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“Great turnout, huh?” Alexander McQueen observed wryly at the kickoff bash on Thursday night to celebrate the opening of his new boutique.

Upon his arrival at the store, a mass of overeager party guests swarmed the clearly agitated designer, who — surrounded by beefy security guards — quickly hotfooted it across the street, past the gigantic movie screen projecting the montage of his greatest moments that he directed, and into the Heller Gallery, which had been designated for the party overflow. Seated on a bench, he stripped down to a white tank top from his bespoke suit as a receiving line of diehard fashion fans flamed up instantly around him.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I wore this Gothic piece on my neck so I could represent him,” said Lisa Marie fingering the oversized glittery pendant at her throat.

Moby, Anh Duong and Alicia Keys, fresh from her performance at the NFL Times Square extravaganza, all dropped into the bash, which by 11 p.m. had become a full-on dance party before continuing on to Bungalow 8. Only Naomi Campbell, who snuck almost unnoticed into the gallery, couldn’t get her groove on.

“Don’t take my picture,” she snapped at a photographer. “I just got off the plane and I’m bloated.”

The following night, an equally chic crowd turned up at the Mary Boone Gallery for the opening of Toland Grinnell’s show, which included a millionaire’s camping set that collapses into chic trunks. The artist, whose penchant for high-end accessories is well documented, recognizes every designer handbag by sight.

“Mombasa,” he said eyeing one guest’s Yves Saint Laurent bag.

“Is that what it’s called?” she asked.

And Grinnell’s prediction for which designer will turn out the star bag for the upcoming season? “It’s still up for grabs,” he said, “but Gucci is looking good.”

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