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The Party Guild

Decadence took a bad rap in 2002. Girls-gone-wild Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith led the charge. Lizzie Grubman was locked up, then set free again. Winona Ryder got caught stealing, and the Hilton sisters went on perpetual parade. Alfred...

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Decadence took a bad rap in 2002. Girls-gone-wild Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith led the charge. Lizzie Grubman was locked up, then set free again. Winona Ryder got caught stealing, and the Hilton sisters went on perpetual parade. Alfred Taubman, Dennis Kozlowski, Jack Welch and a pack of badly behaving ceo’s crashed Humpty Dumpty-style. Even her majesty Martha Stewart took a spill.

But as the scandals cooled, New York’s most fabulous couldn’t deny themselves a wild party or two. Last Thursday saw Gilded Age excess both Uptown and Down with Rena Kirdar Sindi’s blowout at the Versace Boutique and Marc Jacobs’ company party at Capitale.

A roving pack of jestering little people wandered the Jacobs fete, an ode to Moulin Rouge. There was a naughty French maid here, a sword swallower there, a balloon-bedecked ballerina and fleets of cancan girls. Baz Luhrmann would have been impressed. "I’m lucky that my boys like to dress up," said Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy, who, along with the male contingent of his staff, channeled Mughal maharajas in turbans and dhotis. Zöe Cassavetes took a less labor-intensive approach. "It’s called ‘I just found it today,’" joked Cassavetes, who had yanked her skirt north to wear as a strapless dress.

Others fashioned more elaborate and more scandalous costumes. "Is there really a naked Santa?" asked a wide-eyed Hilary Swank. Not quite, though a very buff Mr. Claus turned up sporting a red corset and HotPants.

But for all the decadence and purported iniquity of the scene, it truly was a family party. Loud cheers went to the ladies of the sample room — some of whom have been around since the Perry Ellis days — as they won a trophy for Best Group costumes.

At the Versace boutique, it was decadence of the classic New York variety. Traffic stopped on Fifth Avenue as masked figures flung shimmering gold paillettes from a balcony onto the revelers — 200 bona fide socials — entering below.

Like every Rena party, it started late, and ended really late, leaving guests with plenty of champagne to drink and plenty of time to drink it. The theme: glitter. Leave it to Bronson van Wyck to coat himself in gold paint. "It’s aluminum chloride. Deep healing treatment," said van Wyck, who came with a matching party-crasher, Robbie Hammond. By the time dinner was served, an allergic reaction was setting in, and van Wyck was forced to sit on his hands to resist scratching.
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