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NEW YORK — They came, they saw, they conquered. Tutti Roma — or at least tutti Fendi, including Silvia, Carla, Fé, Alessandro and designer Karl Lagerfeld — turned out Thursday night to fete the opening of the house’s 80th anniversary. Among those who came to kiss the Fendi rings, so to speak, were Liv Tyler, Lindsay Lohan and Giorgio Armani.

“My favorite Fendi bag is the one I am carrying tonight,” said the newly brunette Lohan, who employed the services of a male friend to carry her brand-new cream patent B Fendi tote. “It doesn’t match,” she explained, “but I wanted to bring it anyway.” By evening’s end, she was clutching something that went much better: a large silver python Spy bag.

Lagerfeld, meanwhile, was impeded in his progress through the airy space by small mobs of camera-wielding Japanese fans. “I was working the whole time in my new photo studio,” he said of his New York stay. “I shot for the Neiman Marcus catalogue, for Japanese Vogue — I was working every minute.” But the high point of his trip? “Always Matsuri. It’s my favorite.”

Afterward, Celerie Kemble, Hope Atherton and Amanda Brooks traveled further uptown for dinner at Bernard Arnault‘s pied-à-terre to celebrate the new Fendi Rome Prize Fellowship, in partnership with the American Academy in Rome. Sadly, Arnault himself was unable to attend due to the death of his mother earlier in the week, but his shoes were filled by LVMH’s Sidney Toledano and Fendi chief executive officer Michael Burke. Yvonne Force, Sophie Dahl and Fabiola Beracasa admired the stunning view from the space, which overlooks Central Park.

And what’s in store for the first Fendi Rome Prize winner? “If they are good, they can work for me,” joked Burke. Not bad, considering he’s responsible for Lagerfeld remaining with the house. “A lot of people wanted me to hire someone new when I came,” he said, “but there’s no one like him.”

This story first appeared in the November 7, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Meanwhile, across town, a swarm of aspiring socialites, as well as a few bona fide ones, surged into the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its Grand Tour-themed Young Benefits Dance. The main staircase of the museum’s entryway was dramatically lit with hundreds of multicolored votive candles. “I feel like I’m on a cruise ship,” said Dabney Mercer, dressed in vintage Lanvin and bejeweled Ungaro pumps. Inside the Temple of Dendur, Eugenia Silva, Alexis Bryan, Zani Gugelmann and Eleanor Ylvisaker milled around.

Though many showed their social circuit inexperience by misinterpreting the black-tie dress code with bouffants, seamed stockings and opera-length satin gloves, some, such as actress Erika Christensen, got it just right. “As soon as I tried this on, I knew it was a winner,” she said of her understated black Escada gown.

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