By and  on October 9, 2008

NEW YORK — “The yoga room was not so Zen.”

Peter Som’s assessment of the lively CFDA party at Elie and Rory Tahari’s SoHo home Tuesday night couldn’t have been more spot-on. Over the course of the night, many of the guests crowded the Taharis’ rooftop yoga room and the adjoining terrace, including Leighton Meester, Phillip Lim, Richard Chai, Martha Stewart and Nicole Miller.

With the stock market in a free fall, the presidential race in its last four weeks and retailers gripping for rocky months ahead, guests chose to celebrate a new crop of CFDA members that was being welcomed at the event. “I was a new member last year,” Chai said. “I am passing the torch. I am doing the hazing.”

Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, David Neville, Marcus Wainwright, Tina Lutz, Marcia Patmos, Yeohlee Teng, Arnold Scaasi and Charles Nolan were among the other designers welcoming such new members as Ron Anderson, Michael Bastian, Philip Crangi, Naeem Khan, Loree Rodkin, Kara Ross and Araks Yeramyan. The newbies were just part of the night’s attraction, though. Many were relishing the Tahari home (Rupert Murdoch’s old digs) and taking in the city vistas from the multitiered roof deck. “I think Elie put the moon and Mars up there,” joked Stan Herman, pointing to the picture-perfect starry night.

Stewart inspected the kitchen, washroom and bar area. Newcomer Eunice Lee said, “We were just salivating over this apartment. We were saying, ‘Let’s work hard so that we have a place like this, too, one day.’”

Rory Tahari admitted there was a pre-party “aha moment,” when the couple realized its gathering conflicted with the second presidential debate. “Elie said we’ll just tell everyone who wants to stay that they can watch the debate in the screening room,” Rory Tahari said. And so they did — bar the hostess herself, who snuck off after the party to catch Madonna at Madison Square Garden.

Meester showed her allegiance for new member Dana Foley by wearing a strapless black dress by the designer. Fresh off the set of “Gossip Girl,” the actress said she didn’t have time to worry about what she would wear. “I finished work at six, got home around seven and my friend and stylist Tom came over with a few of the dresses he had pulled. And I had earrings, a jacket and purse. But Foley + Corinna is one of my favorite stores — really.”

Nicole Miller chatted with new inductee Cheryl Finnegan, whose Virgins, Saints & Angels jewelry is carried in her freestanding stores. Asked if she offered any advice to Finnegan, Miller said: “This is a tough road. After the past two days, everyone realizes it’s going to be tough for every designer, especially new ones.”

And, of course, “the best thing anyone could do would be to go out and spend some money,” Miller said.

“So go out and buy something crazy like a tutu,” Finnegan said, gesturing toward the one she was wearing.

While inductees sported corsages to reflect their newly minted status, Matt Murphy donned an oversize hot pink “Palin Insane” button designed by artist Cecily Brown. “I’m promoting democracy tonight,” he said.

Amy Chan chimed in: “That’s a great thing. People want to do different things, step out more and make that last effort. This time is such a pivotal time.”

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