KICK OFF: The Valentino boutique on 65th Street and Madison Avenue provided respite from muggy Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon. Valentino (in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York) was expecting around 50 guests for the lunch, and had laid out two long white tables set with small bouquets of blush colored roses and green-tinged hydrangeas next to their places. Accessing the tables led one through the latest collection, the dotted silks and pearl-encrusted collars catching more than a few eyes en route: “Oh, I want everything,” was a common refrain, as guests sipped cocktails and greeted each other. The “real party” is taking place at the Plaza on October 12; this was just to “kick things off,” Shafi Roepers said. Debbie Bancroft, Sara Ayres, Allison Aston and Alexandra Lebenthal were among the guests. “Oh I’m sure I must know somebody here…” Marisa Noel Brown laughed before heading into the party and the open arms of some friends.

“I’ve been involved with the museum for something like 19 years,” Tara Rockefeller explained. “It’s really wonderful — such a gem of a place. They have a Beaton exhibit soon, and their costume collection is just incredible. It’s really the only museum that focuses on the history of New York and its preservation. Valentino was a perfect partner: the designs are timeless, classic, you know…” Rockefeller smoothed her Valentino jacket. “I mean, it’s why I wear the label again and again. Their clothes are oddly always practical, considering how beautiful they are.”

This story first appeared in the September 30, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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