On the final night of Fashion Week, New York’s sartorial royalty skipped the final few Fall 2011 shows in order to get a peek at Set in Style, the new Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt.
Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo, in frothy Vera Wang, lamented having to miss the two shows for the event. “I feel terribly guilty because I’m missing two shows tonight; Tahari and Proenza Schouler. I sent them all apologies ahead of time, and I tried to schedule getting into the showroom to make up for it.” Ms. Fargo explained that she felt she deserved a break after a Fashion Week that averaged 12 destinations a day. Also, “they’re our neighbors. Van Cleef is almost a part of Bergdorfs! And we don’t get to treat our senses to this kind of thing very often. I know I will be very spoiled by this.”
Wearing very sparkly diamond earrings, Piper Perabo looked much more like an Upper East Side socialite than the Coyote Ugly bartendress that made her famous. Currently shooting the sci-fi thriller, Looper, with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ms. Perabo told The Observer she was excited for her scenes with Mr. Willis, which begin shooting next week.
Richard Meier coyly deferred answering whether he liked Frank Gehry’s new residential tower in the Financial District, smiling shrewdly, “I haven’t seen it.” He also told The Observer that he designed a very architectural, gold necklace for his daughter for her recent nuptials.
Flashbulbs erupted and guests murmured in awe as Cate Blanchett ascended the steps of the former Carnegie Mansion in a jet-black taffeta Balenciaga column. Asked if she had chosen a dress for the next week’s Academy Awards, where she will be a presenter, Ms. Blanchett said, “No, I haven’t!” A glimmer in her eye. “I literally just flew in from Sydney.”
Arriving at the event without a coat, Chelsea Clinton must have inured herself to the cold while visiting ski bum hubby Marc Mezvinsky in Jackson Hole. The couple continued to battle rumors that Mr. Mezvinsky’s flight to Jackson Hole spelled the seven-month itch for the young couple, who posed arm in arm.
Former supermodel Carolyn Murphy arrived on the arm of designer du jour Jason Wu. The model, who recently relocated to New York City, told The Observer, “I’m working on a book for parents about bibliotherapy–storytelling.”
Ms. Murphy assured The Observer that her 10-year-old is not allowed to have a cell phone and instead borrows her nanny’s phone for texting.
Mr. Wu told The Observer he felt underdressed for the event. “I feel like I should be wearing some jewels!” Asked which jewel exhibited he would steal if given the chance, Mr. Wu beamed without skipping a beat, “I have the prettiest one,” slipping his arm around Ms. Murphy’s waist (which was about shoulder height for the diminutive designer).
Fiery fashionista Julie Macklowe lamented the 9 a.m. Yigal Azrouel show that morning. “Ugh, I was at the Buck Cherry last night, and then I had Yigal at the crack of dawn, and my kid, of course, standing on my bed at like 5 a.m.!”
Downtown jewelry designing darling Waris Ahluwalia also felt underdressed for the event, whose dress code designated “black tie and bejeweled.”
“I didn’t come bejeweled. I wore black tie, but no jewels. I thought about wearing some of my new pieces,” said Mr. Ahluwalia, who had his debut Fashion Week presentation at the Museum of Art and Design the day before. “But I don’t really wear my own jewelry.”
When asked which piece from the exhibit she would swipe, society stalwart Muffie Potter Aston, didn’t hesitate: “Marlene Dietrich’s bracelet,” lingering on the words like a heroine addict chasing a fix. “A big cuff from the ’40s that’s done as only those big ’40s bracelets were done, with the big diamonds on top and the rubies–spectacular!” She also confided that she has thought about launching her own jewelry line now that her daughters had been accepted into kindergarten at Spence and assured The Observer, “I have been approached.”
The black-tied-and-bejeweled guests were slowly ushered into Bronson van Wyck’s silk dinner tent for the Jean-Georges Vongrichten five-course dinner.
Ms. Blanchett, the clear guest of honor, was seated at the central table next to Van Cleef & Arpel’s chief, Nicholas Bos, and flanked by Jason Wu on her left. At a neighboring table, Mr. Meier’s dinner partner was Ms. Aston. The nearly 1,000 guests listened attentively, spooning their Meyer lemon gelée and caviar while Smithsonian director Wayne Klough thanked the audience for joining him at the opening of the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit. Smirks passed like a contagious pathogen around the room as Mr. Klough pronounced the French house’s name “Arples,” like Ms. Marple. Half of the guests filtered out before the Sparkling Key Lime pie arrived, streaming past the hanging mobiles of dyed feather butterflies suspended from the tent ceiling.