NEW YORK — Many of the most elegant bookworms in the city crawled out of the woodwork to attend the New York Public Library’s annual Library Lions benefit Monday night. “I don’t normally go to these things,” confided Candice Bergen, twisting her mouth and rolling her eyes in an ‘it’s too much’ fashion. “But I think the library is so special and they do a really good job.” Indeed, library trustee Gayfryd Steinberg, along with decorator David Monn, created a fall feeling by scattering russet and golden leaves and candles around the hallowed marble halls, through which wandered guests such as Nina Griscom, Vera Wang, Anna Wintour and a rarely seen Sandy Pittman.
Diane Sawyer, dressed up and out late for a morning anchor, accompanied husband Mike Nichols, who was being honored as a Library Lion. “I’m wearing Armani,” she said of her black gown. “One wears a lot of Armani, don’t you find?” While her husband chatted with literary agent Lynn Nesbitt, Sawyer said she’s a fan of her local library branch on the Upper East Side. “I just love going there — it’s so peaceful.”
Calvin Klein arrived on the arm of friend Jacqueline Davis, while co-chair Oscar de la Renta was joined by his wife, Annette. Barbara Walters, Nesbitt, co-chair H.R.H. Princess Firyal and a gaggle of others donned his frocks, but Marie-Josée Kravis opted for an exquisite Dior gown. Susan Fales-Hill, meanwhile, pulled a dress from the back of her closet, joking: “It’s 15 years old. After 15 years and one kid later, I’m just happy that I fit into it.”
That same night, the younger set, including Eva Longoria, Rachel Weisz and Behnaz Sarafpour, ventured out to Jacquetta Wheeler‘s and Esquire’s charity fete at the new Gwathmey building on Astor Place. The evening was centered around a Trivial Pursuit-like quiz with teams vying for prizes such as a Moroccan holiday at the Wheeler family home or a weekend getaway via seaplane — all to raise money for the Darna Center for Girls in Tangier. “Michael Kors is going to win, he knows everything,” proclaimed shutterbug Patrick McMullan, who was a quiz participant on an opposing team. Much to Kors’ chagrin, the Oscar de la Renta team (sans Oscar himself) came in first place. Despite the high-stakes atmosphere, even the runners-up enjoyed themselves. “I wanted to come in fourth,” insisted a gleefully pregnant Natalia Vodianova. “I want the six massages from Bliss.”
“We are more than halfway to our goal of $350,000,” said Wheeler excitedly before heading off to the after party she was hosting at The Double Seven. A bevy of her model friends, including Caroline Winberg, Daria Werbowy and Helena Christensen, joined in the late-night festivities. “I raced here for Jacquetta,” said Werbowy, having dashed to part two of the raucous evening from a Lancôme dinner.