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But as the last minutes of the silent auction ticked away, members of the old guard employed another time-honored auction: strategy. They stood nonchalantly and unmovably in front of the tables where bids were recorded, blocking any and all counteroffers.
Another so-called silent auction, held at the Christian Dior boutique to benefit New Yorkers for Children on Thursday night, attracted a much more raucous crowd. If revelers like Jennifer Creel, Helen Schifter and Kathy Francey were dissuaded from bidding, it was because a seething mob swept them along and kept them from reaching the bid sheets.
Certified uptown ladies, like Veronica Hearst, rubbed shoulders -- literally -- with a downtown element that included Heatherette's Richie Rich, the design team of As Four and a countless number of adorably scruffy models and artistic types, one of whom came in cradling his skateboard. John Galliano, whose new Dior watch was launched for the occasion, would have loved it.
Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos escaped the throng by wedging herself between two glass display cases. Across the aisle, artist Victor Matthews stood in front of the painting of a dreadlocked butterfly he had donated, scribbling his e-mail address on Post-It notes for potential patrons like Valesca Guerrand-Hermes.
"Whenever I get tired of being uptown, Victor rescues me," said Kanavos, who has known the artist for years. "He takes me to the places New York is really about.""