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"When does the jousting begin?" was a joke made throughout the night — funny the first time around, less so after the 25th. Many compared it to Disneyland or one of those medieval theme restaurants off in the wilds of New Jersey. Thank goodness dinner wasn't huge legs of mutton or pork, but lobster or steak potpies.
Medieval times aside, the night was really about one thing: shopping. Celebrities, socialites and every designer in town, including a few in from Europe, scoured the racks for discounted designer goods, all in the name of raising money for HIV/AIDS research.
Those arriving on time scored some of the hottest deals. Unfortunately, a few of the CFDA/Vogue fund finalists who were being awarded turned up a tad late, their cars having driven them to the uptown armory by mistake.
The photography booth — offering delights from Helmut Newton to David Bailey and Miles Aldridge — was the first to sell out, with eager buyers lining up at 5 p.m. before the doors opened. That left guests including Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, David and Sybil Yurman, Diane von Furstenberg, Amy Adams, Dita Von Teese, Eve (whose dress of coins jingled when she walked), Tommy Hilfiger and Alice Eve to peruse the furs, gowns and accessories on display. There wasn't enough Topshop on the floor if you asked Philip Green, who laid into Vogue staff for not displaying enough of the brand's product.
"Normally I would find something like this very intimidating," said Jennifer Connelly, with husband Paul Bettany in tow. "But I'm looking for a birthday present for my friend."
"I didn't even know Ralph Lauren made bears," said Francisco Costa, who picked up one of the cashmere toys. "God, they make everything."