Ring in the New
updated 12/11/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/11/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
"They're a beautiful couple. I think he's sexy," cooed Ross. And they certainly were, as the couple made their appearance, holding hands as they walked down the aisle. And not only did the 46-year-old bride-to-be well up with tears, her knees buckled—causing the assembled to laugh good-naturedly.
Ivana's best friend, Nikki Haskell, diet guru to the stars, was matron of honor. Giancarlo Ciarpella, a plastic surgeon and schoolmate of the groom's, was best man. Ivana's daughter, Ivanka Trump, 14, was maid of honor, adding sweetness to the 10-minute ceremony presided over by Appellate Court Judge Theodore Roosevelt Kupferman, whose past credits include Leona and Harry Helmsley. The judge refused to invoke the name of the Deity. "If they wanted that," he says, "they would go to a priest or a minister."
Certainly, Ivana knew what she wanted. Start with secrecy. The bride withheld the wedding's exact location from her guests until 48 hours before the ceremony to avoid press leaks. She also selected the music (Beethoven, Mendelssohn and an assortment of jazz, pop and show tunes) and, she says, "collaborated" with French designer Thierry Mugler on the design of her ice-blue satin wedding suit as well as the black-and-pink floor-length gown she wore to the dinner following the ceremony. The menu? Also by Ivana: beluga caviar, medallions of lobster, rack of lamb and, finally, a six-tier white wedding cake.
"She's a hands-on person," says the evening's bandleader, Peter Duchin. It was Duchin's decision, though, to play the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as Ivana and Riccardo walked into the ceremony. "It's nicer," he insisted, "than 'Here Comes the Bride.' "
Maybe they should have played "Ode to Details," there were so many for Ivana to tend to. For the dinner at Le Cirque, some 20 feet away from the tea room in the hotel, the tables were covered in gold damask brocade flounced with gold-and-ivory tassels, the better to set off an enormous nine-branch golden candelabrum. The champagne of choice: Veuve Clicquot yellow label non-vintage. The wine for the lobster course was a chardonnay, Far Niente 1993, from California's Napa Valley; the red, a cabernet sauvignon, Far Niente 1992. With the dessert and cake, more champagne: Louis Roederer Cristal 1988. No one would quote a price, but a source close to Ivana said the whole shebang was "very expensive."
Mazzucchelli says he has always cherished his wife's decision-making ability. "I'm 52 years old," he says, "so I value a woman not just for her looks but for her character. Ivana," he says proudly, "is quite a personality."
Indeed, winning her over took every ounce of Mazzucchelli's Mediterranean charm. The two met through a mutual friend in 1991—three months after her separation from Trump—in London, where Ivana spends the June social season. A consulting engineer based in Rome who had made millions designing towns and highways in Africa and the Middle East, Mazzucchelli, Ivana was told, was interested in expanding into her former home, Czechoslovakia. Clearly, they discussed more than pre-stressed concrete beams over lunch at Claridge's. "The next day the florist called with a delivery," says Ivana. "I said, 'Bring it up,' and then I had my shower, put on makeup, got dressed, and 2½ hours later they were still bringing flowers. Red roses," she adds with a smile. "So I knew he liked me."
But she was still stinging from the demise of her marriage—the low point of which was Trump's front-page affair in 1990 with Maria Maples, now his wife. "I needed healing time," says Ivana. "I played hard to get."
Mazzucchelli got a second date but then had to keep his distance for three months as Ivana traveled between her homes in Manhattan (where her children, Donald Jr., 17, Ivanka, and Eric, 11, live), Connecticut and Palm Beach, Fla., and a pied-à-terre in London. In August she rented a villa in the South of France with her children and her mother—and it wasn't long before Mazzucchelli dropped by.
"What would you like to do?" he asked her.
"Go skiing," she replied.
"I thought waterskiing," he recalls. "But she said, 'Ah ah ah, I want to go snow skiing.' So I got us a helicopter. to take us into the French Alps, where there is a lot of snow in summer. I made sure there was plenty of champagne in the chopper." His reward for the gesture was their first kiss ever. "He was sweet and gentle and kind," she says of her new beau. "He was never pushing me." Over the next several months, though, they did scuba dive in the Caribbean, comb the Louvre, weep at La Scala. "With Donald, I could not go to the opera," says Ivana. "But Riccardo is artistic. We both love European culture."
Nevertheless, his first proposal, in 1992, met with an affectionate deferral. "I'm still not ready," said the two-time divorcee. (Ivana's first marriage, in 1971, was a two-year arrangement that was intended only to get her out of Czechoslovakia.) Divorced himself after a 20-year first marriage that ended in 1986, Mazzucchelli understood. "I wasn't ready for some time after I split up, either," he says.
Ivana kept the 10-carat canary-yellow diamond ring he offered her as, she says, a token of friendship. He showed an even deeper sense of commitment by giving up his 25-year management of his family's ASCO engineering firm to become a partner in her House of Ivana in 1993, overseeing production of the clothing, jewelry and skin-care products Ivana sells on the Home Shopping Network (to the tune of $5 million each weekend they're featured). Says her close friend, romance novelist Vivien Serota: "He's really madly in love with her."
The fact is, by the time he proposed again last November—armed this time, says Ivana, with "a huge Burmese sapphire rock" (she wore her two engagement rings simultaneously, one on each ring finger)—marriage seemed mostly a formality. But it was one she was now eager to face. "I absolutely do not need a husband," says Ivana, worth an estimated $35 million, thanks not only to her former mate but to her own knack for marketing her image. (Asked how much he's worth, the groom will only say, "I've always been very successful.") While establishing Ivana Inc., she has written two novels and developed her Ivana perfume ($30 a bottle at J.C. Penney). "I don't depend on a man to survive. But I like to have a man to fuss around with, to share everything with, and eventually—hey, we are all aging—a man to grow old with."
When the initial June 17 wedding date came and went, headlines blamed prenup nitpicking. Mazzucchelli laughs off such reports. "We had our prenup-tials signed three years ago when we started living together," he says. The cause of delay, he adds, was a happier event—his son Fidele, 29, was set to marry in July. Says Ivana: "We didn't want to steal his thunder."
There can be no doubt they would have. As the newly weds danced their first dance to "Only You," Mazzucchelli's parents, Fidele and Alberta, watched proudly from the sidelines. Ivana's mother, Maria Zelnicek, 69, danced with designer Mugler, who was sporting leather pants. In the House of Ivana, history was being made, while in the heart of Ivana, healing was taking place. "Marrying Riccardo is a way that she's making a real family again," says Sugar Rautbord, a society pal. "It's a little more romantic than the rest of us, a little more glamorous, but it's still a real family."
KAREN S. SCHNEIDER
NANCY JO SALES in Manhattan