“I feel like a worm on a hook,” said Chuck Close at the Whitney gala, where his giant self-portrait dangled above diners’ heads.
“I’m thrilled to be here tonight, because it proves I’m still breathing,” said Lauren Bacall at the Women in Hollywood dinner in Beverly Hills. “A lot of people think I’m dead.” Guests Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Connelly and Amy Adams were on hand to honor her, as was Rob Reiner, who recalled that when the two once went shopping together, he hoped to catch a glimpse of her as she was changing. “I wanted to see what Bogey saw,” he said.
A few days later, Valentino was honored in London at Swarovski Fashion Rocks at the Royal Albert Hall, where the celeb quotient was so high—Whitney Houston, Kate Moss and Gwyneth Paltrow—that some guests got jitters. “I was so nervous, I drank my first nondiet Coke in years,” said presenter Georgina Goodman.
At the Akris-sponsored Whitney Museum gala in New York, Chuck Close was the one in the spotlight: A giant self-portrait of the artist stared down at diners. “I feel like a worm on a hook,” he said. Meryl Streep was one of the few Close friends whose portrait wasn’t on display. “I did one of those,” Streep said, gesturing to a daguerreotype of Kate Moss. “But the lights he uses hurt my eyes too much. Not like Kate Moss—she’ll look at anything.”
Later that week, no one could take their eyes off Padma Lakshmi and ex-husband Salman Rushdie, who had a dramatic reunion at the Keep a Child Alive benefit. “They are not back together,” said a friend of the couple’s. “But she misses him.”
And everyone is still talking about Allison Sarofim’s surrealism-theme Halloween party at her West Village town house. The hostess’s peacock costume took the cake. Then again, Cynthia Rowley actually wore a cake—people even lit their cigarettes off her candles.