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Pedro Almodovar and his muse Penelope Cruz celebrated their latest cinematic collaboration, “Broken Embraces,” with a dinner hosted by Paper Magazine at Casa Lever. The Midtown eatery, which opened Monday to the public, was packed with the type of folks who are usually found way downtown: Debbie Harry, gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, Threeasfour designers Adi Gil, Angela Donhauser and Gabriel Asfour and The Gossip’s Beth Ditto.


This story first appeared in the October 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I’m just here for the free fish balls,” Ditto deadpanned as she grabbed an hors d’oeuvre.


Others were there to stargaze, like actress Alison Pill. “I’m just such a fan,” she said, though she has to rely on subtitles to watch the Spanish films. “I’m Canadian—I only speak bad Quebecois French.”


Even Madonna put in an appearance, sneaking through the Lever House loading dock to pay her respects.


Almodovar seemed thrilled with the crowd, many of whom had dressed in homage to his films.


“I feel very at home in New York,” he said. “New York and Madrid are very similar. The type of living I do there, I could do here.”


Meanwhile, Ditto’s date for the evening, Jeremy Scott, was attracting attention for his flamboyantly be-dazzled red and black jacket.


“Why didn’t I wear my matador outfit?” lamented Cynthia Rowley when she caught sight of him.


Cruz was also suitably impressed, asking, “Can I take a photo of your back?”—a question the designer presumably doesn’t hear very often.


Over a dinner of octopus carpaccio, risotto and swordfish, the Spanish filmmaker toasted his hosts. “After dessert, we are going to make something sexy,” he promised. Nothing very raucous occurred, however, unless one counts the performance from countertenor Anthony Costanzo and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” for Paper editor Mickey Boardman.


Afterwards, Madonna and Cruz led a group of revelers to the renamed Boom Boom Room, QT. 

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