The 750-strong at the Costume Institute's party at the Met came away humming from the gardenia-glutted, topiary-cluttered scenery.

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Among those pinpointed in the crush were Mercedes Bass, posing kittenishly for the photographers, in Oscar de la Renta’s black beauty with enormous flower cutouts that flowed from a tailored bodice to the floor and beyond. By her side were her friends Jayne Wrightsman in lacy white with long sleeves and Annette de la Renta in Oscar’s twinkling black fairy tale of a ballgown. Her daughter, Eliza Bolen, looked simply wonderful in maybe the best-looking dress in the whole place.

Buckley, who along with Vreeland oversaw the Costume Institute’s gala in its most glittering years, was elegant in black and Lily Safra was outstanding in a fitted black jacket with a long black chiffon and feather tiered skirt by Chanel and 18th-century flowered diamond earrings.

Carolina Herrera wore a snow-white taffeta blouse and a black pouf skirt made by Carolina Herrera. She had to rearrange the place cards at her table to move Lynn Wyatt, in a cream colored vintage Chanel, closer to her after Katie Holmes canceled at the eleventh hour, citing personal reasons believed to be related to her still wet-behind-the-ears relationship with Tom Cruise, but throwing Carolina’s table into disarray. Cornelia Guest, in from Los Angeles where she had just finished doing an independent movie, corralled her blonde mane into long waves and soft curls, slipped on her gumball-sized pearl and diamond earrings by Chopard and chose a pewter colored satin sheath with jeweled appliqués at the bodice by Badgley Mischka. Lauren Bush wore Ralph Lauren’s form-fitting black sheath with black beaded crisscross straps around her neck and waist. She arrived with Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan, who was wearing a white satin column with a plunging neckline. They were accompanied by Dylan’s brother David Lauren, who has been regularly and happily escorting Lauren Bush tither and thither.

Tinsley Mortimer wore a voluminous pale pink ballgown designed by 21-year-old Joe Cheng, which none other than Nicole Kidman complimented her on, not once, but twice. Kevin Costner’s wife, Christine, wore strapless silver by Ralph Lauren and Amanda Hearst was in a clinging cocoa-colored gown by Karl Lagerfeld.
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