What Price Millennial Madness?

Luxurious Gowns for the Ultimate Party

By Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune

- A series of grand weddings, a long bull-market and the anticipation of the 1999 party season has already had an energizing effect on the sales of haute couture.

''We made a fortune - it's our best year ever,'' said Georgina Brandolini, director of Balmain, which produced icy pastel ball gowns for both Marie Chantal of Greece and for her mother, Chantal Miller, among others, at the Greek wedding in London. The house is also doing a major marriage and party in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the fall.

To the slender, draped wedding dress for Courtney Cox's marriage to David Arquette in San Francisco, Valentino added ball gowns for the queen of Spain and the Infanta Elena.

Christian Lacroix did the gowns at the Ruspoli ball in Rome and has landed the London wedding in October of the couture client Nada Kirdar's daughter Serra.

Chanel and Dior both say that the Americans are back in force for slim-line, non-ball-gown evening wear. And Ungaro is relishing the arrival of young 20-something clients, such as Angelique Hennessy of the cognac family, who came to the house and to haute couture for her wedding dress.

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