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What do Southampton and Casablanca have in common? The Southampton Association, of course. A slew of caftan-clad guests packed into Hampton Hall at Saturday night’s Moroccan-themed end-of-summer bash to benefit the organization and its scholarship fund.

“This is real gold,” said Regine Traulsen, fingering the intricately woven trim of her custom-made number. “I buy the fabric in Paris and I take it to Morocco, where I have them made.”

This story first appeared in the August 26, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Traulsen’s husband, Bill Diamond, wore a white djellaba made by the King of Morocco’s tailor, while another guest sported an elaborately bejeweled caftan, fit for a queen, from Badgley Mischka’s resort collection. Others simply got an A for effort.

“My housekeeper is from Morocco and literally handed this to me as I walked out the door,” said one guest in a pale yellow floral caftan.

After drinks in Rick’s Cafe, the 200-plus crowd filed into a candlelit room decorated by Richard Keith Langham. In it, 26 huge canvas sheets, each handpainted by Jay Lohmann, transformed the room into a palace.

“Bring on the carbs!” cried one guest at the sight of a huge platter of pita bread and couscous before her dinner mate gaped in pleasure at the mound of chicken and lamb skewers. What started as a civilized dinner soon turned to into a raucous feast as belly dancers performed and lured several gentlemen, including committee member Bert Meem, from their seats to give it a go.

Before the mint tea was even served, the dance floor was full of revelers, including chairwoman Debbie Bancroft. And for a moment, it looked just like 1942.

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