Fe Fendi in Fendi.

Despite kicking off the week with the Costume Institute gala two nights earlier, New York’s resilient social set turned out in full form for the New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala last Wednesday. In happy contrast to the whippet-thin...



Despite kicking off the week with the Costume Institute gala two nights earlier, New York’s resilient social set turned out in full form for the New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala last Wednesday. In happy contrast to the whippet-thin ballerinas on stage, New York’s pregnant elite was well represented. Marisa Noel Brown poured herself into a skintight Jean Paul Gaultier gown, while an eight-months-pregnant Rachel Feinstein opted for a turquoise Marc Jacobs frock, the only dress she could fit into. “Breast-feeding is not birth control!” she said in way of explanation for conceiving so soon after the birth of son Francis. “It took me four months to realize I was pregnant. I was practically showing by the time I found out.”

After the dance program, which included the premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s “An American in Paris,” ballet aficionados such as Christy Turlington, Fé Fendi and Anne Bass streamed into the Promenade for dinner.

Those lucky enough to be seated at the tented terrace tables made like high schoolers, talking and smoking their way through the president of the National Endowment for the Arts’ address. The terrace scene heated up even more when one of the topiary confections swayed precariously over the heads of Candace Bushnell and Nina Griscom’s beau, Leo Piraino. “Two cute people should go that way,” joked Griscom. “Death by benefit.”

A decidedly younger, self-consciously hip crowd showed up at the Whitney Art Party the following night at Splashlight Studios. “Any party with art is more fun than a normal party,” offered Lou Doillon, who was visiting from Paris. Clearly the studious set of starlets in attendance agreed. Julia Stiles arrived in a madcap schoolgirl look from Alexander McQueen and mingled with Anna Paquin and Gaby Hoffman, while Claire Danes and Zac Posen set up camp on one of the many available ottomans. As for her own collegiate days, Danes responded, “I go back to Yale for the burgers and the pizza.” 

This story first appeared in the May 9, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Emmy Rossum, however, with art dealer boyfriend David Wildenstein in tow, had more highbrow musings on the brain. “I studied the Degas ballerina pastels in the Musee D’Orsay to prepare for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ because they’re from the same period,” she explained earnestly. “I tried to hold myself like them.”

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