Big thanks to Linda for sending me this detailed article.

Ocean Drive Magazine (Nov.1997)


By Richard Johnson and Sean Gannon

Like knockoff fashions sold on a vendor's pushcart, the children of New York's rich and famous are turning up everywhere-looking like the real thing, but leaving the buyer worried about just how long the merchandise will hold up in the wash. This crowd is easily identifiable by their proclivity toward spending large amounts of daddy's trust fund on benefits, balls and nights on the town at the right clubs. So while the newest faces on the social circuit might not be familiar, their last names are.

The undisputed queens atop the heap are the triple-threat daughters of Robert Miller, who made billions with duty-free shops. The three beauties all married well, meaning they chose handsome, wealthy husbands. Plus, the weddings themselves were lavish, well-chronicled social events. Pia, the eldest, married oil heir Christopher Getty-you may have seen the name on some gas stations. Marie-Chantal wed Prince Pavlos of Greece, giving her a title (although it is unlikely the exiled family will ever be restored to the throne). And Alexandra swapped vows with Alexander von Furstenberg. The 24 year old is now busily pursuing a career as the creative director for her mother-in-law, Diane von Furstenberg.

Other sister acts include Alexandra Lind, an outspoken 26-year-old clothing designer, and her more rebellious sibling Liz, who is busy aspiring to a career in acting, dancing or singing. Then there's Lulu de Kwiatkowski and her brothers, Stefan and Conrad, who are heirs to an airplane and horse-racing fortune and whose stepmother, Barbara, was one of the Beautiful People of the Studio 54 era. Not to be left out are Ginny Bond; the 25-year-old rising actress and daughter oil czar Roland Bond; Samantha Kluge, the clubhopping daughter of Metro-media kingpin John Kluge; and Wendy (25) and Tessa Benson (18), the glamorous daughters of celebrity photographer Harry Benson.

Other young movers and shakers with famous last names include: Stephen (son of Revlon's Ron) Perelman; Julian (son of Saul) Steinberg; Robby (son of takeover king Henry) Kravis; Chris (son of Planet Hollywood mogul Keith) Barish; Alexa (daughter of top interior decorator Mark) Hampton; Aerin Lauder, of the cosmetic dynasty; Eliza Reed, stepdaughter of Oscar de la Renta; Samantha and Serena Boardman, the pretty daughters of financier Dixon Boardman; David Schulhof, whose father, Mikey, ran the Sony empire; and Belle Burden, daughter of Amanda Burden and granddaughter of CBS legend Bill Paley. The scene has its foreign influences as well with Carolina Herrera, Jr., the dark-haired daughter of South American swell Reinaldo Herrera and his fashion-designer wife; Giuseppe Cipriani, son of restaurateur Harry Cipriani; Mandoling Theoracopoulos, daughter of writer Taki; and Rocco Benetton, heir to the Italian sweater family.

Most of high society's new generation is getting into the charity whirl for the same reason their parents did-more for amusement than philanthropy. It's nice when part of the $100 ticket price is tax-deductible. It's wonderful that some of the funds are going for a good cause. It's even better that high prices tend to ensure the riffraff won't get in to chafe one's elbows. But tickets are sold based more on the arm-twisting of friends-or the possibility that the party might actually be fun-that the worthiness of the event.

"The parents weren't necessarily that active in trying to better New York, so why should the kids be?" comments one long-time watcher of the blue-blood rites of passage. "You have to remember that people in the '50s ans '40s just sat on committees. There was no strong urge to do anything other than lend their names. So today, the majority of these kids are just going along with their trust-fund mentality."

But unlike the social lions of the past, who believed that real aristocrats shouldn't ever have to demean themselves with jobs, most youngster on the scene aspire to some kind of career. As Alexandra Lind recently told The New York Observer, "We all share a common interest in making our own statements about who we are, instead of who our families are. None of us would use our last name." But Lind lets on that another big reason for going out at night in society is the connections one makes. One's family name can be an asset at times, she told the weekly. "If my father is a good friend of an editor in chief of some magazine, my God! All the more power to me. Or if I found investors through friends of my parents, that's a great advantage. Or your parents supporting you financially to start a company is really valuable."

So let the season begin. We'll be keeping track of who's scoring the most social points, who's striking out, and especially who's rookie of the year.

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