The setup was something like a chemistry experiment: What happens when the Park Avenue set and the world of Versace collide? Would the two mix like oil and water? Would it all turn to ice? Well, as Thursday night’s bash to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering proved, that combo is as potent as gasoline and matches. Appropriately enough, the evening’s theme was Indecent Proposal, so Eugenie Niven, the event’s chairman, and her co-chairs Tory Burch, Hilary Dick, Alexis Waller, Anne Grauso and Courtney Moss, all got decked out in the slinkiest Versaces they could find.
And they were feeling indecent, all right. For her part, Dick — who usually goes quite demure — chose a minidress slit to there, although she spent the cocktail hour reassuring her old friends she was still the same Hilary. “I promise I’m wearing underwear,” she said, pulling at her hem to offer a peek at her bodysuit.
Other guests, including Aerin Lauder, Rena Sindi, Olivia Chantecaille, Serena Boardman and Samantha Boardman, who came with Aby Rosen, were equally daring. “I have never worn so little clothing in my life,” said retail’s reigning bombshell Jaqui Lividini. She wasn’t kidding.
Then things at the Metropolitan Club took a surreal turn. To announce dinner, a troupe of male models — all dressed in little lace masks, and all hand-selected by Niven — dangled tangles of long ribbons over the balcony. No one knew what the signal meant. With increasing vigor, the Indecent Proposal boys, as they were called, waved their ribbons, until finally, one of the club’s brutish waiters whistled through his fingers and waved the crowd into the dining room.
Some guests, however, were a little indecent to the boys, who could hardly see through all that lace. “One guy said, ‘Can you see us mocking you through those masks?’” a model named Ken reported.
“Was it a big guy or a little guy?” his comrade in lace asked.
“Let’s go jack him,” suggested a third.
But within moments of assuming their roles as Post-It postmen, the muscle-bound crew became a lot more popular. At the center of each table, Post-Its and pens were piled high so that everyone could send indecent, anonymous notes from table to table via the masked messengers. And though it sounds like a dud of a party trick, the jaded New York crowd went positively and pervertedly Post-It crazy.
This story first appeared in the May 5, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’m not wearing any underwear,” Gerrity Lansing neatly printed across a paper square, before signing off as Ryan O’Sullivan, Niven’s date for the evening. The notes arrived in a sticky flurry — “Spank me!” “10 inches!” “Did you go Brazilian?” — as well as those too sordid for print.
“All these years of parties and no one ever thought of it,” Reneé Rockefeller marveled.
Of course, by the time guests hit the dance floor and the gambling tables, they were giddy — and the models, who had changed out of their masks, were ready to join the fun. Unmasked, the boys were as indecent and as ever.
“No ring,” said one, grappling a reporter’s knuckles with a leer. “Let’s go dance.”