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Beauty Queens

These days, Donatella Versace would rather throw a party than simply attend one.

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These days, Donatella Versace would rather throw a party than simply attend one, and that’s exactly what she did on a zip through Manhattan late last week. On Thursday, the ultimate vixen threw an intimate affair for Allure editor in chief Linda Wells at the Gramercy Park Hotel to celebrate Wells’ new book, “Allure: Confessions of a Beauty Editor.”

“I love Donatella, she is so dominatrix tonight,” a more demurely dressed Lucy Liu said of Versace’s sultry black ensemble. She was among a crowd that included Aerin Lauder, Alek Wek, Anna Sui, Gina Gershon, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Margherita Missoni, Narciso Rodriguez and Niki Taylor. Though the starting bell rang for Tom Ford‘s party for his new Black Orchid fragrance uptown, many guests were too busy double-fisting the many desserts to rush off immediately.

Even Ford couldn’t resist checking out his blurb on the back jacket of Wells’ tome, arriving fashionably late at Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. As revelers rode up in the nearly pitch-black elevator, they were awed by the slick, sexy decor.

“It’s very Space Mountain,” boomed one attendee. “I was thinking more ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ but thanks anyway,” replied Ford dryly. The style arbiter had labored over every last detail of the party — even down to the black hand soap in the ladies’ room. The lively crowd included Sophie Dahl, Becca Cason Thrash, Elizabeth Saltzman-Walker, Carmen Kass, Victoria Traina, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld (who’s featured in the ad campaign for the fragrance) and her mother, Carine.

That same night in London, a different crop of designers were being honored at the British Fashion Awards at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Winners included Giles Deacon for designer of the year, Kate Moss, who scooped model of the year — in absentia — and Vivienne Westwood, who won the red carpet designer award. “So…I’m not Kate,” deadpanned Westwood, who picked up Moss’ award for her. “But I love her — she is a lovely, loyal, fantastic person.”

This story first appeared in the November 6, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Many guests at Carolyne Roehm‘s cocktail party in Manhattan last Wednesday would have said the same of their willowy hostess, who was marking her latest publication, “A Passion for Parties.” But despite her reputation for entertaining, Roehm claims to be a neophyte. “I’ve only ever given two cocktail parties,” she confided, though a glance at Anne Bass, Nina Griscom, CeCe Cord and her new husband, John Baldwin, happily nibbling smoked salmon canapes and sipping Champagne contradicted any inexperience. Meanwhile, Sandy Hill is planning her own entertaining book for next spring, inspired by parties at her Santa Barbara, Calif., ranch — where she bottles her own vintage, Oak Savanna. “It’s more of a recipe book than Carolyne’s,” she explained.

Cross country, another high-profile social whirler and author, Liz Goldwyn, signed copies of her much publicized book on burlesque, “Pretty Things,” Monday night at Tower Bar. Goldwyn took a cue from party sponsor Dior Beauty, who outfitted her in a pair of heels modeled after Mr. Dior’s first perfume bottle.

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