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The stilettoed uptowners who clicked their way into the Jimmy Choo luncheon Tuesday at Plaza Athénée never imagined the surprise Tamara Mellon had in store for them.

“We’re here for four reasons,” she announced as the likes of Serena Boardman, Cornelia Guest, Tory Burch, Marjorie Gubelmann, Alexandra Lind, Emilia Fanjul, Dori Cooperman, Marina Rust, Lillian von Stauffenberg and Jennifer Creel dug into their cheese soufflés.

This story first appeared in the March 13, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Mellon ticked off the list — previewing the latest collection, celebrating the new Madison Avenue store slated to open in June and the company’s donation to PARSA (Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support for Afghanistan), the charity dedicated to rehabilitating women in Afghanistan that recently opened a beauty school in Kabul.

“The first step to rebuilding a country is to rebuild its people’s self-worth,” said Mellon solemnly.

She then instantly improved her guests’ own self-worth with the final reason. The gift bag, waiting at each seat, held an exclusive handbag from the company’s new line. “They won’t be in stores until August,” she said, as the room vibrated with the ladies’ gasps.

Caroline Berthet, who hosted the luncheon with Mellon, was responsible for the select seating and tried to match the three bag styles to the women’s personalities, although some last-minute cancellations threw her handiwork off. “There are three sizes,” she said, “small, medium and big, which we tried to give to all the moms.”

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