The annual spring New Yorkers for Children gala—which benefits youth in foster care—is dubbed New Year’s in April: A Fool’s Fete and certainly it felt like the weather gods were playing some mean prank on its numerous supporters last night as monsoon-worthy rain swept across the city.
“It was so windy out there I was like, ‘I need to bring out my inner Beyoncé wind machine,’” joked Kerry Washington as she entered the Mandarin Oriental’s Ballroom, site of the event, this year sponsored by Madison Avenue boutique Soigné K, which sells fashion by Indian designers. That would explain the floral leis that were handed out upon arrival.
“I guess it’s to make it look like an [Indian] wedding?” offered a puzzled Rachel Roy.
Less in need of explanation was the ballroom itself, decked out like a Bollywood set with tables covered in red and silver fabric and topped with blue, red and mustard canopies. A rainbow of lanterns illuminated the scene.
And quite a crush it was, despite the absence of the two starlet vice chairs Leighton Meester and Kate Bosworth (“Where is Kate? Have you seen Kate?” the photographers queried). Lonneke Engel, Honorary Chair Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Selita Ebanks, Karolina Kurkova, Hilary Rhoda, Bettina Zilkha, Olivia Chantecaille, Yigal Azrouel, Lara Meiland, Christian Siriano and Zani Gugelmann formed a crowd during cocktails. And that wasn’t counting the extra bodies some of the ladies were carting around in the form of their enormous gowns.
“That’s a lot of dress,” remarked one guest to Tinsley Mortimer as she tried to maneuver her poufy, floral-bedecked Dior number.
“Bill Cunningham told me to suck my stomach in!” laughed Julie Macklowe in a long, body-con Yigal Azrouel look. “He’s right. I had a lot to eat today.”
It appeared others had, too, considering how long it took the chairs to coax guests into their seats for dinner and speeches.
“Let me see if I don’t screw this up,” said co-event chair Marisa Noel Brown as she introduced Naseeb Dance Group, who performed later in the evening. “[They do] Indian, neo-classical, fusion hip hop choreography.”
When the dancers finally took to the floor, after a fusion of arugula salad and Tandoori marinated chicken, model Arlenis Sosa did some fancy handwork in her seat that rivaled theirs (and gave me an impromptu lesson in hand modeling—who knew there was a “Steven Meisel finger?”).
Then it was time for MJ’s “Don’t Stop ‘till You Get Enough” that lured most of the crowd onto the dance floor, though not Zac Posen and Crystal Renn, who watched from the bar sidelines.
“It’s Z Spoke,” Renn enthused of her reasonably-priced, va-va voom dress. Less so the Fred Leighton jewels. “They’re going to take them off me before I go to bed,” she said as a very eager woman nearly knocked Posen over on the way to the closing silent auction.
“It’s socialite warpath,” he quipped.
Photos: Billy Farrell Agency