Chelsea Clinton Marc Mezvinsky School of American Ballet Winter Ball

The School of American Ballet held its annual Winter Ball on March 14 at the David H. Koch Theater. The dancers are young, beautiful, wide-eyed, and disciplined. No feathers growing on their backs; no mental illness, enlarged pupils, or self-mutilation à la Black Swan on these teenage mobile works of art. Just fluttery, graceful performances.

Many black tie–clad ballet fans and supporters came to appreciate and applaud the prima ballerinas of the future, who hope to transition into New York City Ballet's outstanding company.

The life of a student includes hours of practice in addition to regular schoolwork. The young dancers are completely devoted to their craft, and it showed when they danced "Pièce de Résistance," specially choreographed for the evening by New York City Ballet soloist Adam Hendrickson, to perfection.

As guests gathered for drinks, I spotted multiple Tony award–winning choreographer Susan Stroman, who will be presenting a Duke Ellington–themed ballet with NYCB on May 25, For the Love of Duke.

"It's all Duke Ellington music. The dancers are not only beautifully classically trained, but they understand jazz music too. It's a wonderful combination of their classical technique to the Duke Ellington music, and it's very exciting," she said.

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Why would a bunch of men turn up at a Cosmopolitan magazine party? Because the racy women’s title was celebrating its annual Fun Fearless Males, of course. And 2011 honoree Russell Brand lived up to that title, giving a fun—hilarious, actually—speech during dinner and pulling a fearless stunt, climbing the backdrop on the red carpet.

Cosmo editor in chief Kate White said Brand is the epitome of fearless: “He’ll do anything, he’ll run around in his underwear, he’ll say anything, he married just a glorious, fabulous, fearless girl—and yet he takes his mother to the Oscars.” Aww!

Fun Fearless runners-up included Penn Badgley, who noted that he was the third of the Gossip Girl guys to get the award. “I was going to bring Chace Crawford as my date, which would have been fearless and probably bad for my image, so I left him at home,” he quipped. “You know, I haven’t gotten any awards in my four years on Gossip Girl. This is in place of all the Emmys we won’t ever win.”

Isaiah Mustafa, best known as the towel-clad Old Spice guy, got a lot of attention from the ladies at the party. He’s single! “I happen to be learning about relationships,” Mustafa said. “I haven’t gotten it down pat, so that’s why I’m a single guy. For whatever reason, I’m not doing it right, so I’ve got to figure it out.” Ladies, it’ll be fun training him.

Even Badgley became a fan: “Isaiah, you are charming!” he told the audience, to much laughter. “Good god, are you single? Well watch out!”

With the success of the Old Spice ads, Mustafa’s career has taken off; he recently shot movies with Tyler Perry and Jennifer Aniston. That cologne seems to work.

The Vampire Diaries hunk Ian Somerhalder thanked Cosmo for providing a public service: insight into the minds of the opposite sex. “It allows us men to sort of get an insight into what you women are thinking.” As a service to partygoers, Cosmo ran film clips of Somerhalder in various stages of undress.

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Eva Lorenzotti Veronica Bulgari Jackie Astier BVLGARI MON JASMIN NOIR

I love the Mediterranean. I love everything about it: the sea, the climate, the different cultures, the rich history. I love the way the air smells on a hot summer night—I'm talking Capri, under a lemon tree at 7 p.m., not Saint-Tropez, inside Les Caves du Roy at 4 a.m. (though that has a charm all its own).

So when Veronica Bulgari invited me to the launch of Bulgari's newest fragrance, Mon Jasmin Noir, in a Mediterranean Eden–inspired garden at the Bowery Hotel, I couldn't wait for my mini vacation.

And what a vacation it was, from the minute I walked up the stairs. Jasmine wafted through the air, and everywhere I turned, there was life: red-rose-filled "trees" designed for the occasion; centerpieces made of lemons, lemon peels, lemons dipped in gold, and white roses. Lewis Miller's creation was pitch-perfect; I defy anyone to "do" a better paradise than this.

The notes of Mon Jasmin Noir were artfully laid out on a table in the corner, where master perfumer and creator Olivier Polge told us it took a full year to perfect. Veronica Bulgari described it this way: "It's elegant, feminine, multiseasonal and unusual." Striking Tika Sumpter (Raina on Gossip Girl) agreed. "I like a perfume that's flirty and soft," she said.

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Lynn Whitfield, Grace Gibson

One of the great joys of growing older—and yes, dear reader, there are joys; it’s not all slouching toward the Bethlehem of a church-basement bingo game—is being an “other mother” to my friends’ children.

Recently, I brunched with the remarkable Grace Gibson, daughter of my dear friend, the brilliant actress Lynn Whitfield—who, among other accomplishments, won an Emmy for her reincarnation (for it was far more than a portrayal) of Josephine Baker in the HBO biopic about the entertainer—and the late British director Brian Gibson (of What's Love Got to Do with It fame).

Grace’s life, for all its privileges, has not been “a crystal stair,” as the poem goes (though the image hardly suggests comfort … but I digress). She lost her father, to whom she was extremely close, at the precarious age of 11, while still a student at Spence. Rather than let it destroy her, she used the loss as a source of strength and a reminder to live her life out loud.

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