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Dressing for the annual New Yorkers for Children gala on Monday night at Cipriani 42nd Street, hosted by Amy Astley, Oscar de la Renta and Broadway pinup boy Hugh Jackman, kept some of fashion’s best minds spinning. Their query: how to dress in festive attire?

Anna Wintour went with Narciso Rodriguez, in dress — a white gown — and in person, arriving on the designer’s arm. Blaine Trump chose Badgley Mischka. Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and BJ Topol both went for beaded Valentino, while Alex Kramer and Nina Griscom had an identical vision — the same vintage Prada dress. Lauren du Pont claimed she didn’t own anything festive. Anne Grauso chose a cream Rochas suit, while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, kept away because of the Senate voting schedule, wore a beige suit and attended via satellite.

This story first appeared in the September 25, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Iman looked great in a coat dress by Language, but the Cipriani attendants didn’t quite get it. One offered to check her coat, “But this is it,” Iman replied, turning on her heel. “What the hell is festive attire anyway?”

“There were a lot of instant messages about what to wear flying back and forth this afternoon,” said Adelina Wong Ettelson, in a pink Angel Sanchez ribbon dress.

For Jeff Klein, the dress code meant a suit with flip-flops. For Scarlett Johansson, it meant saving a few bucks. She wore vintage. “Whatever it is, it was cheap,” said Johansson.

Lisa Ling came directly from the airport, having just returned from Mexico, and donned a pantsuit accordingly. “I was meant to wear a Chanel dress,” said Ling, “but I have mosquito bites all over my legs.”

Astley chose just the right thing — a silvery number from Oscar de la Renta’s resort collection. Sadly, she’d have to give it back the next morning. But the Rampage and Thread dresses worn by 11 girls chosen by the charity to visit Teen Vogue’s office and attend the party weren’t loaners. “I love my dress,” Astley said, “but the important thing is that they get to keep theirs.”

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