Ben Walker Mamie Gummer

With the Oscars only a few days away, the buildup parties in L.A. are going full throttle. On February 22, Graydon Carter gave a cocktail at LACMA for Wendy Stark to celebrate the opening of Ray's Restaurant and Stark Bar, which is named after Wendy's father, legendary producer Ray Stark.

The Renzo Piano–designed restaurant is airy, inviting—a place you'd want to visit regularly.

"Renzo wanted to make it into a piazza, a fantastic public space, with the lamps looking on like a temple of light," said CEO and director of LACMA Michael Govan, referring to the awe-inspiring Chris Burden lampposts at the museum's entrance.

Actor Julian Sands agreed wholeheartedly: "This is the place!" he said with enthusiasm. Added Sands' wife, Evgenia Citkowitz, "The combination of high culture and food is unbeatable."

Wendy Goldberg, whose husband, Leonard, produced Unknown, the current No. 1 thriller starring Liam Neeson, was also charmed by the space: "It's adorable, it's so festive!"

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Carolyn Murphy Nicolas Bos Jason Wu

At an occasion fit for Cinderella (though in my case, an advanced-aged one), I spent several delicious hours in a mansion, ogling the ultimate objects of temptation.

No, dear reader, I wasn’t locked up at Hugh Hefner’s pseudo-Tudor manse with Chris Noth and the rest of the cast of That Championship Season, I was at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (a former Carnegie abode) for the dinner launch of the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit “Set in Style.”

Women in jewel-toned gowns and men in tuxedos meandered through the neo-18th-century rooms, referencing brooches, bracelets and minaudières on museum-provided iPads.

Treasures such as jeweled flowers (ruby peonies shimmering on stems of channel-set diamonds), woven-gold handbags, and Marlene Dietrich’s belt-shaped diamond cuff bracelet (everyday jewelry to her) were invitingly displayed in large plexiglass bubbles and were viewable from all sides.

The exhibit’s ingenious creator, Patrick Jouin (my dinner partner), described these cases as echoes of the bubbles and fairies that are signature designs of Van Cleef & Arpels (the ultimate purveyors of fairy tales for grown women).

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Dennis Basso fall 2011

Dennis Basso knows how to throw a party. He and his partner, Michael Cominotto, understand the importance of details like lighting, an interesting mix of people, delicious food, the right setting, and elegant touches like calligraphed name cards and menus, of course.

But their parties have more than that—that unexplainable element that makes a party an event, that makes you happy you're there, that you didn't miss this moment, this conversation, this relaxed vibe in a gorgeous (and sometimes formal) place.

On February 15, Dennis gave a celebratory dinner after his beautiful afternoon fashion show (see more on that from the Ethnic Chicks, aka Susan Fales-Hill and me), at the newly opened La Petite Maison, the New York branch of the legendary restaurant from Nice and London, owned by the attractive and charming David Barokas.

Located in a townhouse that was the seat of the Rockefeller offices in the '50s, and later Aquavit, La Petite Maison is a wood-paneled beauty of a restaurant, with soft lighting that makes everyone look like they got a good night's sleep—and who really gets a good night's sleep during Fashion Week?

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Deborah Roberts Divas Luncheon

After the Carolina Herrera show at Lincoln Center (Theme of the collection: “Ladylike,” a big relief in the days of “Wardrobe by Strippers ‘R Us,”) I dashed uptown to the legendary Apollo Theater for their first annual Divas luncheon.

Many of us got to fulfill a lifelong dream: to be on stage, granted we were just eating and talking, but we were on THAT stage which has been graced by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Mary J. Blige.

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