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Leave it to artist Takashi Murakami to cause as much of a stir in New York as the impossible-to-find bags he and Marc Jacobs created for Louis Vuitton. A veritable mob, including the artistically inclined Mariko Mori, Toland Grinnell, Anh Duong, Yvonne Force, Hope Atherton, Julian Schnabel, Cecily Brown and Damien Loeb, packed the Marianne Boesky Gallery on Thursday night when Jacobs and Interview magazine hosted a caviar and champagne-fueled bash for the opening of Murakami’s exhibition.

In fact, the galleries were so packed, guests bumped and scraped their way past Murakami’s fabulous works. “Always a curator,” sighed Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum of Harlem as she shoved a teetering fan clear of a painting. Nearby, a Def Jam record exec stood guard over his own purchase.

This story first appeared in the April 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Stop leaning on it,” he barked.

In the center of it all, Murakami held court. “I’m not doing any tourist things here — all meetings,” said the artist, who is currently creating a public work — a mushroom fantasy land — for Rockefeller Center.

On Tuesday night, the very artistic husband-and-wife team of Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, along with Hermès, hosted their own evening for the arts, the TriBeCa Ball, which benefits the New York Academy of Art.

“I’ve just been in Jordan with the King of Jordan scouting locations for ‘Alexander the Great,’” said Luhrmann, who also visited Thailand to scout elephants with — who else? — a Thai prince. There swilling cocktails were Harvey Weinstein, Anna Wintour, Sarah Murdoch (fresh from class at NYU) and Nicole Kidman, who arrived two hours fashionably late.

Earlier that day, it was a lunch at the Versace boutique to benefit Memorial Sloan Kettering that got Tory Burch, Hilary Dick, Courtney Moss and Alexis Waller experimenting with color. Though Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos put on a vintage Versace suit in lilac for the affair, Eugenie Niven donned Versace for the first time. “Most of us have never worn much Versace,” said Anne Grauso, sporting a kaleidoscopic top. “We gave each other a mini fashion show.”

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