By  on April 19, 2005

NEW YORK — Two downtown boutiques and warm spring weather were reasons enough for Kyung Lee to celebrate on Thursday, when she held a packed cocktail party — complete with keg beer and spiked ice tea — at Claudine and Albertine, her two West Village stores located just steps away from each other on Christopher Street. The pastel-painted salons stock sexy, feminine dresses, glass locket necklaces and hand-knit sweaters — all designed by fashion up-and-comers.

Many of the designers that Lee carries, such as Joanna Baum, Katharine Sise and Andrea Breuckner, turned up at the fete. Rather than play favorites, however, Lee opted to wear a vintage, floor-length black-and-gold dress. “I wanted to do a creative, communal thing,” she said, angling for space in Albertine’s doorway. “It was a great chance for everyone to showcase their work.”

Meanwhile, co-host and Albertine customer Victoria Traina made a brief appearance in a black-and-white Christina Hattler gown. “There are designers here you can’t see anywhere else,” she said.

Miami-based Hattler flew in for the event, but ended up spending the beginning of the evening mending a dress. She later mingled with actress Elisabeth Waterston, in a Kathy Kemp halter dress, and clothing designer Liz McClean, who moonlights as a stylist for Maggie Gyllenhaal and Drea de Matteo.

As partygoers drifted back and forth between the tiny stores, Lee explained that Albertine and Claudine’s monikers come from the names of two of the three sisters in Otto Preminger’s film, “Bonjour Tristesse.”

So will there be a boutique named after the third sister, Leontine? “I’m saving that for a lifestyle store,” Lee said, hinting that she may already be thinking about her next venture.

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