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Marlon Brando’s cries of “Stella!” bellowing throughout Los Angeles Sunday night proved as much a declaration that Stella McCartney was throwing open the doors to her newest address as it did the passing earlier in the day of Elia Kazan, the legendary director of the 1951 film, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Eerie? More like a weird coincidence, observed McCartney, who, weeks ago, chose to show the black-and-white film on a giant screen in the English garden behind the store at her opening-night party.

This story first appeared in the September 30, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s a drive-in without the cars,” said Jacqui Getty referring to the evening’s theme, which touted the city’s car culture, from the car freshener invites scented with the new Stella perfume to the veggie dogs and cotton candy lapped up by Amanda Scheer-Demme, Guy Oseary, Hilary Duff and Portia de Rossi. “Stella made sure to have a bucket of Red Bull on hand for me!” enthused Demi Moore, joined at the hip to a more reserved Ashton Kutcher.

“She certainly brought out the crowd,” remarked Jacqueline Bisset, surveying the eclectic bunch which included Peggy Moffitt and William Claxton, Rufus Wainwright and Anthony Kiedis, Arianne Phillips and Bridgette and Mark Romanek, Nancy Davis and Ellen Olivier de Vezin. An all-smiles Jessica Capshaw introduced around her fiancé, Christopher Gavigan, and Debi Mazar showed off her grinning baby daughter, Evalina.

“There are a thousand photographers outside — good for Stella,” said friend and fellow animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson. Even McCartney couldn’t believe the scene. “Did you see Cate Blanchett?” she asked. “Cate is rockin’ my world right now.”

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