Private Sydney: Rachelle Louise cashes in
Even before Simon Gittany was found guilty, the media chase was well underway for the woman who has been by his side throughout the extraordinary trial.PT2M26S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yh3a 620 349 November 29, 2013
Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch have been enjoying their shiny new superyacht on Sydney harbour this week, the couple and their three children showing off the $30 million-plus vessel to fellow yachtie Neville ''Croaky'' Crichton.
As foreshadowed in The Sun Herald, the 42.6-metre carbon globetrotter yacht, named Sarissa, is something to behold, the perfect home away from home for the Murdochs, who were totally hands-on during its five-year design and construction.
While no expense has been spared, PS hears the Murdochs are keen to have the boat, named after an ancient Greek spear, pay its own way by making it available for charter for a cool $156,205 a week, or the bargain basement daily rate of (gulp) $16,450.
Pricey: Lachlan Murdoch on board his $30 million his superyacht, Sarissa. Photo: Supplied
The yacht has six bedrooms, including a special children's cabin that features scores of tiny fibre-optic lights in the ceiling to represent the night sky, which at the flick of a switch can imitate either the northern or southern hemisphere astronomical patterns.
The children's cabin is also connected to the all important nanny's cabin.
Murdoch recently told sailing website BoatInternational.com: ''Our last boat was a Swan 82, which was fantastic, but we outgrew it and wanted to go up in size, but didn't want to lose the experience of sailing. We still wanted to be in touch with the wind and the water.''
Three generations: Ros with Gretel Packer and her daughter Francesca. Photo: Belinda Rolland/Woman's Day
Initially a boat of about 36 metres was discussed, but with the Murdoch brood now numbering three, a large vessel was required.
Packers hit Paris to watch Barham have a ball
The Packer family has converged on Paris this weekend to witness 18-year-old heiress Francesca Barham take part in what is billed as ''one of the most prestigious and exclusive of all the world's debutante balls''.
A trimmer Napoleon Perdis. Photo: Lucas Dawson
A former Ascham student, Barham, the eldest grandchild of Ros and the late Kerry Packer, is the daughter of Gretel Packer and her first husband, British financier Nick Barham.
In Paris on Saturday night she will be among the well-heeled young ladies taking part in the Le Bal de Debutantes de Paris being held at the super swish French Automobile Club on the Place de la Concorde.
Presented to ''society'' wearing haute couture gowns, some worth more than $150,000, she will join a long list of notable debutantes ''introduced'' at Le Bal over previous years, including heiresses Amanda Hearst, Delphine Arnault, Princess Fawzia Latifa of Egypt, Lady Tatiana Mountbatten as well as Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughters Tallulah and Scout Willis.
On again: Ginia Rinehart with Ryan Johnston and the ring. Photo: Supplied
Besides Barham, among this year's line-up of young women is the grandniece of John F.Kennedy and the daughter of a London cabbie whose IQ is reportedly higher than that of Albert Einstein.
Robert Kennedy Jr, son of Senator ''Bobby'' Kennedy and nephew of JFK, will open the ball with his daughter Kyra.
At the other end of the social spectrum from the Packers is Lauren Marbe, the 17-year-old daughter of a London taxi driver whose sky-high IQ of 161 stunned her teachers.
Devotion: Rachelle Louise with Simon Gittany. Photo: Janie Barrett
The high-society extravaganza is inspired by the royal courts of France and England where young ladies from well-to-do families were formally introduced to society and eligible bachelors.
Dressed by famous fashion houses such as Dior and Givenchy, and accompanied ''cavaliers'', the daughters and granddaughters of the global elite this year will also include Lady Amelia Windsor, whose grandfather the Duke of Kent is the Queen's cousin, as well as Romy David, daughter of US actor and producer Larry David, and Zoe Springer, granddaughter of German media mogul Axel Springer.
According to the organisers, it takes a year to organise the ball due to the many countries being represented and the various trips to Paris's haute couture houses to finalise the all-important gown.
No doubt the process has been a bonding one for Francesca, who has been joined by Gretel and grandmother Ros, the happy trio also making a rare appearance at this year's Melbourne Cup inside the Birdcage enclosure.
Francesca and the other young women are then presented in a ''defile'', a fashion parade, on the arms of their cavaliers, though PS is yet to unearth the name of the young chap squiring Francesca.
Justice Lucy McCallum had barely delivered her guilty verdict against Simon Gittany on Wednesday before an all-out media stampede ensued for access to the woman who has been by the convicted killer's side throughout the trial: his aspiring actress/bikini model girlfriend, who calls herself Rachelle Louise.
By Thursday night figures upwards of $100,000 were being bandied about as chatter zeroed in on which television network had secured the exclusive interview with Louise, who appeared to solicit media attention throughout the trial, kissing Gittany on the way to court as if on cue for the waiting media pack.
She loudly screamed his innocence as Justice McCallum declared Gittany guilty, in a performance described as ''Logie worthy'', fuelling suspicions it was all part of her grisly quest for fame - at any price. Despite being a potential witness in the trial, Louise gave The Daily Telegraph an interview weeks before the verdict, a move which legal observers say could provide the basis of Gittany appealing his guilty verdict.
Channel Nine's 60 Minutes is locked in a bidding war with Channel Seven's Sunday Night to secure Louise. Meanwhile she is reportedly planning to write a film script around her boyfriend's trial as the late Lisa Harnum's devastated family quietly commented there were ''no winners''.
Louise's performance on Wednesday afternoon provided compelling viewing for the scores of cameras trained on her every move, especially when she chose to stand in the middle of the media pack to dramatically inhale on her cigarette as mascara streamed down her cheeks.
Her social media feeds, complete with racy bikini shots, have provided a tantalising smorgasbord for the media.
PS understands there has been no agent or middleman involved, with the media dealing directly with Louise. However the cold economics of commercial television could throw a spanner in the works as this weekend marks the end of the ratings year, meaning Louise's ability to nab a big fee for an interview would be greatly diminished if she failed to strike a deal before Sunday night. Here's hoping.
Ginia Rinehart, Ryan Johnston reunited
Two months after PS reported mining heiress Ginia Rinehart's engagement to American Ryan Johnston had been ''quietly called off'', the couple appear to have reunited. They attended dinner on Thursday night at Doltone House to accept, on her mining magnate mother's behalf, the chairperson of the year trophy at the CEO awards.
In October, sources close to the couple said the wedding had been called off, however on Thursday night the pair appeared affectionate, posing for photographers while Ginia, 27, wore a large diamond ring on her engagement finger.
The pair, who met at the Institut Le Rosey, the $120,000-a-year private boarding school in Switzerland, have revived plans for a lavish wedding in Italy, however exactly when remains unclear.
Johnston, 27, is the son of the Beach Boys' Bruce Johnston, and has also featured in the Supreme Court battle between matriarch Gina Rinehart and her children over the family trust.
He sent a text to Ginia's sister Hope, in which he said: ''I feel as your friend I need to tell you something … you're facing a massive uphill battle and there is one thing they have a lot of and you don't, money. They can drag this out for years (and from the sound of it, will) and all that's going to do is drive you in debt and prolong you getting what you want, freedom and financial security. I'm not sure what you've been offered exactly, as I'm not privy to all that, but my suggestion is to get as much as you're being offered, go buy two massive houses, a jet and five cars and send your kids to the school you want. Much better than trying to make a deal when you are out of money and at your weakest time to negotiate.''
Hope eventually reached a settlement, leaving her brother John and sister Bianca to continue battling their mother.
When Napoleon Perdis leapt out of an army truck in Melbourne this week, it wasn't just the electric blue leather suit that caught the crowd's attention (though it was designed by Gypsy Taylor, who also created costumes for the latest Wolverine film). Perdis has shed an astonishing 65 kilograms from his frame, the make-up mogul rattling his snake hips with abandon this week, wearing a series of glittery tights and espousing the virtues of lap band surgery. Perdis (or should that be Purrrdis given his new, feline-like silhouette?) has certainly rediscovered his mojo since dropping the weight, however it was not just for aesthetic reasons, his diminishing frame spurred on by emergency surgery he underwent after suffering septic poisoning from an abscess. As Perdis told PS: ''When you become addicted with eating, you either need to intervene or you need to have enormous help.''
Angelina's Jolie brief rental
Angelina Jolie and her small village of children better not get too settled in their 1920s Vaucluse mansion Villa Igiea. PS hears that from December 22, new lodgers are due in: Texan billionaire Jim Clark and his wife, Kristy Hinze, who are planning a lavish New Year's Eve party at the house during their summer sojourn to Sydney. Villa Igiea, which was owned by the late Sir Peter Abeles for 30 years, was also the Sydney rental of pop star Beyonce during her recent stopover in Sydney. If only those walls could talk!