It was enough to push any hard-core vintage freak over the edge. Everywhere at New York City Ballet’s Gatsby-inspired Dance with the Dancers party on Monday night were just the kind of delicate vintage clothes you’re never supposed to wear. Tara Rockefeller, in an embroidered Thirties coat, was feeling a little guilty.

“I promised the dealer I would never wear this,” she said. “He wouldn’t even let me try it on.”

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Alexandra Shiva figured that her Thirties gown had one more wearing left in it.

“It’s disintegrating at lightning speed,” she laughed. Lars Nilsson of Bill Blass pulled out a vintage Patou hat for the occasion, while Helen Schifter turned up in a vintage Pauline Trigere jumpsuit and Ginny Bond Donohue donned a Halston number.

If last year’s Prada counts, then Candace Bushnell was in vintage, too. But with her arm wrapped around the NYCB’s Charles Askegard, she was a step ahead of those hoping to cozy up to the dancers.

“We dance all the time,” she said, giggling.

“In the living room?” asked Schifter.

“Topless,” Askegard grinned.

“Yeah, topless,” said Bushnell.

“And sometimes,” Askegard added, “bottomless.”

Though a few feathered centerpieces went up in flames and a heap of boas fell from the ceiling, the action on the dance floor — aside from performers tossing Paul Morelli’s diamonds around — was, well, staid. Many serious dancers never really had a chance to get a groove on. But the summer is still young.

The NYCB’s Mary Helen Bowers and Jamie Wolf watched the action from a balcony.

“Do you want to know the truth?” said Wolf. “We usually go to dance at Don Hill’s on Thursday nights.”

“Don’t tell!” shrieked Bowers.

“No one goes there,” Wolf continued. “We wear our sneakers and get dirty. When the season ends, we’ll be there all July.”

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