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The social scene was overrun by wildlife last week — but at least they had an excuse for their behavior. On Thursday, Hermès brought out two trusty steeds to fete its new maison-cum-store tucked near the New York Stock Exchange. A sea of signature orange umbrellas greeted the mix of Wall Street suits and French-speaking anonyms who braved summer rain to take in the luxury goods on display.

Which, of course, had celebrity guests reminiscing about their first times — with Hermès, that is. “Mine was a Birkin my boyfriend got for me,” said a trim Rachel Weisz. Chloë Sevigny said her first was a Kelly from mom.

This story first appeared in the June 25, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

But Kyra Sedgwick, with husband Kevin Bacon by her side, is still a virgin when it comes to the bags. “I didn’t even know what a Birkin was until my publicist told me about it,” she laughed.

After winding through the store, guests moved on to the Cunard Building for an extravagant after party featuring a carousel-esque display, stilted performers sporting dark horse heads, towers of cheese and lamb and, most delightfully, an “Alice in Wonderland”-worthy enchanted forest.

On Wednesday, a diverse roster of celebs including Jennifer Lopez, Debra Messing, Pharrell Williams and Seal hit Monkey Bar for a party hosted by Bergdorf Goodman in Lorraine Schwartz‘s honor. Models, hip-hop moguls, reality TV stars and Hasidic diamond dealers toasted the jeweler and her new line of 18-karat gold and gem-encrusted primates.

“It’s exuberant. It’s unapologetic. It’s dramatic. It’s explosive,” said Messing, who sounded as if she were reading from the press release.

“I want the ‘See No Evil’ monkey,” said model Jessica Stam as dancers in gold lamé ape suits and trainers with two monkeys perched on their shoulders mingled with guests. “I think it’s appropriate for the business that I’m in.”

Out in Los Angeles, a gaggle of PYTs gathered Tuesday night at Chateau Marmont to toast Kova & T designers Dasha Zhukova and Christina Tang. The duo — Zhukova lives in London and Tang in Los Angeles — are rarely in the same city, so they relished their time with guests Joy Bryant, China Chow, Rachel Bilson and Olympia Scarry, who flew in from England to check out the gallery scene. “I just had my first show in London, and I’m looking to do another one out here,” said the artist. Bryant, just back from a solo vacation in Bali, was also contemplating her next move. “I think I’m going snowboarding in Chile in August.”

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