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LIZ SMITH: Memories of The Greatest ...

Bob Kerrey, Ann Richards, Bill Clinton, Liz Smith, and Joe Armstrong in 2001. Photo: JH.
Memories of The Greatest Gov. of Texas — The Unforgettable Ann Richards ... A Fabulous Fashion Behemoth — the Bergdorf Goodman Magazine!

Thursday, March 7, 2013
by Liz Smith

I AM a deeply religious non-believer. This is a somewhat new kind of religion. I am of the opinion that all the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling. I also believe that this kind of religiousness ... is the only creative religious activity of our time.”

That was Albert Einstein.
THE NEW play about the late Governor of Texas — Ann Richards — opens tonight at the Vivian Beaumont theater in Lincoln Center.

This columnist’s longtime friend, the actress Holland Taylor, not only wrote the show about the startling and rambunctious Ms. Ann, an unusual liberal Democratic leader, but Holland is starring in her own work.

Ann Richards Memorial 2006 Austin, Texas: Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Howard Dean, Liz Smith, Joe Armstrong, Sen. Hilary Clinton, ands writer Bud Shrake.
Her many admirers from her outstanding TV and theater work will be there to cheer her on and segue on to the Plaza Hotel for the party after. The Austin contingent will be there in full force and Ann’s two sons and two daughters, one of whom (Cecile) is the head of Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, two photographs I’d never seen before have turned up. The first (at the top of the column — taken by JH himself) shows Ann being welcomed to New York at a party in Le Cirque
(She arrived here only days after 9/11 and spent the last five years of her life happily conquering NYC.)

In the photo a radiant Ann is with the New School’s Bob Kerrey, President Bill Clinton, and her hosts media man Joe Armstrong and Liz. Oh, how happy we were showing our Ann from Texas to all our friends. Everybody wanted to meet Ann, especially after she’d made her “Poor George ... silver foot in his mouth” speech at the Democratic Convention. (Joe and I became very popular for a few moments there because of Ann.)

The other photo (above, right) shows a group of very sad souls who were trying to smile after Ann’s memorial in Austin in 2006. We are — Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu ... Democrat Howard Dean ... Liz ... Joe ... the then Senator Hillary Clinton ... and writer Bud Shrake, the love of Ann’s life. (He is now buried beside her in Austin.)

We were holding fans with Ann’s photo on them and this was her idea that everybody should “stay cool and smile.”
THE BRIDGE to somewhere? Palm Beach is connected to West Palm Beach by the Flagler Memorial Bridge. There are two other bridges — called the South and the North. (Just like in the Civil War)

They were threatening to close the Flagler, which is badly in need of repairs. So elitists, the people who don’t have to bother to read the prices on menus, rushed to get out of town before that could happen. This was a mini crisis as it made “the season” end early.

The Flagler Bridge is still use-able even though now they work on it when they can. This is the story of everywhere in America; infrastructure is crumbling but nobody wants to wait while it is fixed and some people don’t even bother to worry about fixing it.
THE BERGDORF Goodman magazine may be one of the most breath-taking pieces of fashion journalism ever to appear. It is hard to hold, almost impossible to read, but the advertisements and its photo shoots are just incredible.

I particularly liked a piece by the very literate former French Vogue editor Joan Juliet Buck where she strolled down memory lane with her passion for famous brand names. Here’s a little sample from Joan after college although she doesn’t say what year:

“The New York fashion people wore all kinds of new names. Long narrow WASP feet wore something called the Navajo Sandal by someone named Jack Rogers who was not to be confused with Jackie Rogers, a former Chanel model with a combination boutique and barbershop in the East Sixties, who sold botanically accurate printed clothes by a Milan — based American named Ken Scott.

“The grande dames of New York — a breed thinner than their London counterparts — wore the brilliant costume jewelry of Kenneth Jay Lane, the father of the irresistible baby-pink and pale-blue rhinestone Maltese cross. He also made bangles that looked like bamboo, and wide cuffs thick with enamel, which evoked the real-jewelry bracelets of David Webb.”

This reminds me of once accompanying Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on an actual shopping expedition to David Webb. She selected handfuls of expensive bracelets and other things she had no need of, just to irritate her husband. It was all in good fun and made good copy, but that’s another story.

Back to Bergdorf, although I seldom go in there because I don’t shop anymore, I love love love their windows at 5th Avenue and 58th. My only critique is of the so-called “men’s” clothes advertised and shown in this issue. They are truly frightening and I simply can’t believe that anyone, except a paid model, would wear them.

But then, I am old-fashioned.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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