Oh, that New York Society. They sure know how to sparkle. And dish.

The head table at Wednesday night's sixth annual Hispanic Designers Gala at the Grand Hyatt was the A-List from New York: Oscar de la Renta (sans his bride, socialite Annette Reed), Carolina Herrera, Adolfo, shoe creator Manolo Blahnik and faux-pearl impresario Kenneth Jay Lane.

New York social gem Ivana Trump was expected as well. According to Janis Johnson of Knight-Ridder, Trump had planned to fly down with Lane because she wanted to present her "dear friend" Oscar with the Excellence award, which recognized his 25 years of superior fashion design. But Marilyn Quayle, the gala's honorary chairman, had dibs on that honor.

After a short standoff, a miffed Trump backed down and stayed at home, Johnson reported.

"You know, that's how stories get started," Lane pooh-poohed at the gala.

"Ivana's a darling girl," said de la Renta, with a smile and a cocked eyebrow.

De la Renta et al. were the draw at the $300-a-ticket dinner recognizing the achievements of Hispanic designers and benefitting AIDS research. While the honorees are well respected in the fashion world, they are stars in the Hispanic community. Many of the 400 guests lined up to greet the illustrious designers -- everyone speaking in Spanish -- as friends caught the moment on pocket cameras.

Paloma Picasso was supposed to attend, but the dashing Blahnik explained, in French, "She's in London, opening a new boutique."

Then, switching to English: "And next week, she's opening her own shop in Paris. Place Vendome. PLACE VENDOME! Can you believe such an address?"

There were more paparazzi than at a movie premiere. More perfect smiles and tailored tuxes. The ballroom shimmered with sequins and beads -- thousands of them -- on the runway and at the dinner tables.

When Quayle arrived, the pre-dinner reception room lit up with camera flashes. But she paled in her fawn-and-brown dress next to the shiny designers.

"She isn't wearing my pearls," quipped Lane, who makes Barbara Bush's signature three-strands.

"I don't know whose dress that is," commented de la Renta.

No one did.