Vicky Tiel partied with Liz and Dick in the 60s, launched the mini skirt on Jonny Carson, and created gowns for European royalty, American inaugural balls and countless A-list movie stars. She recounted the era in It’s All About the Dress. Her newest book, The Absolute Woman, is an inspirational tome to feminine power and creating happiness. These days, Tiel also hangs with Jean Shafiroff, who was the featured philanthropy guest at a book party Julio Gonzalez threw for Vicky, at his waterfront home in Palm Beach County. That evening, Jean wore Vicky’s most iconic creation, the red gown Julia Roberts dons in Pretty Woman. Jill Biden wore it in black to her inaugural balls.
What stories Tiel can tell! While still a student at Parsons, she created the jumpsuit Ursula Andress wore in Woody Allen’s What’s New Pussycat? Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were shooting The Sandpiper at the same studio outside Paris, and she struck up a best friendship with them. Coco Chanel met no one. But, she and Taylor set up a dinner for Tiel. “I’m you, but young,” the 20 something told the Grand Dame. “When I said that she freaked out,” Tiel told the room. “She grabbed me, hugged me and passed a blessing on to me: ‘I’m commanding the two of you to make perfumes. Fashion, being a movie star, is not forever. But perfume is. And, “Eternity,” the first celebrity fragrance was born. “Talk about Philanthropy,” Tiel continued. “If it hadn’t been for that dinner and Elizabeth’s generosity …. She had the largest selling perfume on the planet, and today, 120 million dollars a year goes to AIDS in Africa.”
Gonzalez’ living area was so crowded, we had trouble catching every word about those wild days with Liz, Dick and Ursula. But, we thought we heard about a jewel encrusted thong under a see through dress, and that, otherwise, “no one wore underwear.”
We also heard about dating Paul Newman and Warren Beatty. Years later, Tiel recalled, “I was with eight women in the Beverly Hills Hotel. I started to talk about my marriage breaking up and that I had just had a fling with Warren. .. And it turned out every woman at the table had as well.” Guess what? There were at least two other woman in the room who could boast the same.
And so it goes in Palm Beach.