|The Academy Awards Night, Hollywood’s own religious holiday has been an event of national, even international interest for many many years, although in the past decade or more, it has flourished and blossomed into a national tourist destination — for people who either are in the entertainment business, or would like to be in the entertainment business, or even wannabe a wannabe, who descend on Los Angeles for, if nothing else, a ride down Sunset with the top down, and the ultimate Hollywood Party.
One such party is given annually by Nicolas Berggruen, a familiar figure in New York, London, Paris, etc. Mr. Berggruen, who has his own billion dollar business called Berggruen Holdings, is a son of the late Heinz Berggruen, one of the most successful international art dealers of the 20th century.
Among his artists was a woman named Frida Kahlo, with whom he had an affair. After the war back in Paris, he was introduced to Pablo Picasso by Tristan Tzara, the Rumanian writer, one of the founders of the Dada movment. This introduction led to a very profitable association for both artist and dealer. At one point Mr. Berggruen owned 130 Picassos. In 2000 he sold his collection to Berlin’s State Museums for $120 million – actually a bargain price. Twelve years before he donated 90 works by Paul Klee to the Met here in New York.
Nicolas is one of two sons of his father’s second wife Bettina Moissi. His business takes him all over the world but, at this particular time of year, like so many others, he wants to be in Hollywood.
For the party, Berggruen took over the Chateau Marmont, and invited about 500. His guest list is considered one of the great mixes for Hollywood – pretty people, stars, goodlooking girls, power players. It “wasn’t very industry,” in the words of one guest, “but more of a social list; not being so uptight.” It started at 9 pm and went until about two – very late for L.A.
|Leven Rambin and Cameron Richardson|
|Last week Manhattan’s indefatigable, peripatetic, ubiquitous photographer of (almost) all things social was in Los Angeles – Hollywood to you kids – where Leviev, the international jeweler, hosted a party for him and his latest photographic anthology, “Glamour Girls.”
The Sunset Tower, for you movie buffs, opened its door in 1931 as an apartment house (known as the Sunset Towers Apartments). And it was gluh-morous – as in “Glamour Girls” roaming the corridors, behind almost every door. The pitter-patter of some of the most glamorous film personalities, many of the immortals of the silver screen lived or lived it up at the Sunset Towers.
Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, the Gabors, Paulette Goddard. Howard Hughes kept rooms there for his whatevers. John “Duke” Wayne once occupied the penthouse for his whatevers. Sinatra, even Bugsy Siegel could be found at the Sunset Towers. Raymond Chandler wrote about it in “Farewell My Lovely” and “Murder, My Sweet."
The Sunset Tower has had more than one incarnation in the past 77 years, including most recently as the Argyle Hotel and before that as the St. James’s Club (private club in the 1980s). However, it took a New Yorker, or now, I guess, a former New Yorker, Jeff Klein to restore and infuse those old bones of Hollywood glamour with some spit’n polish and the service and style that makes it the destination that it is today.
|So, if you’re wondering why Leviev and Patrick McMullan teamed up there ...? You need to ask now?|
|Photographs by ©PatrickMcMullan.com|