On The Avenue

New York Stories: Boaz Mazur with a “Zonked” Liz Taylor

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Boaz Mazur, Executive at Large, Oscar de la Renta:

It was the year of the bicentennial: 1976. I was all alone in town, but Diana Vreeland told me, “I will take care of you.” I got an invitation for drinks at Mrs. Vreeland’s apartment and then dinner at Regine’s, the nightclub at the Regency Hotel that had just opened. I arrived at 550 Park Avenue where Mrs. Vreeland lived, and Yvonne, the maid, greeted me, saying, “Madame is not ready yet.” The famous vodka and peanuts and crudités were ready to nibble on. Twenty minutes later, Mrs. Vreeland breezed into the wonderful red room and said, “I just wanted to tell you, it’s not a grand quelque chose, but Elizabeth Taylor is coming with John Warner,” the former secretary of the Navy. They had apparently met the night before and clicked.

The bell rang and in came John Warner, looking like a movie star, Elizabeth Taylor—who looked slightly pudgy, I thought, in a shimmery Halston organza jumpsuit—and Halston himself, looking very dapper in a white suit. We were having drinks when John Warner tried to get close to Elizabeth Taylor. By mistake, he dropped his drink on her. She scolded him, saying, “Oh, you peasant, you don’t even know how to drink properly, you farmer . . . ” (John Warner had this wonderful huge estate in Virginia). Then she said, “Halston, can you help me clean myself up?” The two of them went into the bathroom, and stayed for a while. Twenty minutes or so went by and Mrs. Vreeland said, “We better check on those lovey doveys, Regine is waiting for us.”

The two of them came out of the bathroom looking very happy, very high, like they were on another planet. Halston put his hand in my hand and said, “If you want some, there is something for you also,” and I noticed there was a little bottle. I said, “I’m not a prude, but I am the date of Mrs. Vreeland tonight and don’t think I can handle both.”

We went around the block to the Regency Hotel in a limousine, and were greeted by Regine. We sat down and the music started. After a few minutes, John Warner asked Elizabeth Taylor to dance in honor of the bicentennial. He was holding her when she just slid out of his arms and fell flat on the floor—she was so zonked.

It was just the beginning of the paparazzi, and some photographers took pictures, but Regine did not allow any press in the club in those days. I’m told that the story of the night Elizabeth Taylor fell on the floor at Regine’s will be in Regine’s book, which just came out in French. It’s coming out in English soon, too.


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