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Brian Atwood Celebrates His Steamy Collaboration With Rene Russo

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Lauren Santo Domingo and Byrdie Bell   
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Despite the molten sexuality oozing from the giant images on the walls of the pristine space on Mulberry Street, the party Byrdie Bell and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld hosted for shoe designer Brian Atwood on Thursday night was a straight-up family affair. Mother Dusty, brothers Andy and Zack, sister Tory, and right-hand woman Riley Vaill flew in to New York to join Brian in launching Role Play Rene, a deluxe and limited-edition book of photos by Tony Duran that feature an Atwood-shod Rene Russo in a series of steamy clinches with Jon Kortajarena.

The evening's big question was, where's Russo been since Thomas Crown? The actress wasn't on hand to answer that, unfortunately, but word is she's been devoting herself to family life. So how did Atwood coax her to play along on camera? The designer had women like Russo, Lisa Taylor, and the late Gia Carangi in mind when he conceived the project. "I wanted to convey the sensuality of what women feel when they put on shoes," he said with one of his blitzkrieg smiles. But it was his partner, Nate Berkus, who pushed him to go straight to the source. One phone call from Duran, and Russo was on set the same day. Back when, she was a good Christian girl, so if the stunning 55-year-old was indeed role-playing all over Kortajarena, we've clearly been deprived of her acting talents for too long.

A full contingent of the local fashion brigade and a sprinkling of socials were at the party—Dr. Lisa Airan showing just what an asset a pair of Atwood heels can be, and Lauren Santo Domingo wearing his thigh boots a full season before the trend breaks for fall (as noted elsewhere, she added the garter belt herself). And for some pleasantly strange reason, everyone noticeably smelt great. Atwood himself was wearing Jo Malone's Wild Fig, but don't try asking stylist Lori Goldstein about her gorgeous fragrance: "I'll tell you anything, but not the name of my perfume."

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