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A Toast to Hilfiger’s Engagement

"If I'd known it was going to be this great, I would have been engaged a lot earlier," said Tommy Hilfiger.

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Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo.

Photo By John Calabrese

“If I’d known it was going to be this great, I would have been engaged a lot earlier,” said Tommy Hilfiger as he and his fiancée Dee Ocleppo were honored at a party given Monday night by Leonard Lauder at the Neue Galerie in Manhattan.

A crowd of about 200 gathered to celebrate the upcoming marriage set for Aug. 8 at Hilfiger’s home in Mustique in the West Indies. Among the guests were Terry Lundgren, Vera Wang, Kenneth Cole, Harvey Weinstein, Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, Roger Waters, Anna Wintour and William and Aerin Lauder.

Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., said he had two words of advice for Hilfiger: “Yes, Dee.”When asked why he decided to throw a party for Hilfiger, Lauder recounted his more than 15-year relationship with the designer, who was Lauder’s first licensee.

“We’ve been partners from Day One,” Lauder continued, describing the growing closeness of their relationship.“It’s been a love affair all those years. We’ve finished each other’s sentences,” said Lauder. “I was worried about him being single. When I met Dee, I thought, we need to get this engagement going right away.”

“He hit the jackpot,” said Weinstein.

According to Ocleppo, the ceremony will be held by the sea in the backyard of Hilfiger’s island home, which is called Palm Beach. The event will be limited to just family and their six shared children.

A “celebration” of the marriage will be held at a reception Oct. 17 in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in New York.Ocleppo, an American former model who had lived in Monte Carlo and Paris, first met Hilfiger in Saint-Tropez back in July 2005. When asked how they first met, Ocleppo recalled going to a bar to get change for a 500 euro note to buy her son something off the beach and unexpectedly got introduced to Hilfiger through his yoga instructor. “My son was being very greedy that one day at the beach and kept wanting me to buy everything from tattoos to peanuts,” said Ocleppo. “Had I not gone to the bar to get change, I would have never meet him.”
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