Mary-Louise Parker Charlie Mars

The American Ballet Theater Fall Gala, in the newly renovated City Center, featured an extraordinary series of short ballets.

The performance was followed by dinner at the Plaza, where guests were still speaking of how dazzling the final piece was, with costumes by Norma Kamali and music by Philip Glass.

"I saw it a few years ago, and I remember being awed. It was just as moving this time," said Sarah Arison, clad in a black and white Carolina Herrera, as we entered the Palm Court, where Charlie Mars, Zang Toi, Natalia Costa, Timo Weiland and Carlos Mota mingled with the dancers and looked for their seats.

Mary Louise Parker, in a long black Halston number, was equally enthralled.

"I thought it was thrilling," said the Weeds star. "I was holding my breath for the last 10 minutes. I felt the dancers were giving us so much, it was just so beautiful."

Parker was sitting with co-chair Ashley McDermott, who was resplendent in black lace J. Mendel.

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Michael Cominotto, Carrie Fisher, Dennis Basso

Mental illness is a devastating disease that has many forms, and affects millions of Americans, yet people who are ill often try to hide it. The 2011 Silver Hill Hospital Gala's focus is to help patients who suffer from mental illness, and to raise awareness of the disease.

"Tonight is about chipping away a little bit more at the stigma of mental illness. Let's talk about it," said Michael Cominotto, who served as honorary co-chair for the evening with his fiancé, Dennis Basso.

Basso and Cominotto chaired the first gala in 2010, and it's a testament to both that the two evenings were successful and well-attended.

"I know about Silver Hill hospital, it's a great institution," said Veronica Bulgari, who was there to support friends. "I think it's remarkable that they had never done a major fundraiser until last year; they brought together a very large group that didn't really know much about the hospital. They gathered great energy and have created a big following."

Carrie Fisher was the honoree.

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Mark Badgley, James Mischka, Kelly Osbourne

How do you get Mark Badgley, James Mischka, Kelly Osbourne, Sade Baderinwa, Glenda Bailey, Kenneth Cole, and Cornelia Guest to tear up? Put them in a room with 700 equally moved people at the Phoenix House Fashion Awards dinner and have them listen to 20-year-old Sophia Capria, a recovering addict, tell the story of how she overcame her dependence on drugs and a full-blown eating disorder to become an accomplished, articulate and productive woman.

"There's nobody else there for these people besides Phoenix House," said the organization's chairman of the board, Jeff McDermott. "We are there for the kids who get a little bit messed up and need help getting on the right track. 14,000 lives a year are what we touch and save."

Jeff and his wife Ashley—stunning in Fendi, Dennis Basso and Sidney Garber earrings—were captivated by the speeches given by honorees Pamela Fiori, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, and Brendan Hoffman, whose lives have all been touched by family members with addiction problems.

Kelly Osbourne, wearing Mark and James, introduced her friends.

"You are two of the kindest men in the fashion industry. Truly, you both have big hearts. What you've done for Phoenix House is incredible," said Osbourne. Mischka followed with a wrenching speech about his brother's crystal meth addiction and recovery.

"We started our company in the shadow of Phoenix House," Mischka told me. "We were in Hell's Kitchen and Phoenix House was an overwhelming presence there. We've always been aware of their efforts to give back to the community. We've seen so many lives shattered by addiction in the fashion industry. It's really extraordinary the way Phoenix House gives back. Any client that walks in they'll accept to put in their program."

"Hope, dreams, and a reason for living. That's what Phoenix House is," said Fiori, whose sister is a recovering addict.

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Douglas Hannant Patricia Clarkson

What makes a perfect benefit? A worthy cause, a beautiful setting, keeping the speeches to a minimum, a superb performance by a rock legend, auction items to die for, and a dance performance by Charles Askegard are an excellent place to start.

The Alzheimer's Association Rita Hayworth Gala, underwritten by Rolex, had all this and more.

The ballroom at the Waldorf was transformed into black and white Hollywood Glamour heaven by designer David Monn. Nicole Miller and Kim Taipale, the Honorable David Paterson, Gala Chairs Anne and Jay McInerney, and Gary and Diana Fisketjon kiss-kissed and caught up.

"I'm so happy, I have the perfect trifecta tonight," said Patricia Clarkson, in an ultra feminine black and red gown. "David Hyde Pierce is a dear friend, I did the introduction to a Rita Hayworth boxed DVD set, and I'm wearing Douglas Hannant," she continued, as Hannant beamed.

The legendary Patty Smyth took the stage, wearing a black lace Chanel jumpsuit and a stunning Van Cleef & Arpels necklace.

"I'm going to dedicate this song to you, because tonight we are all warriors in the fight against this disease," said Smyth before rocking the house with Scandal's hit, "I Am The Warrior."

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