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Melrose Avenue may be lined with a lot of boutiques, but none is quite like the Max Azria store right now. The entire exterior is covered with a thick layer of willow branches in something of a peacock feather pattern, courtesy of artist Patrick Dougherty. To celebrate the installation, Max and Lubov Azria threw a party Monday night, cohosted by Eva Mendes and cosponsored by W magazine. “I’d never done a retail store before,” said the North Carolina artist. “The parameters were pretty open. I used the shape of the paisley as a starting point and went from there.” Like a good hostess, Mendes chatted with fellow actresses Shiva Rose McDermott, Ali Larter, Christina Milian, Rachael Leigh Cook and Jaime King. “I love art,” Mendes said. “Anything we can do to support art in L.A. is so important.” After the soiree, guests such as Alexis Bledel, Joel and Benji Madden from Good Charlotte and DJs-du-jour the MisShapes headed over to Chateau Marmont for a private dinner.

Meanwhile in New York, the Upper East Side crowd made the rounds between tasteful and private affairs. First on the agenda was the kickoff party for the 53rd annual Winter Antiques Show held at the home of Michael Lynch and Susan Baker. “Do you think it’s Christmas?” Arie Kopelman asked gamely, referring to the apartment, which was so festively decorated one guest dubbed it “the Nutcracker suite.”

A bit further uptown, the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center created a garden of sorts at a town house belonging to Janna Bullock. More than 30 designers created fashionable flower vases that were filled with blooms courtesy of Belle Fleur. Guests including Anne Grauso and Muffie Potter Aston mildly placed bids on the arrangements, but things got feisty between the Gregory women. “I’m trying to outbid my mother,” said Samantha, who with her mother, Jamee, was pining over Oscar de la Renta’s poppy-printed vase filled with bright red anemones. In the end, the daughter won out.

This story first appeared in the December 7, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Earlier that same day, Christy Turlington Burns, Eleanor Ylvisaker and Amanda Smith escaped the cold in Marisa Noel Brown‘s cozy SoHo apartment for a ladies-only luncheon in honor of Anya Hindmarch. With the fireplace aglow and the eau of paperwhites in the air, much of the cackle led to holiday vacations. “I’m going to Eleuthera,” said Patricia Lansing, who is first spending some quality family time in New York for Christmas. Hindmarch is fudging Dec. 25 for her five children and is instead celebrating on the 16th. “I’m going to make a fake Christmas in England and then it’s off to Mustique. The little ones won’t know the difference,” she said.

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