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NEW YORK — Perhaps it’s the time of year, but if there was a common theme to the Neue Galerie’s Winter Gala on last Thursday’s rainy night, it was change.

Lillian von Stauffenberg and Karen Groos made themselves at home as they huddled on a couch together chatting about von Stauffenberg’s impending move to London. “My husband is so happy, and I’m so sad,” she lamented.

Meanwhile, perhaps it was the inclement weather that led Coralie Charriol to run home and change from a turquoise gown into a black Oscar de la Renta number. “I’m trying to create some buzz,” she joked. “The first one just felt too ‘resort.’”

Yet co-chair Aerin Lauder stuck to her Proenza Schouler dress, adding that “I love those boys.”

Lauren duPont, Celerie Kemble, Tinsley Mortimer and Alexis Bryan, on the other hand, all wore dresses by Akris, the evening’s sponsor.

The relentless rain made for damp furs and sodden trains as the social set arrived, but once inside the elegant environs, guests managed to dry off, drink, dance and, of course, admire the art. 

Standing on the staircase, Peter Som surveyed the scene. “I always just imagine that I live here,” he said. “It would be nice to come home to this sweeping staircase and have violins playing a Viennese waltz.”

The night before, Bob Colacello, Nan Kempner, Francisco Costa, Carolina Herrera, Muffie Potter Aston, Tiffany Dubin and Donna and Gabby Karan were among those who gathered at Stephan Weiss’ studio in the West Village for the annual holiday dinner for the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA).

Actress Bryce Dallas Howard reflected on how her life has changed since she starred in this summer’s “The Village.” She will soon begin practicing her equestrian skills in order to film “Mary Queen of Scots” next year.

This story first appeared in the December 13, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Just today Calvin Klein sent a bunch of shoes over to my hotel room, and they said to keep them,” the fresh-faced star exclaimed. “I called one of my friends immediately and told her: ‘The rumors are true. Actresses do get free shoes!’ ”

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