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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT

An Event Fashioned of Art and Hearts

November 17, 1997|BILL HIGGINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Friday's fifth annual Race to Erase MS, benefiting multiple sclerosis research. The night at the Century Plaza Hotel included a Tommy Hilfiger fashion show opening with Naomi Campbell, performances by Sheryl Crow, No Doubt and Natalie Cole, but "no doctors quoting unrecognizable Latin terms," said co-chairwoman Nancy Davis. "The guests should learn a little about the disease, feel good about giving money and leave wanting more."

Who Was There: Co-chairs Davis, Hilfiger and VH1 President John Sykes, plus 1,260 guests, including Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cindy Crawford, Dustin Hoffman, Quincy Jones, Penny Marshall, Bill Maher, Sidney Poitier, Rita Rudner, Jimmy Connors and Marvin and Barbara Davis.

Fashion Perspective: "I'm one of those smart husbands who allows his wife to dress him," said actor Kevin Pollack. "I have what's called the Elvis Factor--nothing matches and who cares? It's like 'Go ahead, put the leopard-skin seats in the pink Cadillac.' What I have is money and good intentions, and my wife has all the taste."

The Silent Auction: Everything from a Buttmaster exerciser autographed by Suzanne Somers to diamonds set in white gold. One guest, torn between the benevolent / narcissistic poles of his personality, said he "couldn't decide between the Jack Russell terrier and the laser skin resurfacing."

Money Matters: Due to Hilfiger's underwriting (and tickets priced from $500 to $5,000), more than $2.3 million was raised, with more expected when the show airs on VH1 Dec. 19.

Overheard: One woman's comment as she admired the pack of male models in the lobby--"The problem with those beautiful men is most of them like other beautiful men."

He Did Leave Wanting More: When Davis went onstage for the finale, she left her Judith Lieber handbag on her table. She returned to find it missing. Though it seemed impossible to recover, her husband actively searched the room for the suspected thief, a notorious party crasher who had been seen lurking by Davis' table. The man was spotted in the lobby holding the purse while trying to talk his way into getting a gift bag. Though no sack went his way, he did receive a lovely set of handcuffs.

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