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Crash Course

The social set got a power workout Tuesday night, trotting up and down Fifth Avenue among a host of soirees.

Waris Ahluwalia with Chiara Clemente in Chanel
The social set got a power workout Tuesday night, trotting up and down Fifth Avenue among a host of soirees. For many, the race began at Tory Burch's apartment at the Pierre, where the blonde designer feted Bobbi Brown's latest tome on the art of makeup application, "Living Beauty."

"I met Tory through doing her shows," explained Brown.Stopping by to toast her were Aerin and Jane Lauder; Lauren duPont; Lorraine Bracco; Vera Wang; Lillian von Stauffenberg; Burch's former husband, Chris, and Kenneth Jay Lane, who wandered through the crowd puffing on a cigarette. Though the reception rooms were full to bursting, Burch said she didn't mind having such a crowded house. "When you've got three boys, you can't worry," she joked.

The guest who drew the most stares was Burch's date, Lance Armstrong, who walked in swigging a Miller Lite and promptly got the attention of every girl in the place. Armstrong, in town for only a week, was good-natured about dealing with New York society: "I love it," proclaimed the Texan.

But not everyone at the affair was a close, personal friend of Burch or Brown. Josh Lucas was crashing parties all over town. "We were casing the Pierre," said the actor, who's filming "Six Bullets From Now," a movie about a real-life burglary of the famed hotel's safe. "That's how I ended up at Tory's."

Afterward, Lucas and others stopped by the dinner at the Consulate General of India for jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia. The tented dining room was packed, as was the cocktail party at Bergdorf Goodman that preceded it.

"There's a beautiful necklace back there of a hand that goes around the neck," Alba Clemente told Fran Lebowitz.

"I'll take your word for it," Lebowitz replied, not anxious to battle the crush of designers, socials, artists, party crashers and countless Clementes in attendance — after all, Ahluwalia dates Francesco and Alba's daughter, Chiara.

Indeed, the designer's social network was out in full force. "Weren't you in 'The Life Aquatic'?" Ahluwalia's mom asked actor Willem Dafoe, who costarred in the film with her son.
And Lucas seems to be auditioning for the part of most active socialite; the actor also showed up at Ghislaine Maxwell's Upper East Side town house for a buffet dinner, cohosted by von Stauffenberg, kicking off a two-day extravaganza celebrating Allegra Hicks' new Madison Avenue store.

But it would take more than an uninvited guest to ruffle Maxwell's feathers — the hostess remained calm as she welcomed the likes of Jennifer Creel, Renée Rockefeller, Amanda Brooks and Rena Sindi (who was in town to host another dinner for the designer on Wednesday). Hicks' business partner Pia Marocco revealed that Maxwell was experiencing some nerves. "Ghislaine said to me, 'Why did I agree to do this?'" she laughed.

Lucas said he was getting vertigo from his rapid social ascension. "It's a bit weird to be up here," he said. "I live in Chinatown."