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“I was a little nervous and shy. I haven’t done anything like this for at least 10 years. Is anybody going to recognize me?” said John Galliano, who on Tuesday night cohosted a gala dinner for “The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957″ exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Galliano, Daphne Guinness and Alexandra Shulman hosted more than 450 guests including Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood, Diego Della Valle, Jade Jagger, Kevin Spacey, Emma Thompson and Thandie Newton.
Most of the ladies wore couture (“Once you wear couture, you never want to go back,” Newton said), and Stephen Jones sported a Fifties vintage Christian Dior clothing label — stuck to the back of his bald head. “You know, Stephen, I think you may have finally cracked it,” said Galliano of Jones’ innovative hat design.
The following evening, Monica Bellucci played poster girl for Cartier at Lancaster House in St. James’s Palace, where $250 million of the jeweler’s latest creations were unveiled. And while the venue might have been as English as they come, Cartier transformed the interior into an Indian palace. Princess Michael of Kent, Cécile Cassel, Margo Stilley and the Rajmata Gayatri Devi drifted among gauzy, indoor gazebos to peer into cabinets displaying the jewels.
Meanwhile, the crowd at the new Brit outpost of Bungalow 8 was breathless over the rumor Prince was to play Matthew Williamson’s after party at the club. “I don’t know what I’ll do if Prince comes,” said designer Danielle Scutt. “I have a Valium just in case.”
Let’s hope she popped it, since the singer indeed arrived in the wee hours. But Williamson hadn’t waited for Prince before he started dancing with guests Sienna Miller, Rhys Ifans, Elizabeth Jagger, Fuschia Sumner, Amy Sacco and Kelly Osbourne.
Further west on Wednesday night, balletomanes assembled at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to screen the film of George Balanchine’s “Don Quixote.” Dancer Suzanne Farrell, who played Dulcinea in the 1965 stage production, was in attendance with host Anne Bass and Peter Bacanovic. The gathering was subdued, although Bass insisted the guests’ passion for the art was anything but. “Nobody really knows about us because we don’t have galas,” she said of the Library and Friends of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division organization, “but the people who are here are hard core.”
The previous evening, the well-heeled headed to Sotheby’s to celebrate the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention (a partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center). Olivia Chantecaille, Eleanor Ylvisaker and Tory Burch mingled among auction items until cancer activists Ralph Lauren and Lance Armstrong took to the podium to champion their cause, though Armstrong confessed of Lauren, “I actually see his son David a lot more than I see him.”
On the country’s opposite coast, San Francisco toasted its new Barneys New York flagship on Tuesday. “We’ve waited many years for this moment and I could not be happier,” said Howard Socol, joined by nearly 700 other guests. Danielle Steel knows a thing or two about waiting: Her embroidered Christian Lacroix couture coat arrived from Paris just the day before. “I ordered it in three colors — and was afraid none of them would arrive in time,” said the novelist.
The next night, O.J. Shansby, Tatiana Sorokko, Charlotte Schultz and Vanessa Getty gussied up for the opening night gala of the San Francisco Symphony. “We heard that Renée Fleming was going to execute three gown changes, so I think every woman made an extra effort,” admitted Juliet de Baubigny, in Oscar de la Renta. Sako Fisher had left her couture gowns in her apartment in Paris, so she donned an off-the-rack Dior. “We don’t get too many chances to really dress up in San Francisco,” she said.
That’s not the case in Hollywood, but over the weekend, mummies played it casual at a kid-friendly affair held at the Stella McCartney boutique hosted by TastyBaby founders Liane Weintraub and Shannon Swanson. Kate Beckinsale, Cindy Crawford and Courteney Cox Arquette were among the crowd, as was Jennifer Meyer and her 10-month-old daughter Ruby, who was too young to partake, but entertained herself by playing with the handmade silk beads on mom’s dress. “I almost feel bad wearing this because I know it’ll get dirty,” Meyer said.
Beckinsale didn’t hesitate to get dressed up. “I’m about to start a movie where I play a prisoner, so I’ve got to get my glam on while I can.”