NEW YORK — The state Supreme Court house at 60 Centre Street may seem like a strange place to hold one of the swankiest affairs of the year, but Vanity Fair took it over once again for its fourth annual dinner celebrating the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival. There were fashion designers (Francisco Costa and Diane von Furstenberg), politicos (Dan Doctoroff, Ray Kelly) supermodels (Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour and Iman) movie stars (Nicole Kidman, Robert De Niro, and Kevin Bacon), hip-hop impresarios (Jay-Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Damon Dash) and media magnates (Les Moonves, Barry Diller, and Norman Pearlstine). Iman wore a stunning vintage prom dress given to her by her friend Jill Stuart; Kidman was in a black sheath from Azzaro, and Ellen Barkin was in a gold number from Lanvin. All the women wore Louboutins and the closest thing to a fashion mistake was Caroline Kennedy and Patty Smyth, who showed up wearing the same green brocade Prada coat. 

But forget fashion. Can Barkin — who in the past two months has been profiled in Vanity Fair, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, New York Magazine, and The New Yorker for her role in Todd Solondz’s “Palindromes” — even read all of her own press?

She was in the middle of answering the question when Smyth came bounding up to her. “Did you like that thing in The New Yorker?” Smyth was referring to Lillian Ross’ profile of Barkin in this week’s Talk of the Town, where Barkin is quoted saying that it was easy to redecorate her husband Ronald Perelman’s apartment given that she had “eight billion dollars to spend.”

“Ha!” laughed Barkin.

This story first appeared in the April 22, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

She raised her eyebrows a little. “I did,” she said. “If they don’t get the joke, too bad. I do.”

After the party, several guests — among them De Niro and Dash — made it over to Padma Lakshmi and Carlos Miele’s expansive party at artist Hunt Slonem’s loft on the West Side Highway, where they met up with such social staples as Gina Gershon and Hope Atherton. House music blared, incense burned, and Slonem’s 34 parrots cackled in the background. A burly security guard dressed in black stood in front of the sea of cages. “They bite,” he explained. 

Most people went nowhere near them. “I never had a bird,” said Gershon. “But I did have a boa. His name was Moo Shoo, as in ‘if you don’t behave I’m going to turn you into moo shoo.’”

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