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Love Lessons from Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor sadly passed away this week at the age of 79. With her 8 marriages to 7 husbands and 2 Academy awards, Liz knew how to love and she loved well.

Liz spent the last 15 years of her life as an unmarried woman who embraced social media and spent time online on Twitter and Facebook. She regularly tweeted with passion and her love of her friends, humanitarian efforts and jewelry were a big part of her life.

Thousands visited her star on Hollywood Boulevard with flowers and prayers. Worldwide, social media enthusiasts viewed her videos on YouTube and left messages on the Elizabeth Taylor Tribute Page on Facebook. I stared with sorrow at her Twitter page @DameElizabeth, where she sent her last tweet on February 9, 2011 with enthusiasm about her excitement on her Harpar?s Bazaar magazine interview with Kim Kardashian. Taylor was a regular tweeter and enjoyed staying in touch with her fans through social media.

On Thursday she was laid to rest in a private ceremony at Forest Hills Memorial Park, the same resting place as her close friend, Michael Jackson. Although she suffered through a myriad of health related problems, Elizabeth Taylor represented class, style, and will forever remain on a pedestal that she so very much deserves.

Elizabeth Taylor deserved an award for having faith in the institution of marriage, casting a wide net with a variety of seven husbands. She followed her heart when she divorced Richard Burton, only to remarry him again a year later.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor was all heart. She loved her friends dearly and devoted her time and resources to AIDS, at a time that most others looked the other way. I recall seeing Liz just two years ago at the Macy?s Passport event in Santa Monica, CA supporting AIDS research. Looking frail as she arrived in a wheel chair, she stood up and spoke to the crowd, she showed up and once again she gave her heart. Unrecognizable as the woman who starred in Cleopatra, she chose to stay in the public eye to help others rather than hide from the years of wear-and-tear. Taylor received a special Academy humanitarian award for her work with AIDS research.

Her resume of husbands included:

Husband #1: Hotel heir Conrad (Nicky) Hilton, 1950
Duration: 8 months
Love Lesson: 18 years old is too young to know what you want in a marriage.

Husband #2: British Actor Michael Wilding, 1952
Duration: 5 years
Love Lesson: Long-term marriage for Liz resulting in 2 children.

Husband #3: Producer Michael Todd, 1957
Duration: 13 months
Love Lesson: The death of a loved one revered him as one of the true loves of her life and produced a beautiful daughter, Liza Todd.

Husband #4: Singer Eddie Fisher, 1959
Duration: 5 years
Love Lesson: The only way to get over mourning a death of a spouse is to fall in love again.

Husband #5: Richard Burton, 1964 and 1975
Duration: 10 years and 1 year, respectively
Love Lesson: A true love with a bond so strong that the year apart was unbearable. When in doubt, it’s worth a second shot. The two adopted a daughter.

Husband #6: Politician John Warner, 1976
Duration: 6 years
Love Lesson: Being a politician?s wife was worth trying out, but not for her in the end.

Husband #7: Construction Worker: Larry Fortensky, 1991
Duration: 5 years
Love Lesson: A Hollywood icon can open her arms to a high school drop out and still lend a hand many years later after their divorce.

Hollywood has lost many legends, but there were none like Elizabeth Taylor, who loved like no other. How ironic that this woman filled with heart, died of heart failure.

May her star continue to shine brightly and may she rest in peace.

Ultrasuede: A Flashback to the 70s with Halston

If disco fever, Studio 54, and pillbox hats are more than a distant memory, put on your Halston dress and go see the film, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston.

Whitney Sudler-Smith and Julie Spira

This week, the Costume Council of LACMA along with support from?Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Elizabeth and David Netto, Katherine Ross, Cameron Silver, Angelique Soave, and Alexandra Von Furstenberg, presented the west coast premiere of the documentary film by?Whitney Sudler-Smith. Following the film, guests were treated to a reception in the Los Angeles Times Center Court at the museum.

We had the opportunity to remember Halston, America’s first celebrity designer, and hum a few songs, including “Big Shot” by Billy Joel and “Le Freak (Freak Out)” by Chic. Joel included a line in his song, “You were all impressed with your Halston dress” in his 52nd Street album and Chic’s song was inspired by a night the disco band couldn’t make it past the roped off line at Studio 54 for their own appearance.

It was Halston, they said, who gave birth to ultrasuede in the U.S. It was Halston, himself who said, “You are as good as the people you dress.” I arrived wearing the only ultrasuede dress I could find in my closet.

Authors, Judith Krantz and Julie Spira

The film starts with Liza Minnelli, wearing her velvet Halston pants, talking about her personal relationship with the designer. Minnelli wore a yellow Halston dress when she accepted the Academy Award for Cabaret. We are reminded that Halston created the first pillbox hat for Jackie Kennedy for the Presidential Inauguration.

From his start at the Halston department at Bergdorf Goodman, where women were required to wear hats, through the decadent days at Studio 54, the film covered it all. Clearly, the 70s belonged to Halston.

Among the others interviewed in the film, were?Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field, who shared her story on how she dressed Sarah Jessica Parker in Halston in an episode where Carrie was dating a politician. Fields said, “It was a play on Jackie O.” Angelica Huston shared some of her runway moments and we

Other attendees included designers James Galanos and Kevan Hall, author Judith Krantz, and Alexandra von Furstenberg, whose mother Diane appeared in the film.