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NEW YORK — The newest trend of fashion week is the invasion of European houses piggybacking their events onto an already packed U.S. calendar, only adding to the season’s social fever. On Friday, a crowd flocked to Barneys New York for cocktails to celebrate the publication of “Balenciaga Paris” and toast designer Nicolas Ghesquière. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — who wore her own line, The Row, which she’s already handed out to pals like Vanessa and Victoria Traina — showed up, along with Courteney Cox and husband David Arquette.

Ghesquière was just as happy to see his Stateside admirers as they were to see him. “There’s an energy here, it’s not the same in Paris,” the designer said.

Afterward, a select few headed down to SoHo for a private dinner. The Olsens, Iman, Anna Wintour, Aerin Lauder and David Sims gathered at Howard Socol‘s loft, where Ghesquière, who jetted in for a quick two-day stint with Barneys, shyly stood and expressed his gratitude. “This has been a nice break. A 48-hour break.”

Meanwhile, a horde of hipsters descended upon the Prada SoHo store to rock out to The Raconteurs, Jack White‘s new band. Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Eva Mendes and Mischa Barton crowded into the bleacher-style seating on the store’s bottom floor, joined by a phalanx of models including Karen Elson, who is White’s wife, Anouck Lepère, Gemma Ward, Lily Cole and Jacquetta Wheeler. But like any high school party, the bash boasted its fair share of cliques. Winona Ryder, Jennifer Jason Leigh and boyfriend Noah Baumbach played the role of jaded seniors to perfection, staying seated and looking bored throughout the entire set. Stavros Niarchos and Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld showed up late with shaggy-haired pals in tow, and proceeded to alternately mosh around and tease Vladimir’s sister Julia. Upstairs, Lisa Marie Presley observed the kiddies below. She declared the band, “f–ing awesome. I have it on my iPod.”

This story first appeared in the September 12, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Even further downtown, at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, The Cinema Society and DKNY Jeans hosted a screening of “The Last Kiss.” Zach Braff, whose character in the film has trouble committing to his fiancée, Jacinda Barrett, admitted it’s a scenario with which he can identify. “Being in your early 30s, there’s a lot of societal pressure to get married,” he remarked. “Though living in Hollywood does give you a few more years to do it.”

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