George Christy Talks About Meryl Streep, Chanel, Joan Crawford, Feud and more
Such a shame.
That Meryl Streep, among our leading actresses, and Karl Lagerfeld, a Paris couturier for the ages, are at odds.
They got off on the wrong footings, when Meryl could – and should – have used Karl’s designing genius for Oscar night. Her awards wardrobes continue to be Very Mother of the Bride, even Grandmother of the Bride.
Karl claims he had designed her Oscar night gown, with Meryl requesting minor modifications with his sketches, which he was delighted to do.
Until one of Meryl’s reps called out of the blue and asked Karl to quit creating the Chanel couture, which was being created for her gratis. Another top designer not only was giving her the freebie but payment, as well.
Karl branded her “cheap.” Appalled that a Chanel gift wasn’t enough.
The Meryl Streep staff leapt into damage control, with Meryl declaring “Karl lied.”
Chanel muzzled Karl, insisting the matter be dropped instantly.
We can’t imagine Karl, whom we’ve known through the years lying about a situation as sensitive as this. We lunched in L.A. with him and Vogue’s editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, met in Paris and in Monte Carlo.
Nor can we imagine Meryl making such a demand. But we wouldn’t be surprised if an eager-beaver staffer or two took it on themselves to score points with their adored client.
Something fishy here. Of course, it’s true that red-carpet wardrobes cost thousands of dollars — thousands! — worn during the award shows they are created gratis. Is it also true that some P.R. folks, on occasion, suggest payment.
Will we ever know what happened? Doubtful, and a pity that a major actress has been alienated from a great designer, who would do her couture justice, which she deserves.
On another planet from long ago, we were welcomed at the door of her penthouse at 2 East 70th St. in New York, where she lived with her last husband Alfred Steele, the Pepsi Cola tycoon.
The manservant asked that we remove our shoes and enter in our stockinged feet. Which we did, and found the same, as well, with the other guests.
The white-carpeted, duplex-sized living room was furnished with white couches and accessorized with pillows in lemon and orange silk. Couches and pillows were covered in sturdy plastic.
Drinks were served, and in time we heard high heels slowly clicking down the stairway.
Joan Crawford beamed, looking every which way the glamorous star that she was.
Petite, slim-boned and with those fetching eyes that were glued on you when she spoke.
We’d written about her beauty and talent in Town & Country magazine. Liking what we wrote, she dropped us a thank-you on her famous Tiffany-blue stationary.
She promised a dinner soon, this being that night.
Explaining that while living in California during her movie goddess era, she’d fallen in love with the youthful décor of the Golden State, consequently the white couches, white carpet, etcetera.
After guests wondered about taking our shoes off, she showed us the soles of her heels, which had been scrubbed clean. Immaculate to a fault. Scrubbed after every time she stepped outdoors. We were invited into her boudoir where she nodded to her wall racks of shoes, all scrubbed clean by her housekeeper. Commenting that New York streets were quite dirty, and that she loved being “clean, clean, clean.”
She begged us to taste her martini recipe. We quickly indicated approval. Could we tell what was different? Umm and umm.
Finally, she chuckled. Instead of mixing Noily Prat vermouth with the vodka, she used Pepsi Cola. “So let’s make our next martinis with Pepsi,” she said. Ever the charming saleslady.
We dined at the Golden Coin on Second Avenue, an upscale Chinese restaurant. Asking us to sit beside her, she smiled that “we must get to know each other better.”
Before dinner, she lifted a silver flask from her crocodile handbag, placing it near her chopsticks.
When our server arrived to take drinks order, she explained, “I only drink 100-proof vodka – yours is 80-proof — so please charge me for every drink I pour, will you, please?”
Fond memories sparked by this week’s debut episode of Ryan Murphy’s riveting Feud, a revisit of that 1962 campy noir classic, Whatever Ever Happened To Baby Jane directed by Bob Aldrich. The limited FX series stars Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis, another country far removed from Joan’s. We’ll deal with our Bette experiences in a future column.
Meanwhile, Babs (a.k.a. Barbra Streisand) is yapping about “gaining weight,” blaming this on her frustrations with our president. “Too many pancakes smothered in maple syrup.”