It didn't exactly start out with a whimper, but New York fashion week sure went out with a bang.

First up Wednesday night was the last hurrah Saks Fifth Avenue threw for Helen O'Hagan at Mortimer's. Rose Marie Bravo, Massimo Ferragamo and Bill Blass recalled classic O'Hagan moments before the likes of Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Nan Kempner, Arnold Scaasi and Burt Tansky. O'Hagan thanked the crowd and even some absentees -- her friend Claudette Colbert and her mother.

The more boisterous fashion wrap parties were held at the Puck Building by the Black Girls Coalition in a benefit for Housing Works, and in the Gertrude Pavilion, where the official closing night party made the Big Top look more like Studio 54 than a runway. There were more celebrities there than at any of the fashion shows.

"I'm glad it's over," said Beverly Peele, dressed more simply than she's been for a week, in a black dress and a baseball hat. "It was hell."

Robert De Niro made the scene in both places, arriving after midnight at Bryant Park, where John F. Kennedy Jr., Linda Evangelista, Leonardo DiCaprio and Billy Baldwin were already going full tilt. De Niro might have felt a rush of nostalgia at the door -- the irrepressible 7th on Sixth goons were behaving like extras in a Martin Scorsese film, deciding who and who not to let in. Among those shut out were Naomi Campbell and Marc Jacobs, and Helena Christensen's protests that she was one of the hosts fell on deaf ears until someone finally wised up.

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