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Forget the spring equinox. The true marker of the changing seasons, at least in Manhattan social time, is the Friends of New Yorkers for Children's annual New Year's in April: A Fool's Fete. This year's incarnation, sponsored by Akris and held Thursday night, drew cabin fever stricken partygoers to the Mandarin Oriental's Ballroom. And judging from their prompt arrival times and bold dress choices, it seemed many in the crowd had been experiencing black tie withdrawal. Julie Macklowe, Melissa George, event chair Marisa Brown (who was celebrating her birthday), Fabiola Beracasa, Emmy Rossum, Coralie Charriol Paul, Brian Reyes, Georgina Chapman, Lauren duPont, Jennifer Creel and Zani Gugelmann caught up during a jam-packed cocktail hour while Tinsley Mortimer wandered around sans camera crew (apparently some "High Society" affairs are still sacred). In one corner, Zac Posen used his date Tiiu Kiuk's SUV-sized ball gown to give Mamie Gummer a textiles lesson.
"Look at the print," he enthused, pulling at her dress. "And it even has pockets." Malin Akerman, in town for the Gen Art premiere of her film "Happythankyoumoreplease," was getting a crash course in New York charity circuit activities.
"I don't go to many black ties in L.A. This is so classy—it feels like a wedding," she remarked, surveying the ballroom's long, glowing tables. "I almost wish I had worn a gown, but this will be much better for dancing later," she added of her short, black sheath.
After much urging from organizers, the chatty crowd sat down to a dinner of tomato and mozzarella salads and steak. Selita Ebanks and Lonneke Engel tried to one-up each other with tweets in between checking out their fellow attendees' evening attire choices. "This party has the best dresses because no one is safe," said Engel as a lime green caftan passed by.
Nor did they play it safe on the dance floor, which was soon crammed with people elbowing for space.
"Who wants a staid party?" said one guest before she headed out to the The Standard’s 18th Floor to continue the revelry. "What I love about New Yorkers for Children is that everyone gets wasted."