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LOS ANGELES — By all means you can take Marc Jacobs out of New York, but please leave the disorganized hoopla — including the angry, impatient VIPs and the strained, combustible team manning the gates — at home. It wasn’t even 20 minutes into Thursday night’s opening gala for Jacobs’ new stores here and the mass of invited guests that spilled onto Melrose Avenue was already vying with the fire marshal to get inside. Even Anna Wintour and Debbie Harry stood in a holding pen. “Maybe we should just go to dinner,” Mario Testino said to Heatherette’s Richie Rich and Amber Valletta as he tried to boost their spirits.

Had they only known a publicist at PMK/HBH, one of whom whisked Jared Leto and 13 friends indoors — a rep at the firm told him it was a good thing he was a client. Fortunately, it was worth the wait. An eight-months-pregnant Monet Mazur, Mischa Barton, Giovanni Ribisi, Jimmy Fallon, Tori Spelling and Michelle Trachtenberg walked through an enormous arch festooned with thousands of colorful roses. The bash, benefiting The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization to preserve classic cinema, had a Technicolor theme. “The Wizard of Oz” played on billboards outdoors while, in the tents constructed for the evening, topless fairies with gossamer wings danced on platforms and a legion of kooky club kids tossed confetti in the air.

“This is insane!” shrieked Winona Ryder, looking more Audrey Hepburn than ever, as she threw her arms around Jacobs. Selma Blair, in a blue-and-white gingham Jacobs frock that evoked Dorothy Gale, took to the side patio where Jacqui Getty held court with the Coppola clan: daughter Gia, brother-in-law Roman and even patriarch Francis, who had followed his kids to the party in the hopes of spending more time with the family.

 “Come tomorrow, we’re all going to be wondering what to wear from Marc, after we get over our hangovers!” declared Perry Farrell, holding a bottle of Moët, before he tore into a set of Jane’s Addiction songs. The music quotient was high: among the girls that we’ve come to know love Marc Jacobs were Hilary Duff with sister Haylie, Christina Milian and Jewel, and Marilyn Manson with fiancée Dita von Teese, who was wearing an electric blue New Look party dress of her own design. “I keep telling her she should start her own line,” gushed the smitten rocker.

This story first appeared in the March 21, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Around midnight, as Robert Duffy scanned the crowd for novelist Francine Prose, he seemed plenty pleased with the scene: “This turned out so great,” he said, “your local fire marshal notwithstanding.”

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