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Le tout New York came out Thursday night to greet designer Bruce Hoeksema at a party hosted by Valentino Garavani (yes, the Valentino), Elizabeth Saltzman and Giancarlo Giammetti at VBH, Hoeksema’s new Madison Avenue boutique — if you can call an 8,000-square-foot former bank a boutique.
“Let’s put it this way,” said Saltzman. “I don’t do store parties.”
And VBH is certainly no ordinary store. Twenty-four-foot ceilings had guests like Rena Sindi, Marina Rust, Lauren duPont, Amanda Brooks, Susan Gutfreund, Alexandra Lind, Gigi Mortimer and Mica Ertegun reeling, as did Hoeksema’s jewelry, housed in an enormous walk-in vault downstairs, lit only by its glowing display cases.
“It’s like the ‘Panic Room,’” said Bettina Zilkha, “and everybody wants something from inside.”
In the vault, Valentino showed off the collection to Sandra Bullock, who spent the night holding hands with Hugh Grant, while Hoeksema, who worked at Valentino in the U.S. and Europe for 16 years, took Nan Kempner on a tour. But Kempner, who bought a VBH pearl ring bigger than any on display, is no stranger to the collection. She should be working on commission.
“Why don’t you buy a small piece of jewelry for your new wife?” she advised Reza Raein.
“A big piece,” his fiancée, Marjorie Gubelmann, countered.
“Please don’t encourage her,” Raein begged. “My salary already goes to the jewelers.”
Louise Grunwald, who tried on a bejeweled bracelet, was next.
“It’s over Louise, you’re buying it now,” said Kempner.
Darting across the street through the rain, guests made their way to Homer, where Sally Tadayon Albemarle premiered her bronze home furnishings, then on to the VBH dinner at Bar Seine and to the after-party at Lotus where Graydon Carter and Samantha Boardman tucked into a corner and Naomi Campbell danced on a tabletop.
Now that’s a New York welcome.