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GEORGE CHRISTY Gardner, and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. Scarlett lived as a free spirit that gave her an empowerment over men, and Ava Gardner knew who she was and what she wanted. Angelina Jolie’s sexy, but she’s too thin and so serious.

George Christy


hose borrowed clothes that actresses wear on the red carpet? It’s as if they’ve never worn a gown before. Most are ill-fitting … there’s no turn on.”

Designer Vicky Tiel is surrounded by models wearing her designs in the September 1, 1986 issue of People magazine. She has published her racy autobiography, It’s All About The Dress: What I Learned In Forty Years About Men, Women, Sex and Fashion.

Oh, the lives she’s lived,

and what wild times she’s had. An original Girl on the Go, the easier question about the designer Vicky Tiel is: who hasn’t she known? Hers is a life chockablock with living among the Who and the Who of Celebritydom. From Woody to Warren to Goldie to Coco to best friend Elizabeth and more.


icky lets everything hang out in her racy autobiography, It’s All About The Dress: What I Learned In 40 Years About Men, Women, Sex And Fashion. Published by St. Martin’s Press, she delivers a roller coaster ride of a read -her total recall stupefies. “In any town, in any club, in any port, or on any yacht, I was there, cocktail in hand.”


icky lit a fashion bonfire during the Swinging Sixties. Her eye-catching sexpot dresses were irresistible. Ahead of their time, with savvy Shirlee Fonda buying more than 60 of Vicky’s come-hither creations, and “keeps them all now on two racks at home … in the event Vicky opens her own museum. The fabric and craftsmanship are marvelous. Like couture.” Although not ageappropriate, as Shirlee says, for her to wear today.


hirlee and beau Rob Wolders joined Vicky, as did Chris Wilding, Sonia and George Segal, Lilly Reeves and Barbara Davis, at the fannybumper book party Carole Wells Doheny hosted in her condominium building’s party room. Shirlee loved Carole’s hot red shoes, and snapped up 10 autographed copies “for friends,” with Vicky swearing Page 6 | October 14, 2011

Vicky Tiel’s Office Collection

Barbara Bordinck

At the 1968 opening of Vicky and Mia’s shop in Paris

With Woody Allen in 1975

she wrote every word. True, her voice is alive on every page. Vicky’s acknowledgements in the preface read like a Hollywood telephone directory, and include Aunt Dora “who taught me there’s always sex.”

fashion authority Eugenia Sheppard to d e c l a r e , “Anyone over 25 in the world of fashion might as well drop dead.”


it was, as they say in the Bible, that Vicky became icky’s friendE l i z a b e t h ’s ship with Elizabeth designer and Taylor and Richard BFF. During Burton dates back to one of the 1965 and Vincente famous TaylorMinnelli’s The Burton flare-ups Sandpiper, which when they were Elizabeth insisted on filming The filming in Paris. “I Voyage in Sicily want to eat French with Sophia food,” was her cri de Loren, Elizabeth c o e u r . with the 100-year-old vanished. She Concurrently, Vicky Vicky Amiee de Heeren who’s was in Paris, costum- shared her longevity secret was furious about Richard’s lusting ing What’s New Pussycat with Peter Sellers, for Sophia, who slapped him Peter O’Toole and Woody with a no-no, reminding she Allen, all the while flashing her was Mrs. Carlo Ponti. Not one daring diamond bras and signa- to be rebuffed, Richard was ture miniskirts up-to-whoopee. aware of Sophia’s liaison with (During the shoot Woody won Cary Grant, and drunkenly a naughty lottery about which climbed a hotel wall to slip into girl working on the film would Sophia’s bedroom. Peering into win the jackpot and hit the sack Sophia’s window, Richard with him; Vicky won, a ren- quickly jumped to the ground. dezvous was arranged, but she Sophia, he told Vicky, was never showed, and Woody entertaining a gentleman caller. In bed. So: where was Carlo? never forgot.)



ne look, and Richard Burton wanted Elizabeth in Vicky’s whoopee dresses. “They look so young,” beamed Elizabeth while sneering at the below-the-knee dress she was wearing. “This is old.” Richard clamed that “Elizabeth presumes I find her knees quite ugly,” and asked Vicky to design a “mini mini dress” to show off “Elizabeth’s magnificent ugly knees.” Vicky’s mini prompted the Herald Tribune’s

With shark fisherman husband Big “Hammerhead” Mike Hamilton


icky and Elizabeth became business partners, opening a Paris boutique at 21 rue Bonaparte, where it remains today. The string bikinis, caftans, and microminis Vicky created with designing partner Mia Fonssagrives, daughter of the exquisite Swedish model Lisa Fonssagrives, became the rage. Vicky also has exclusive “areas” at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman-Marcus for her

With Warren Beatty and her designing partner Mia Fonssagrives in 1969

collections, says her 11 fragrances have been goldmines, the latest bestseller being Tickled Pink.


he includes “man-pleasing” tips from Elizabeth, Kim Novak, model Dorian Leigh (“every woman should know how to whip up a good vinaigrette”). Along with favorite recipes from celebrated friends and restaurants, including 100year-old Aimee de Heeren’s secret for longevity. Vicky admires French women – “They eat less, and sip their wine, and enjoy dessert, too.


dvice to Vicky from Kim Novak: “Never wear a bra if you don’t need one … treat your man like you’re his geisha, learn to give him a good manicure and pedicure and a creamy foot massage while wearing a sexy see-through nightgown. The foot is a hot plate for sex.”


icky believes that “the sexual revolution exploded in 1956 with Brigitte Bardot when she starred in Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman. There’s never been another sex symbol like her (Brigitte never wore underwear). Actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Renee Zellweger with their weights and muscular exercising miss the boat. How many men want to sleep with a bunch of sinewy muscles?”


ho’s sexy today? Vicky cites Gisele Bunchen, who’s married to football star Tom Brady, the quarterback who won three Super Bowls for the New England Patriots. She nods to beauties of the past Ava


icky lived with Elizabeth and Richard’s makeup artist Ron Berkeley as his wife for 24 years, and they had two sons Richard and Rex. She later married Big “Hammerhead” Mike Hamilton, a shark fisherman from Key West, Florida. In time, they relocated to the Florida/Alabama border, nesting on a two-acre farm (what the natives call a “plantation”), where they grow organic fruits and vegetables. Vicky keeps her apartment in Paris, and a log cabin on a mountain in upstate New York where she writes.


peaking of football, as Vicky did about Tom Brady, she recollects her days as a cheerleader at the Bethesda, Md. high school. “I planned a trick to help our team win. Three downs and three yards to go, and you pass a rumor that one of the Bethesda cheerleaders isn’t wearing underpants. Our team was in on the trick. We’d do our cheerleader cartwheels, and distract the rival players who were looking for that girl. And that girl was me!”


uriosity about the prenup keeps continental scenesters gossiping about the pending divorce of Mercedes and Texas billionaire Sid Bass, a board member and former major investor in Disney whose voice still “counts for plenty.” Their wedding was a $500,000 affair, and after 23 years, the split was announced this week. Rumors have been ongoing for more than a year. The Iranianborn Mercedes Tavacoli Diba was wed to Ambassador Francis Kellogg, and Sid’s previous marriage was to arts patron Anne Hendricks Bass, a huge supporter of ballet.


ources say Sid’s tired of the social rumble and its blacktie events, and wants to concentrate on his art. Attending a black-tie charity party some years ago, we met Sid during a dinner break. He was charming. We mentioned we were bypassing dessert and leaving early. “I wish I could,” he sighed. “Why not?” we asked. With a downcast look, he nodded toward Mercedes. Do too many parties wreck a marriage? Online at


BHC 10-14-2011  

Beverly Hills Courier October 14, 2011 Edition