Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts.

Dress codes can be tricky. What is the difference between “business attire” and “cocktail”? Exactly how formal is “formal”? And can someone please define exactly what “festive” entails?

Judging by the New Yorkers for Children Spring Dinner Dance, New Year’s in April: A Fool’s Fete, held Monday evening, it seems “black tie,” is up for some interpretation, as well. With Chloé as the lead fashion sponsor (and jewelry brand Lauren X Khoo as the night’s presenting sponsor), the event’s chairs had no trouble infusing the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom with some much-needed spring chic. Others took a different approach. One man walked around in a velvet jacket, white shirt unbuttoned to there, his striped tie hanging undone as though he had clothed himself in haste post-bedroom romp. Another gent wore a trench coat with a gold sequined shawl collar. Man about town Eli Mizrahi worked his actual pajamas into his layered look (they were Etro), finishing it off with sparkly blue smoking slippers. “They match my watch,” he explained, pointing to a diamond-encrusted Rafaello and Co. number.

There was plenty of sparkle among the women, too, with sequined trains and fluffy ball gown skirts turning the dance floor into a veritable minefield of potential slip-ups. “It would be interesting to compare the cost of these dresses to the cost of a scholarship,” remarked one jaded guest, referring to New Yorkers for Children’s mission to help mentor and provide educational tools for children in foster care.

Fortunately, the dress-wearers had plenty of opportunity to prove their charitable devotion. As they dug into their burrata appetizers at long tables bedecked with flickering lanterns, this year’s NYFC Guardian Scholar, Katia Steward, gave a moving speech about her journey from poverty to university. Then Christie’s Lydia Fenet took over a live auction that raised $45,000. “Keep drinking and bidding,” Fenet said in closing, in reference to an ongoing silent auction that closed at 11p.m. And they did.