Wednesday, December 2, 1998

A New Face in Cosmetics Shopping
Sephora opens with glitz and a Getty


Let us entertain you: Sephora, the new cosmetics superstore at Stockton and Ellis, celebrated its opening with a party last night and with the appearance of its ambassador without portfolio but with makeup kit, Pia Miller Getty. By this time next year, there will be 60 Sephoras around the world.

The company, owned by Louis Vuitton/Moet & Chandon, has taken the drugstore formula of cosmetics within easy grab (Diana Dalton buys her makeup, unintimidated, at Walgreens) and added glamour, glitz and space. Best of all, you can buy something without a sales assistant (no commissions at Sephora) asking you, in a caring Dame Edna way, ``What kind of cleanser do you use? You do use one, don't you, dear? And you should really try a moisturizer, or perhaps you like that scaly look?''

Pia and husband Chris flew in Monday, and she had her makeup done before dashing off to lunch with Chris and his cousin, Billy Getty, and Vanessa Jarman. Domaine Chandon's executive chef, Robert Curry, also popped by the store Monday for a makeover: ``We talk about shaving, and lotions and hand creams that he could use that are greaseless, important for a chef,'' said company VP Sherry Baker, add ing that makeovers and makeup applications are free: ``If you don't buy anything and just say thank you, that's fine.'' You go first and let us know.

``Hey, everyone, the dinner's ready,'' called out Gordon Getty over the cocktail din at his home Monday. He, wife Ann and the Opera's Lotfi Mansouri got everyone, including the Reuben Hillses, Dorothy and Bradford Jeffries, Bill Godward and Marilyn Boswell, and Betty Hume, to talk about ``Der Ring des Nibelungen'' next summer. There was lots of talk, in general, about opera. Gordon said his mother, the late Ann Light, took him to his first opera at the Hollywood Bowl when he was 7: `` `Madama Butterfly,' and it was so beautiful I wept through it all.''

Dinner began with chef Alfonse's signature sea bass. At a Getty dinner last month, Dr. Mario Curzi loved it so much he tried to get the recipe from a waiter. ``I've got everything but how to make the secret sauce,'' said Mario. Ah, the secret sauce. Only Alfonse knows.

Even better than the secret sauce Monday was the icing on the cake, which came after dessert -- Russian soprano Anna Netrebko of ``Betrothal in a Monastery'' singing in the music room. ``Just imagine. She was once Miss Kiev,'' said Lotfi. We know what she did during the talent competition.

Lotfi also had some big news: The '99 opera season will open with ``Un Ballo in Masquera'' starring Carol Vaness on a Saturday, September 11, instead of the traditional Friday night. ``Friday is Rosh Hashana, and to show respect for the holiday and our Jewish friends we felt it was appropriate to do it,'' said Lotfi.

The guest of honor, Barry (Dame Edna) Humphries, at Charlie and Meriwether McGettigan's dinner Monday appeared via TV. Barry was in L.A. for ``The Tonight Show With Jay Leno'' and was returning on a 6 p.m. flight for the dinner, but his flight was delayed, then canceled. So the McGettigans and their guests, including Harry and Monika Hunt, had their coffee while watching Barry on Leno. The Hunts have seen the Dame Edna show five times: ``We love it,'' she said. And we're happy for you.

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