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SIDE ORDERS

Model Behavior at a Milan Club

Sunday, August 8, 2004; Page P10

WHAT: Hollywood Rythmoteque, a classic dance club and model magnet.

WHERE: Milan, the runway capital of Italy.


In Milan, all of the bellissimo people groove to the mixed beats at Hollywood Rythmoteque. (Hollywood Rythmoteque)


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WHY GO: The time zone change may keep you up all night, so you might as well be out on the town.

It's midnight on a Sunday, and fashion models and pro soccer players pack the VIP room at Hollywood Rythmoteque. They're a jeans and T-shirt crowd -- Armani jeans and Dolce and Gabbana T-shirts, that is.

I'm trying to chat with Roberto Galli, the club's art director, but the pulse of Sean Paul's "Get Busy" has thrown everyone into a fit of dancing. We push past a curtain into a backstage sort of area, and he hands me an absurdly strong vodka and soda.

Still it's hard to talk. First, in pops the DJ for a quick smoke, his touseled hair filled with styling products to make it look fashionably greasy and unwashed. Then two knockout women sneak through the curtain to stash their tiny coats. After they leave, Galli lets it drop that one of them was last year's Miss Italy and her friend is a Milanese TV anchor.

Galli has me peer around the corner. Against the wall, the captain of the AC Milan soccer team holds tight to his wife, a former Venezuelan model, as the DJ switches up from 50 Cent to Mary J. Blige. The captain's team beat archrivals Rome that day and the whole city is pumped. While the fans are straggling home with the team's colors painted on their faces and flags tied around their shoulders, the victors have descended into this small, dark, time-worn club to celebrate.

It is a testament to the club's staying power. After two decades on the scene, Hollywood -- at the end of Corso Como, a popular nightlife area near the city's central train station -- remains a top spot for celebrities and fashion industry people.

There are many newer, trendier clubs across Milan, but Hollywood's intense outreach still pays off. Galli says the club pays five people to lure models from fashion shoots and agencies to the club -- and two more to bring in athletes -- to ensure that enough really, really good-looking people are around at all times.

Sean Paul, Adrien Brody and Naomi Campbell have all hung out in the VIP room, according to the club's celeb list. And after-parties here during big fashion events are the norm.


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