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Yes we can. President Obama wasn’t the only person who latched on to this catchphrase in 2009 — so too did the party set, who spent the year hitting step and repeats with vigor. Leading the pack was Valentino, who kicked off a press blitz for Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary, “Valentino: The Last Emperor” — on the shortlist for an Oscar nod — with a dinner at The Plaza hotel in March and didn’t seem to spend a single night in throughout the nine months after.
Ditto for Lady Gaga, who also proved an important fixture on the party circuit this year. The pop superstar’s wacky on-stage antics were a draw at both MOCA’s 30th anniversary bash in Los Angeles in November as well as the fete Marc Jacobs hosted with V Magazine during fashion week in September. At the latter, the chanteuse donned a celestial headpiece and a see-through red lace bodysuit, sans undergarments.
Speaking of performances, there were plenty when Topshop/Topman opened its first U.S. outpost in SoHo in April. Not one, not two, but three nights of celebrations ensued, including one at The Box that featured a concert by Brit crooner Adele and another at Balthazar that boasted a set by Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Kate Moss, Jay-Z, Zach Braff and Emily Mortimer were among those who turned out for the festivities.
Across the pond, British pop sensation Pixie Lott took the stage at a Fendi bash during Paris collections in September. Katy Perry, Margherita Missoni and host Karl Lagerfeld were all on hand for the performance, which was held at boîte VIP Room.
Meanwhile, models — not musicians — were the main draw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in May, when old guard mannequins such as Twiggy, Lauren Hutton and Cindy Crawford joined newbies like Lily Donaldson and Agyness Deyn for the opening of the “Model as Muse” exhibition. Not surprisingly, Russell Simmons — who has palled around with quite a few catwalkers himself — approved of the evening’s theme. “Actresses are too difficult,” he explained.
But what about politicians? There was certainly no shortage of them on the social scene this year — including Bill Clinton at the Tribeca Ball in March, First Lady Michelle Obama at ABT’s Spring Gala in May and Gen. Colin Powell at the “Precious” after party at the Crosby Street Hotel in November. “It’s not very often that an old guy like me gets to come to a young people’s party like this,” Powell said.
Things also seemed out of the ordinary when Sonia Rykiel launched her lingerie line for H&M at Paris’ Grand Palais in December. Guests including Kate Bosworth, Ellen von Unwerth and Haider Ackermann sipped Champagne at the soiree, which boasted a Ferris wheel, a goose parade and an 11-story Eiffel Tower replica. (Not surprisingly, it also boasted a $6 million price tag.)