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“I am really half-Italian,” said Joan Collins at a soiree Tuesday night at Ferragamo’s Fifth Avenue showroom to herald the upcoming American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s Annual Benefit Gala. “It’s the only language I speak.”

Massimo Ferragamo, the evening’s host, showed his true colors. “Americans know how to behave, but I think Italians really know how to party better,” he said.

This story first appeared in the October 24, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Meanwhile, at Irving Plaza, the crowd that packed the house for their “In Concert” series must have had some Italian blood in them, too. They sang, clapped and danced along to hits from Missy Elliott, Tweet and Vanessa Carlton, who was just happy to be back on her home turf.

“I’m so glad to be here in my hometown, New York!” she cried. “Now, let’s do the hits.”

Of course, on Monday at the sold-out Venetian Heritage luncheon, sponsored by Chanel, guests — including co-chair Jamee Gregory, Hilary Geary, Ondine de Rothschild, Coco Kopelman and Ashley McDermott — wore their love for Italy right on their sleeves. Princess Michael of Kent gave a rousing lecture on “Italy and the Grand Tour,” waxing poetic about the wanderings of the young English milords of yore. Apparently, those prodigal sons picked up plenty while abroad — a little culture and love lessons from the Venetian courtesans.

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