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Scene Last Night: Mohapatra Goat Bolero, Baroness Bea’s Writers

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Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2011
A view of Bibhu Mohapatra's Fall 2011 presentation at the Box during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Lauren Santo Domingo was the stylist. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- High above Manhattan, Bibhu Mohapatra celebrated his Fashion Week outing with cocktails last night on the 46th floor of the Trump SoHo.

Floor-to-ceiling windows offered stunning pictures of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and beyond.

The skyline provided backdrops for guests such as fellow designer Prabal Gurung and model Anjhula Singh Bais, a blogger for Vogue India.

It was a tranquil scene compared with Fashion Week’s Lincoln Center base, where temporary tents were sandwiched between the David H. Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House.

Earlier, the designer’s 33 models sported crow’s feathers at their neck or long gowns in blue and plum. For the woman who needs to be noticed, there was a bolero in long goat hair.

“The collection is about the conflict of extreme opposites that we carry in our minds: good versus evil, darkness versus light,” Mohapatra said.

The Baroness

Meanwhile, the loafer-and-pumps crowd gathered at the Center for Fiction in midtown Manhattan to celebrate the patronage of an Italian baroness with an inspirational property near Florence.

Since 2000, Beatrice Monti della Corte, the widow of author Gregor von Rezzori, has welcomed writers and botanists to Santa Maddalena.

At the retreat, writers enjoy Italian cooking, scenic accommodations and the encouraging company of the baroness, now into her 80s and not inclined to waste time.

“Don’t be stupid: You’re a great writer and you’ll write a great book,” Andrew Sean Greer remembered her saying when he was dithering about a new novel.

The event, hosted by Edmund White, included readings by such other past fellows as Michael Cunningham, Zadie Smith, Mary Gaitskill, Colm Toibin and Gary Shteyngart, who said he only learned to really bathe when confronted by his immense tub.

Smith, who said she has permission to call the baroness “Bea,” thanked her for infusing her with a love of dogs.

The evening attracted potential donors, super-agent Lynne Nesbit and author Wallace Shawn, who refused to disclose what book he was reading. “That’s too personal. I don’t tell people what I read,” he said.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the art and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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