Anne with the Plan

By Richard Mineards   |   May 10, 2018
Maryam Mohseni with her daughter, Yasmine Zodeh (photo by Christy Gutzeit)
Hania Tallmadge, Belle Hahn Cohen, Marni Margerum, and Anne Towbes (photo by Christy Gutzeit)

The late Polish opera singer Ganna Walska had two passions: her gardens and jewelry.

And her two loves were suitably intertwined when two major bling purveyors, Verdura and Belperron, staged an evening of cocktails and shopping at the Montecito estate of Anne Towbes.

In the 1930s, Paris-based Suzanne Belperron’s clients included the Duke of Windsor, the Aga Khan, Colette, Merle Oberon, Jean Cocteau, Gary Cooper, Nina Ricci, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and Jeanne Lanvin, while Verdura’s customers included Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Cole Porter, Diana Vreeland, Joan Fontaine, Katharine Hepburn, Babe Paley, and Carolina Herrera.

Ten percent of proceeds went to Walska’s former 37-acre estate, Lotusland, which appropriately enough, celebrates Gems of the Garden at its annual gala on July 28 with co-chairs Belle Hahn Cohen, Eileen Rasmussen, Nati Smith, and Yasmine Zodeh.

Walska auctioned off $1 million worth of her priceless baubles in 1971 to build the cycad garden on the 99-year-old estate, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a public botanical venue.

Among the 80 guests checking out the wares were Monica Babich, Ginni Dreier, Marni Margerum, Arlene Montesano, Gina Tolleson, Gwen Stauffer, Caroline Thompson, Arthur von Wiesenberger, Wendy McCaw, Noelle Wolf, John Saladino, Kendall Conrad, and Hania Tallmadge, Walska’s niece.


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