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Mambo Madness

It was the kind of party where no one stayed in their seats for long. They hit the dance floor while waiters were still serving the appetizers. At the first strains of the band’s first song, "Just a Gigolo," Oscar de la Renta — or make...

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It was the kind of party where no one stayed in their seats for long. They hit the dance floor while waiters were still serving the appetizers. At the first strains of the band’s first song, "Just a Gigolo," Oscar de la Renta — or make that Oscar de la cha-cha — jumped to his feet, grabbed his co-host Gwyneth Paltrow’s hand and made a beeline for the dance floor, where he twirled, sashayed, tangoed and do-si-doed with her and just about everyone else. After all, the designer had insisted on flying in the Sammy Goz Orchestra from Paris for Tuesday night’s New Yorkers for Children benefit. The rest of the room followed suit. Carolina Herrera grabbed Ahmet Ertegun, as Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore and Nan Kempner leapt from their tables.

The shows didn’t keep anyone from staying out late. Herrera put the finishing touches on her collection the day before so she could attend.

"I’m a little nervous, but my show’s at 4 o’clock, so it should be OK."

As for Paltrow, she couldn’t sit still.

"Wiggle a little more, Gwyneth," commanded an auctioneer as she modeled the Movado watch for the room full of bidders. She did, and the price climbed up to $16,000.

"Sold!" he cried.

With nary a bartender in sight, Moore’s boyfriend, Bart Freundlich, slipped behind the bar and passed out beers to thirsty guests, while Hayek served herself some red wine.

"The bar is closed," scolded a waiter.

"I stole a beer," giggled Moore before heading back to the dance floor.

But by 11 p.m., the crowd that couldn’t sit down had grown restless. Anne McNally, Rena Sindi, Jeff Klein and Elizabeth Saltzman headed to Bungalow 8 for Diane Von Furstenberg’s post-show party without missing a beat.

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