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Though Valentine’s Day had already passed, Ethan Hawke, Julie Bowen and Kristin Davis took to the dais at the New York Public Library for a Chanel-sponsored Young Lions event to read correspondence between some of history’s most famous lovers, including Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller and Josephine and Napoleon (whose letters brought out Hawke’s special Franco-German accent). Arie Kopelman read rhyming love-hate poetry, the “low-brow” portion of the evening, as he called it, while Davis expressed her admiration for the latest literary character she’s portraying on the small screen: the voice of the children’s book heroine Miss Spider on Nickelodeon. “It’s the first time I’ve played an insect,” Davis admitted.

Speaking of creepy-crawlies, to celebrate the launch of their new line, adam + eve, at Saks Fifth Avenue, founders Adam Lippes and Electra Toub brought in a nest of snakes to accompany the underwear-clad models (eating apples, of course) in the window. But the store wouldn’t let the serpents anywhere near the displays — or the guests — so, unbeknownst to Rena Sindi, Claudia Cohen, Moby and Jade Jagger, a crate full of snakes was hiding somewhere in the store.

The next evening, Sindi and Marjorie Raein ventured to Soho House for the Grand Classics’ screening of “Memories of Underdevelopment,” hosted by Mexican-born Gael García Bernal, otherwise known as Natalie Portman’s boyfriend. “The film is a must,” said Bernal. “It’s about criticism and self-criticism. I started to see where I came from.”

Uptown, Armani’s new world ambassador, Eugenia Silva, who is both a model and a law student, hosted three tables at the American Museum of Natural History’s Winter Dance, which asked guests to come dressed as their favorite element: Fire, Air, Earth or Water. “Which one am I?” teased Helen Schifter, who successfully personified wind in her Chanel gown.

While Silva’s duties will include various public appearances for the company, as well as photo shoots around the world, she’s still not sure how it will affect her studies. “I carry my law books wherever I go,” Silva said. “They’re very heavy.” Despite the practical head on her shoulders, Silva still reacted anxiously when the gala’s program caught fire at her table, which a friend put out with butter and water. “I guess it’s in keeping with the theme of the evening,” cracked BJ Blum.

This story first appeared in the February 23, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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