Byline: Aileen Mehle

It didn’t boast three rings or live elephants with joined trunks or a lion tamer or a trained seal or clowns — unless there was one in the throng — you know what you are. But there were thousands of boxes of animal crackers stacked at the entrance of the Whitney Museum and Calder mobiles everywhere and a brilliant ceiling patched with dazzling colors and 1970 videos throughout starring Alexander Calder and his “fantastic, fabulous fun” menagerie figures. In fact, it was Calder himself the museum was celebrating at its annual gala, and some people didn’t realize is wasn’t a real circus (David Beahm designed the decor), they were so impressed. Calder’s famous piece “Circus,” now in the Whitney’s collection, inspired the evening, tablecloths and all.
Everyone was there. Ann Jackson, group president of Real Simple magazine and the evening’s chairwoman, wore gorgeous gray beads all over designed by Alberta Ferretti. Her co-chairs were Veronique (Mrs. Robert) Pittman, Peter Rizzo and Daryl Roth. They and the Whitney’s chairman of the board, Leonard Lauder, and his wife, Evelyn, in black silk with silver sequin stripes, received their guests in the Hurst Family Gallery before moving to the Peter Norton Galleries for dinner on the third floor.
Moving in all directions were Whitney Museum director Max Anderson and his smashing wife, Jacqueline, poured into black latex by Dolce & Gabbana; Kate and Andy Spade (and who is cuter than they are?); Candice Bergen and Marshall Rose; Karen and William Lauder; Cornelia Guest in a cream-colored tuxedo by Badgley Mischka and jumbo pearls by Harry Winston; curator Marla Prather; Sandra Bernhard in a black lace shredded top, a black skirt and knee boots; Debbie Bancroft dressed by Vera Wang, and Peggy and Richard Feigen.
Faye Wattleton was stunning, as ever, in black and glitter, and then there were Patricia Hambrecht of Harry Winston; Robert Pittman; Todd Oldham (he was the evening’s deejay); Dina Merrill; Whitney president Joel Ehrenkranz and his wife, Ann; Richard Zieglash; Karen and Richard LeFrak; the Douglas Johnsons; the magazine marvel and Time Inc. executive Ann Moore, and more, more, more.
The evening was sponsored by Target, which splashed a wall-sized, very red target at the museum’s entrance to remind you. MAC Cosmetics sponsored the after-dinner party and the wine and liquor donor was Joseph Magliocco’s Quaker Equities Ltd. But be reminded that this year’s overall event sponsor was Real Simple magazine. One was slipped in every gift bag. That’s the way it works.

After privately viewing a private viewing of a crowded showing of “Important French Furniture & Decorative Arts (1643-1850)” at the Chinese Porcelain Co. — “it is to mourir for,” said someone who was trying too hard — the cognoscenti — I use the term lightly — toddled off to manger at Swifty’s. There to dine on baby lobster in the shell, baby lamb chops and grown-up vanilla meringue cake. On tables draped with chocolate brown cloths and centered with pink roses. It was to mourir for.
Pierre Durand of Chinese Porcelain gave the dinner, and among those present were such appreciators of the finer things in life as Carolyne Roehm with her beau, the political consultant Ed Rollins. Carolyne, halter-necked and fetching in gray, is moving into her new country house in the middle of next month. It is said by connoisseurs to be beautiful beyond beautiful, and Carolyne is tres excitee. You’d be, too. Her new book, “At Home With Carolyn Roehm,” is coming out his month and Bergdorf Goodman, House Beautiful and Broadway Books are celebrating its publication on Oct. 30 with cocktails at Bergdorf’s. Carolyne is tres, tres excitee. And you’d be, too.
In the crowd were Deeda Blair, in from Washington; Carol Vogel, who writes on art for the New York Times; Kay Meehan; Ivana Miller; Diana Quasha; Blaine Trump, looking like a flower; Bettina Zilkha; Nan Kempner, on her way to Paris; Kathleen Hearst; Katherine Bryan; Carolina Herrera, and more, more, more. And such gentlemen as Conor Mahony of the Chinese Porcelain Co., Tommy Kempner, Robert Trump, Reinaldo Herrera, Mario Buatta, Johnny Galliher, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Alexander Hitz, Peter Bacanovic, Gil Shiva, and Sam Reed, plus a tiny group of others who have learned to tell 1643 from 1805.

Avon announced that it is giving a record $50 million gift to selected breast cancer charities at its “Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer” gala at Cipriani, where Joan Lunden was the mistress of ceremonies and Roberta Flack provided the entertainment. Just that one night alone raised $1.6 million. Among the evening’s decorative flourishes were a pair of giant pink lips pouting on 42nd Street, created by lighting expert Bentley Meeker, and autographed kisses by such stars as Brooke Shields, Venus and Serena Williams and Christina Aguilera. Not to be missed at the party were Ann Reinking, Mary Beth Hurt, Avon’s glamorous ceo, Andrea Jung, and, of course, half a room full of men. It helps to have them.