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Literati and glitterati alike gathered on Wednesday evening as a pair of luxe houses opened their uptown doors to fete the written and visual arts.

Gucci hosted an open auction preview for Christie’s at its 69th Street boutique, planting works by Barbara Kruger, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Rothko among the store’s wares. Of the 319 lots available at the auction house, Gucci picked 10 to place at the store. A black-and-white Rauschenberg Polaroid print snuggled nicely among a selection of embossed black leather briefcases, while smaller works were displayed under glass cases among other leather goods and its New Bamboo handbags.

This story first appeared in the February 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It works. This is how people live with art,” one reveler surmised. “It mixes in with your stuff, your life.”

Anticipated prices at the March 10 auction range from $3,000 to $500,000, which led to an air of confidence among staffers.

“If you’ll spend $5,000 on a handbag, maybe you’ll spend it on a painting,” one Christie’s employee said with a smile. Plenty of well-trained attendees turned out in Gucci frocks, with hosts Lisa Airan, Maggie Betts, Blair Husain, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Lydia Fenet and Sara Friedlander no exception. Alexandra Lebenthal and Kipton Cronkite were also on hand to sip blood-orange Bellinis and survey the contemporary and postwar pieces.

Only a few blocks south, the Chanel boutique on 57th Street was filled to the brim with friends and well-wishers of author Jill Kargman and her latest literary accomplishment, a collection of nonfiction essays and observations titled “Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut.” Rory Tahari, Michele Gerber Klein, Kate Schelter, Ashley McDermott and Shoshanna Gruss all stopped by to pick up a signed copy, as Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch and Glenn O’Brien and Gina Nanni also embraced and congratulated the author. Kargman, the belle of the ball, wore a short black leather Chanel dress embossed with camellias as she juggled her progeny, a Champagne flute and a pen to sign copies for friends.

“It’s chaos,” Kargman said with a grin. “It’s great.”

Despite the chic surroundings, the party felt like a family affair as Kargman’s father, Arie Kopelman, kept an eye on his three grandchildren throughout the shindig. Ivy Kargman, age five, was happy to handle the cash register, occasionally taking off in hot pursuit of her mother with a few crisp bills still in hand.

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