THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS BALL
January 17 · The Italian Ambassador's Residence
BY DONNA SHOR PHOTOS BY LUCIEN CAPEHART
THE EVENT: Diamond tiaras were trotted out for a once-a-year display at the posh International Red Cross Ball. Long the highlight of the Palm Beach social season, it's now returned to former glory after years of complaints, stay-aways and dissatisfaction with previous organizers. The gilded and glowing Grand Ballroom of Mar-a-Lago, once the legendary Marjorie Merriweather Post's estate, is now Donald Trump's private club. Fifty years ago the Washington-based Post cereal heiress began the tradition, aided by the late Garnett Stackelberg, of fl ying ambassadors down as the ball's special guests. Now the personal plane is Trump's 727, sometimes with The Donald on board.
THE GUESTS: Of the 450 ball goers, there were ambassadors and their wives from Malta, Afghanistan, Slovenia, Ecuador, Thailand and Finland (the latter brought three year-old Olivia and four month-old Julia, cheerful and quiet travelers); and the dashing bachelor ambassador of Qatar. Also in attendance was the dynamic magazine publisher and former ambassador to Finland, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the fi rst American Red Cross national chairman in memory to attend. She's credited with the ball's turnaround by her involvement and choice of co-chairmen William and Nancy Ellison Rollnick; he a former Mattel honcho (think Barbie); she a lauded photographer with books on opera and the ballet ... Peter Duchin's orchestra kept guests dancing until the last Rolls rolled away.