Mosbacher just keeps going--on 4-inch heels


April 26, 1991|By Alice Steinbach

Forget the Givenchy outfit, the pearls as big as baby Brussels sprouts and her fabulous red hair styled by New York's trendy Rick Gillette. Forget the Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan she left behind early this morning and the mansion in Washington's tony Kalorama section she'll return to at the end of the day. And forget -- if you can -- the photographers and television cameraman following her every move and jostling each other to snap her picture.

Forget all that because the bottom line is this: Despite being rich, glamorous, successful and married to a Cabinet member in the Bush administration, Georgette Mosbacher, 44, is at heart just a Working Girl.

Of course, watching the dynamic chief executive of La Prairie, a pricey skin-care company, go through her paces yesterday at Saks Fifth Avenue in Owings Mills does drive home the realization that the Working Rich are very different from you and me.

In some cases, they work a lot harder.

Take, for example, Georgette Mosbacher's schedule yesterday.


"I've already worked a whole day," says Mrs. Mosbacher shortly after her 2:30 p.m. arrival at Saks to promote her products, have tea with special guests and deliver a talk with the provocative and slightly run-on title, "Women Who Won't Settle For Less Than Having Their Dreams Come True."

Her day started at her Fifth Avenue apartment, she says. "I got up at 5:30 a.m. because my husband [Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher] got the 6:30 shuttle back to Washington. I got the 8 o'clock shuttle to Washington and went directly to the memorial service for John Tower and then went directly to my home in Washington and was also photographed for Paris-Match. They were doing an article on me and La Prairie and they needed two set-ups of me at home wearing two different outfits. A black jumpsuit by Donna Karan and a cashmere sweater and pants. Then I had a conference call . . ."

She pauses to sip her diet cola, creating an opening for someone to ask: So what time of day are we up to at this point?

"We're up to noon," she says. "And I'll be here until 8 tonight. Then I'll go back to Washington and spend what's left of the evening with my husband. Tomorrow morning I'll fly back to New York and then on Saturday fly back to Washington for the White House correspondents' dinner." She pauses. "Alone. My husband will be out of town."

Which raises this question: With a schedule like that, how do she and her equally busy husband ever get to see one another?

"Our weekends are sacrosanct. We really do not accept invitations on weekends," says Mrs. Mosbacher who, by the way, is a strikingly beautiful woman. ("Fabulous! Beautiful! Gorgeous!" were the words most often applied by gawkers as the tall redhead made her way throughout Saks, greeting everyone with a firm handshake. "Hi, I'm Georgette Mosbacher," she said to one elderly woman who, seeming quite dazed and dazzled, replied "Thank you.")

With her creamy, perfect skin, copper-red hair, cornflower blue eyes, tattooed eyebrows (done by an Indiana tattooer who specializes in bikers) and curvy body set on thoroughbred legs lengthened by 4-inch red leather heels, Georgette Mosbacher gives the impression of some exotic parrot set down among sparrows. It seems fair to say she is her own best advertisement for the expensive creams and cosmetics produced by the company she purchased in 1988 for approximately $31 million.

What exactly is her beauty routine each morning? How long does . . .

She finishes your question. "How long does it take to get myself together? It takes me about five minutes to do my skin treatment and about 10 minutes to do my makeup." She good-naturedly ticks off on her fingers the items -- all La Prairie, natch -- applied to her face each morning: Eye cream, day cream, skin caviar, primer, foundation, blush, lipstick, eye shadow, loose powder.

But, she says, this makeup routine will carry her through a 16-hour day. Or night, one assumes.

And, yes, she believes in growing old gracefully. It's just that Georgette Mosbacher's definition of growing old gracefully may be a bit different from, say, Barbara Bush's.

To her it is "growing old without looking old," explains Mrs. Mosbacher. "That's what it means to me, and I think that's what it means to the women of the '90s."

Out on the floor of Saks' cosmetics counter, the energetic businesswoman mingles with some women of the '90s, including the attractive and chic cosmetics saleswomen who seem to love her.

Of course, Mrs. Mosbacher -- who grew up in modest circumstances in the small town of Highland, Ind. -- knows what it's like to be a saleswoman. And a switchboard operator and a car hop and a hairdresser. "I worked from the time I was 16," she says, "and I've done everything."

Including marrying three wealthy men (she divorced the first two), a circumstance that has caused some to say she earned her money the old-fashioned way -- by marrying it.

But watching her in action, you get the impression that she's a smart, down-to-earth woman who's made many of her own breaks. She's also very upfront about her life. Past and present.

"I love what I do. But, really, how different is it from what these salesgirls do? I have dreams, just like they do. I set goals, just like they do. Sure, I can relate to them. Maybe I'm tired, too. And would like to go home. But I'm here."

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