NEW YORK — Everybody loves a comeback story.

That was the case last Thursday at the Chrysler Giants of Design 2003 fete presented by House Beautiful at Cipriani — where Calvin Klein made his first foray into the social scene since acknowledging in early April that he was seeking treatment for substance abuse. The designer was being honored as a tastemaker along with other decorative luminaries such as garden designer Frank Cabot, architect Sir Norman Foster, interior designer Dan Carithers and fabric entrepreneur Adriana Scalamandre Bitter — not to mention Target for its “creative retailing.”

Looking tanned and slim, Klein smoothly quipped, “I’m always happy to pick up an award. I’m pleased it’s for House Beautiful, in particular, and thankful to be here and to accept.”

Fellow partygoers lauded his attendance at the event and his brief acceptance speech met with resounding applause. Klein spoke of the longevity of home design versus fashion’s shorter life span and how that appeals to him.

Revelers at the event included Carolyne Roehm, Mario Buatta and Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines Division.

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