Gucci’s Open Heart

Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Blake Lively and Adrien Grenier partied at the Oak Room to celebrate Gucci's new Tattoo Heart handbag collection benefitting UNICEF.

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It’s little wonder partygoers at the Oak Room on Wednesday night were confused about what exactly they were celebrating, with so many reasons on offer. Was it Gucci’s new Tattoo Heart collection, which launched in stores that day? Was it Rihanna’s ads for the Italian house? Was it UNICEF, which receives 25 percent of sales of a Gucci handbag? Or was it simply the fact that Madonna showed up?

In the end, everyone had too good of a time to care about specifics. The only thing guests like Blake Lively and Penn Badgley, “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson, Becki Newton, Stavros Niarchos, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss and Kelly Rutherford were required to know was to arrive first at the Gucci flagship on Fifth Avenue for cocktails and later at the Oak Room for dinner and dancing.

This story first appeared in the November 21, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Sure, Madonna may not have been in the mood for a long night (she and Guy Oseary bid adieu to their table before the first course was served), but others like Adrian Grenier, Anja Rubik and Julia Restoin Roitfeld stuck around and boogied on the dance floor in a manner that was refreshingly unbridled for a New York affair, especially in these grim times. Rihanna joined in the fray when Timbaland spun her hit “Don’t Stop the Music.”

On the sidelines, talk turned to tattoos, since the Gucci collection was inspired by body ink and many in the crowd sported some.

“I have trouble with needles, but I love tattoos,” said Frida Giannini. “My husband is full of them, even if you can’t see them. They’re in very discreet places.” We didn’t ask.

Mary J Blige wished she had gone that route. “I don’t regret any of them, I just wish I didn’t get them,” she said of her seven tattoos. “The giant rose on my leg, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Fittingly, one of Rihanna’s tattoos is visible in the Gucci ads, and that night her backless dress revealed a group of tiny stars cascading down her neck. “I love stars, they’re very rock ’n’ roll,” she said.

Her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Brathwaite, who joined her for the evening, agreed with their pop star progeny. “It’s the ‘in’ thing,” Clara Brathwaite said with a laugh.�

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