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D&G's Las Vegas Flash at Henri Bendel

April 3, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

D&G Does Las Vegas Henri Bendel store Thursday, 03.29.01, 9 PM to 12 AM
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Henri Bendel brought a little Las Vegas flash to New York for an in-store party held with D&G and Elle magazine. The fashion retailer turned the first floor of its Fifth Avenue store into a casino, moving its expensive cosmetics and handbags to make room for slot machines and roulette and black jack tables from American Casino Entertainment.

But most eyes weren't on the games. The store set up a small stage near the front door, where makeup artists put body makeup on a group of people who are probably best described as “nightlife personalities": While being made up, Amanda Lepore (photographer David LaChapelle's muse) pouted in a bikini bottom, red pumps and some feathers, and another model posed wearing roller skates, bedazzled chaps and red briefs. This was an odd sight--more Manhattan-voyeuristic-trashy than Las Vegas-showgirl-flashy--but it fit D&G's sometimes outrageous, overtly sexual image.

The better entertainment of the evening came from Cirque du Soleil. Two contortionists managed to hold the attention of the jaded fashion crowd for at least four or five minutes.

Christopher Robbins, of caterer Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs, told us with the Las Vegas theme they felt they could do one of two things: go with high-roller-style or all-you-can-eat-buffet-style. Opting for the latter, they served shrimp cocktail, vegetable tempura and clams casino in a pastry shell. As a nice touch, the caterwaiters and bartenders wore white D&G-logoed T-shirts, fashionably slashed and festooned with safety pins by the folks at D&G.

The event was also a benefit for Room to Grow, a nonprofit that provides free baby products to poor New York families. The organization received the proceeds from the slot machines and the sale of gambling chips.

Despite all the D&G logos, there was, in fact, no D or G at the party--Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana weren't there. But Elle cover girl and Room to Grow advocate Uma Thurman made an appearance, and even shared some of her gambling chips with some fashion editors. (Hey, she makes a lot more than they do.) And notorious teenage party girls Nicky and Paris Hilton showed up to pose provocatively for paparazzi. (Then Paris headed downstairs to the coat check, where we watched her skip to the head of the line, grab a hanger and check her own coat.)

--Chad Kaydo

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