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NEW YORK — Blustery winds and heavy rains couldn’t keep die-hard eco-enthusiasts away from the American Museum of Natural History’s gala last Wednesday night (and really, what kind of nature lover would be deterred by a little precipitation?). A crowd including Tom and Meredith Brokaw, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Kathy and Tom Freston, Alice and Lorne Michaels, Brian Williams, Jimmy Buffett, HRH Princess Firyal and Marcia Mishaan enjoyed cocktails around the museum’s famous brontosaurus. Some were happy for the occasion to dress up, despite the weather.

“It’s Oscar [de la Renta]. I love the back,” said Claire Bernard, turning to show off the bustle of her gold dress. “I mean, where else can you wear something like this?”

Of course, not everyone was so knowledgeable about her wardrobe. Perhaps because she spends much of her television time clad in negligees and little else, Eva Longoria was desperate for someone to tell her the provenance of her lacy frock. “Who made this dress?” she asked, turning to her constant sidekick, Robert Verdi, for help. “Lela Rose,” he replied. “Oh! I was going to say Téa Leoni,” she exclaimed. Apparently those appearances during New York Fashion Week made little impression.

Longoria was in town for her upcoming “Saturday Night Live” appearance and joined cast members including Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, Will Forte, Darrell Hammond, Seth Meyers, Chris Parnell, Amy Poehler, Mike Shoemaker, Kenan Thompson and Finesse Mitchell at the seated dinner downstairs under the Hall of Ocean Life’s whale, where they enjoyed performances by Jon Stewart and the legendary Neil Young.

The previous night, the fashion crowd gathered at Barneys New York for a book signing of “Blahnik by Boman.”

This story first appeared in the November 21, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“It’s a footwear frenzy,” said Howard Socol, the store’s chairman, chief executive officer and president as he watched scores of women — including Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang and Naomi Campbell — line up to have their Manolo Blahnik shoes signed by the man himself. “I am just so surprised that people like my shoes here,” said Blahnik, who had aides unwrap small Hershey’s chocolates for him to eat to nip his low blood sugar in the bud. “The shoes I do here and in London are very different. But one thing [I believe] is that you can’t repeat something you’ve already done. Platforms, for example — I hate platforms with a vengeance. I did those in the Seventies.”

“I should have just spent the night here,” cracked Wang as she returned to Barneys the following day for André Leon Talley‘s lunch for designer Giambattista Valli. The Vogue scribe, who simply “fell in love” with Valli’s spring collection when he saw it in Paris, hosted an intimate gathering of A-listers including Campbell, Marina Rust, Rachel Roy, Lauren duPont, Lisa Airan, Helen Schifter and Amanda Brooks.

“You know the ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’? Well, they call me the man with the pearl necklace,” explained Valli after Doonan admired his opalescent gems. Talley, meanwhile, was obsessing over what to wear for his upcoming trip to Brazil. “Vera, do you think you can make me a caftan in a day?” he asked. “Naomi says you’re not allowed to wear them,” replied Wang.

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