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New York’s crème de la crème made their way Tuesday to the Metropolitan Opera House for a luncheon in honor of the American Ballet Theatre’s women of the year — Judy Peabody and WWD’s own Aileen Mehle. Tables were set up right on the opera house stage, decorated as Verona for the company’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” and Carolina Herrera, the event’s chairwoman, greeted the city’s most passionate ballet lovers while modeling luncheon sponsor Movado’s new ballet-inspired watch. And they were all there — from HRH Infanta Elena of Spain to Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, C.Z. Guest to Pat Buckley, Sloan Barnett to Ré Vive’s Dr. Gregory Bays Brown and from Muffie Potter Aston to Veronica Hearst.

Schlossberg reminisced about her days as a copy kid working for the Daily News, delivering Mehle, who once worked there, reports from around the globe. “She is a great patron of the arts as well as a keen journalist,” said Schlossberg. “She has an insightful eye and unflappable sense of style.”

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

While they were at it, the revelers, including ABT Juliets Paloma Herrera and Julie Kent, as well as all the Romeos, took the opportunity to celebrate Mehle’s birthday with a giant pink cake and a round of singing.

“I seldom go to lunch,” Mehle told the crowd. “As my friend Pat Buckley asked, ‘Did you get up at midnight to come here?’”

Of course, at midnight, only 12 hours earlier, Lincoln Center looked like a regular disco inferno. The New York City Ballet’s supporters stormed the dance floor for the Dance with the Dancers gala, sponsored by Valentino and hosted by Helen Schifter, Tara Rockefeller, Muffy Flouret and Jeff Klein, who arrived in a white stretch limo. The fete’s ragingly popular disco theme meant a sizzling performance by Deborah Harry, glam Seventies fashion and studly bartenders clad only in their briefs.

Most guests skipped dinner and hit the dance floor never to sit down again. “I’m channeling my inner Bianca,” Schifter announced, dressed in a sparkling Valentino top and crisp white pants.

Though the crew didn’t truck in Studio 54’s Man in the Moon for the event, the buff bartenders — doomen by day at Klein’s City Club hotel — set the tone.

“Welcome to Jeff Klein’s bar mitzvah,” cried Michael Kors, doused in Halston’s Z-14 and sporting oversized sunglasses. An afro-wigged Cynthia Rowley demonstrated her jump splits. Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos flipped her feathered hair. Charles Askegard channeled his inner pimp daddy in a polyester suit.

He wasn’t the only one tricked out in polyester. “If you dropped a match, this whole room would ignite,” said Tory Burch.

Aston, who danced until her platform heel broke, lacquered up her lips for the occasion. “How could anyone ever make out in the Seventies?” she marveled.

Bettina Zilkha had the answer: “They were all looking for a little fallen powder.”

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