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A knot of 20 to 30 autograph seekers and camera-wielding passerby huddled outside Cipriani 42nd Street early Thursday evening, pointing their lenses (phone-embedded or otherwise) every which way and occasionally breaking out into excited fit.
“Josh Hartnett!” one cried, perplexedly. “Josh Hartnett!”
It was true, Hartnett was inside, fresh from filming in India, one of the many guests who turned out for El Museo del Barrio’s 2011 Gala honoring Peruvian-born photographer Mario Testino. The marble and gold columned venue suited the affair, with heavy gilt candelabras perched atop tables. Bellinis and pisco sours were the beverages of choice for the evening, wielded by revelers like Carine Roitfeld, Fe Fendi, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, who swirled around the cavernous space.
Blair Husain and Alexandra Lebenthal, both sporting gowns with floor-grazing trains, swept past Andre Balasz and Anna Wintour. Carolyn Murphy and Crystal Renn were on hand, the latter stalking over, pantherlike to greet Candice Swanepoel and Liya Kebede, both of whom donned black and white tuxedo-inspired getups.
“This was not planned,” Swanepoel giggled, “Or maybe it was?”
Yaz Hernandez clung to Testino, who expressed gratitude and pleasure at the event. An old friend, Kate Winslet, was there to give him his award.
“Mario sees people for who they really are,” Winslet said with a grin, “and his beautiful camera assistants keep us all focused.”
And is it true Testino casts for assistants?
“It’s true!” the photographer laughed. “I think it’s very important to have good looking people! They make women feel really beautiful. And I feel very important having good looking people carrying things behind me, anyway.”
Courtney Love sat at Testino’s table, with Donatella Versace and her daughter Allegra Beck. Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs chatted together during the dinner, admiring a pair of elaborate, gravity-defying hats sported by two of their tablemates.
Once the table service had been cleared and coffee had been poured, Prabal Gurung, Luigi Tadini and Harley Viera Newton all got up to dance. Alexandra Richards was DJing, though her mellower choice of music seemed to be quickly vetoed in favor of tunes of a more Latin bent.