner Takes All?
Not long after Rolling Stone co-owner Jann Wenner left his wife and business partner, Jane Wenner, for Calvin Klein design executive Matt Nye, friends of the estranged couple were predicting that for reasons both financial and personal, the Wenners would continue to live separate lives but not divorce.
They were wrong. According to papers filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Jane Wenner initiated divorce proceedings against her husband on Feb. 19. She wants custody of the children, with visitation rights given to “the defendant,” Mr. Wenner. She is also seeking a declaration of the parties’ marital and separate property and exclusive occupancy of the couple’s marital homes in Manhattan, the Hamptons and elsewhere. It appears that Ms. Wenner wants to keep the couple’s town house on West 70th Street, where she and their children are living; she also wants their 8,000-square-foot Further Lane house in the Hamptons, valued, according to real estate sources, at between $15 million and $20 million. Mr. Wenner and Mr. Nye are staying in Sting’s place on Central Park West while they renovate a three-story house on West 74th Street. A source close to the situation said that Mr. Wenner would probably keep the spread that he and Ms. Wenner bought in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The Wenners’ divorce proceedings, far from being a media circus, have been handled with a great degree of secrecy. At some point, the case was retitled Anonymous v. Anonymous, an option that is available for divorce-court litigants in New York State. (Ronald Perelman’s and Patricia Duff’s divorce case also bears the same heading.) And rather than serve Mr. Wenner with the divorce action in some dramatic way, Ms. Wenner’s attorney, Jay Silverstein, wrote to Mr. Wenner’s lawyer, Carl Tunick, in an almost sorry-to-have-to-trouble-you-with-this tone: “Please check with Jann and if he consents, accept service of the enclosed summons on Jann’s behalf.” If Mr. Wenner did not consent, of course, Mr. Silverstein wrote, “we will proceed to personally serve Jan [sic] tomorrow. However, we would much prefer not having to do this for the sake of all concerned.” Mr. Wenner appears to have consented.
The legal dissolution has been conducted with such discretion that some friends expressed surprise at the news that Ms. Wenner had filed divorce proceedings. Indeed, that the Wenners would get divorced at all comes as a shock because, they said, the couple’s lucrative Wenner Media empire, which they co-founded, is tied up in a number of complicated trusts that could prove difficult to untangle and divide.
Furthermore, relations between Mr. and Ms. Wenner seem to have reached a friendly stasis. The couple recently posed for photographers, with their two sons, at a benefit for Phoenix House. Mr. Nye is also said to have assimilated quite well into the potentially volatile tangle of relationships and to have grown close to the Wenner children.
Reached by phone, Ms. Wenner told The Transom she had “nothing to say” about the matter. Her attorney Mr. Silverstein also declined to comment. Through his spokeswoman, Mr. Wenner declined to comment.
The Transom Also Hears
… Perhaps it was all that British insouciance ricocheting around Balthazar on Oct. 3 that led The Transom to believe that it was O.K. to be flippant with R.E.M. singer-songwriter Michael Stipe. Mr. Stipe had attended Anna Wintour’s premiere party for director Danny Boyle’s A Life Less Ordinary and he seemed to be in a good mood as he danced in a small group with the film’s co-star Cameron Diaz and Eve Mavrakis, the wife of actor Ewan McGregor. But when The Transom asked Mr. Stipe if perpetual teenager Jane Pratt had him on retainer to help promote her new magazine, Jane , the rocker flipped The Transom the bird and walked away.
… Last summer, Henry Kissinger’s dog was bitten by a rat in the lobby of his home, the stately River House co-op on East 52nd Street. That’s what several sources in the privacy-obsessed riverfront building say. Mr. Kissinger’s assistant, when asked for a comment, told The Observer , “I can pretty much assure you that that sounds ridiculous and untrue,” but he never called back with a definitive answer. Mr. Kissinger’s co-op neighbors include former Self magazine editor Alexandra Penney; the building’s board famously turned down Gloria Vanderbilt and Richard Nixon. Before the F.D.R. Drive got in the way, River House featured docks for yachts out back. So maybe it was a wharf rat that bit the former Secretary of State’s dog.