Saturday at Dolce: Inside Dolce and Gabbana's Fifth Avenue Flagship Bash


If you want to ensure some serious star wattage at your store opening party, then throwing it the Saturday before the Met Ball is a safe bet. To wit, just some of the celebrities who were spotted at the reopening of the Dolce and Gabbana Fifth Avenue boutique: Gisele Bundchen; Kylie Minogue; Chloe Sevigny; Stephanie Seymour; Emilia Clarke; Spike Lee; Stacy Keibler; Erin Heatherton; and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Nor were they roped off and sequestered in some VIP section; in fact, there was not even a formal step-and-repeat -- a rarity for New York events in general, but especially a surprise given the high celebrity count of this one.

Nope, at this fete, the bold-faced names were mingling and drinking champagne (or San Pellegrino) with the rest of us. Of course, it helped that much the "rest of us" consisted of fashion staples and other scene-y types the likes of co-host Giovanna Battaglia; Nicky Hilton; Harry and Peter Brant; Derek Blasberg; Coco Brandolini D'Adda; Amy Sacco; Brad Goreski; the Roitfeld clan; Natalie Dormer; Harley Viera-Newton; and Phillip Bloch, who took me downstairs at some point mid-evening to check out the men's collection. As it turned out, I wanted practically everything in that department, too.

The theme of the party was "flavors of Sicily," and if the decor -- complete with its massive chandeliers and plush velvet couches -- did not do the trick, then the fresh Sant Ambroeus San Daniele prosciutto (accompanied by hunks of parmesan cheese), olive bread, mini caprese sandwiches, and marzipan fruit candy did. OK, so Sant Ambroeus is Milanese, but with these delicacies why nitpick? The piece de resistance of the evening came courtesy of another "Met" -- the opera, that is.

For a true taste of Italy, guests were treated to a performance by Metropolitan Opera tenor, Matthew Polenzani, and soprano Ellie Dehn. The performers were accompanied by a cellist, a pianist, two violinists and a violist as they sung some of the most famous Italian arias like "Una furtiva lagrima (L'Elisir d'amore)," "Brindisi (La Traviata)" and the classic "O Sole Mio." Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, both longtime supporters of the Metropolitan Opera, were thoroughly enjoying their Big Apple stay and looking forward to the Met Ball, which they were attending for the first time in several years.

"It has been great to see old friends, and we are looking forward to seeing even more of our friends on Monday," they told me. Yes, but who of their friends will make fashion's biggest night out's best dressed list?