Fine-Feathered Friends

Everyone was on his or her best behavior Monday night at the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even the peacocks.

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va-va-va-voom outfit looked like she was ready to work another type of stage).

Those who didn't have the comforting arm of a paramour went one better: a designer.

"I'm always really anxious at these sorts of things," admitted Christina Ricci, who arrived promptly at 7 p.m. with Francisco Costa. "But I loved my dress so much, I was just leaping and leaping around my room."

Eva Mendes arrived on the arm of Michael Kors. "We're secretly dating," she joked. Marc Jacobs and Winona Ryder made a foursome with Stefano Pilati and Moore, Valentino walked Garner through the exhibit and Donatella Versace brought Swank.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus snapped pics of the peacocks — feathered and human — with date Narciso Rodriguez. "I could be the night's official photographer," said the comedienne.

The sluggish receiving line had some guests clucking impatiently, however. "Why is it so slow?" griped Mick Jagger, heading toward the quartet of greeters — Mayor Michael Bloomberg ("Hi, I'm Mike"), Cate Blanchett, Nicolas Ghesquière and Anna Wintour. "You curtsy and I'll bow," Jagger joked to fellow Brit Daphne Guinness.

Once inside the Charles Engelhard Court, guests were rubbernecking as they feasted their eyes on the elaborate ensembles and the even more elaborately decorated space, created by Jean-Hugues de Chatillon and Raul Avila. The entire room was swathed in varying Poiret-esque prints, down to the amorphous chandeliers. Guests supped on rosette de saumon fumé aux perles noires and escalope de veau aux morilles, before kicking back to listen to a Kors-clad Jennifer Hudson give an enthusiastic performance that probably was heard at MoMA 30 blocks away.

But it wasn't all play and no work for the 750-strong crowd. Rupert Murdoch was seen having an intense tête-à-tête with Harvey Weinstein (about The Wall Street Journal, perhaps?), while Bill McComb of Liz Claiborne huddled with his new partner Rodriguez, who was repeatedly congratulated throughout the night over the deal.
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