WHEN A DIPLOMAT as young as Niels Toft of Denmark is looked upon as the dean of Washington's embassy cultural counselors, then it's getting to be a young, vital world, indeed.

It is with regret that artsy, cultural Washington is saying goodbye to Niels and his wife, Merete, for they have been friends to a large group of area artists.

At a garden party last weekend at their McLean home they bid a laid-back, Danish toodle-oo to about 200 friends. Showers drove folks inside, but nobody seemed to mind.

And food! Mercy, you should have feasted your eyeballs on the huge Danish cheese, the pates, the fresh fruits in mound,s the Danish wines. Merete had done it all, and it should be a SIN for >See ALLEN, K8, Col.1 > >ALLEN, From K1 > anyone to be as beautiful as she is and sling hash like that, too.

Wearing her specialty was a lady artist important enough to be included in Joan Mondale's recent Vice President's House confab which included working artists, representatives of the Small Business Administration and the National Endowment of the Arts, providing artists with knowledge of the business world.

She is Maria da Conceicao, whose field is "wearable art" dealing with the design of orignal garments fashioned of patchwork collage and the use of specially designed and antique fabrics. Maria also designs and makes jewelry fashioned of antique dolls dressed in miniatures of her handmade, one-of-a-kind fashions. Pigs and Poi at the Gallery

Hawaiian shirts, peasant blouses, muumuus and unhosed toes on the Mallside terrace of the National Gallery's East Building just at dusk! Father in Heaven, did you think you'd ever live long enough to see such a sight as that?

But honey, besides all that, necks were draped in passion flower leis and eager hands grabbed fruity drinks in coconut shells so potent tasting it was rumored they were laced with airplane fuel! No martinis or French wines in sight.

It was last Thursday night at the dinner given as the opening of the "Art of the Pacific Islands." Pigs were roasted in pits dug in the pettipoint green lawn ... the syrupy twangs of Hawaiian guitars wafted through the soaring reaches of the East's great hall and dripped off the Calder mobile ... hulas, chants and sensuously waving arms told the stories of the Pacific Isles.

Can you possibly imagine what Le Grand Patron the First Andrew Mellon (father of Paul and Alisa Mellon Bruce) would have thought of all this? He is remembered as being just a stuffy, as courtly genetlemen who endowed and built fabulous museums, were wont to be in his era.

Amid all the splashy colors a woman stood out in a side-buttoned dress of aquamarine Chinese-figured silk satin, which made her blue eys and white hair simply shine. One sensed her specialness, and it turned out to be Mrs. Francis Bacon Lothrop of Beacon Street, Boston, sometimes Washington, Hawaii and Hong kong . . . and her attachment to the Islands is special.

Not only were there family island art pieces from the Peabody Museum in the show, but the Lothrops live most of the year in Hawaii for his health. They are both descended from Bostonians, whose fortunes were founed in the fabled Clipper Ship Trade piled in the hongs of China and the Pacific Islands after the Revolutionary War.

Mrs. Lothrop had a time finding someone who could make a dress of the pre-WWII silk, because all Chinese fabrics then were only 24 inches wide, and that does make it hard to cut out anything bigger than something that would fit a pine sapling! But who better than a Hong Kong tailor?

The dinner tables were set under the beautiful trees growing in the vast hall and amid the exotic fruits were little bowls of something, which looked like mashed up blacked-eyed peas, but which turned out to be poi, a Hawaiian staple paste made from taro root, fermented, and to eat it one has no druthers except using two fingers . . . no spoons.

After the non-islanders dipped and slurped it was their unanimous decision that a taste for poi was natal, not acquired! Gallery Treasurer Bob Goetz and Mary Ann Regula, wife of Ohio Rep. Ralph Regula, decided poi tasted exactly like library and wallpaper paste mixed! Paddy's Not an Irishman

Do you believe there is a German nobleman coming to town soon named Count Patrick Douglas? A GERMAN count with a name like Patrick Douglas . . . come on now!

True though . . . really true . . . and Count Paddy, president of the Wiesenthal Corp. of Austria, the largest retail dealer in Mercedes-Benz autos in Europe, is the new owner of two dealerships now in the D.C. area . . .

Just about as classy as his boss is Michael Jackson, Bethesday Euro manager and V.P. Jackson began his M-B career as an apprentice mechanic in 1971.

All because he set off his honeymoon back in '71 with wife Tricia in his antique-y '59 Mercedes 190 SL.

Needing a bit of dough for languishing on Cape Cod, prior to some law-school plans, Mike took a job at the Mercedes dealer as an apprentice mechanic and one day, while deep in an engine, Tricia informed him by phone that she too had landed a job . . . as a summer cook at the Kennedy Hyannis Compound . . . so after work, said Trish, report to the compound, their new honeymoon headquarters. She ended up cooking Rose Kennedy's birthday dinner party that year.

Finding he liked whining engines more than the though of whining future clients, Mike worked up through company ranks, becoming field service manager for the whole Mercedes works. From there, it was to Besthesda. CAPTION: Niels and Merete Toft, by Harry Naltchayan - The Washington Post