2011 November 7

Ave Maria

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Mario Buatta Mario Buatta
Billy Farrell Agency
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(NEW YORK) Going out—you know, out-out, as in black tie—on a Friday night during the harried social season? Not always a welcome prospect. But then again, the Casita Maria Fiesta is a far cry from the oaky-chardonnay-fueled affairs that dominate your weeknights this time of year. This event, held long after sundown at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, was chaired by Jacqueline Weld Drake, Aileen Mehle & H.R.H. Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and it was the kind of thing where the cocktail hour was extended, the dance floor was packed well before the dinner, and the band was ten pieces, by a conservative assessment. Robert Verdi served as emcee, and his non sequitur tales of warring egos (Ralph v. Oprah) drew laughs from the non-editorial set, and silence from the advertiser-conscious. (We'd be more specific, but we spent most of the dinner gorging ourselves with filet while ogling Mikhail Baryshnikov at a nearby table.)

Roberto Cavalli, Luis Ubiñas, Julio Larraz and Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian were honored for their support of the Casita, a not-for-profit org in the Bronx that offers arts and education programs to empower youth to succeed in the arts, at school, and in their communities. Other fashionable supporters included Carlos Campos, Angel Sanchez, Mary McFadden, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Fe Fendi, and Christine and Steve Schwartzmann. A silent auction, filled with Buccellatti and beyond, was open late enough to draw high bids from the well-lubricated Casita megafans. Discussing dear Roberto: Kate Lanphear and Karla Martinez. Preening for the paps: Jean Shafiroff. Table-hopping: Christian Cota. Everyone else: dancing, of course.



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