Pizzazz in the Piazza

updated 09/28/1992 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/28/1992 01:00AM

MANHATTAN'S PARK AVENUE ARMORY was completely done up as an Italian piazza; all that was missing was a doge. His magisterial hat would have seemed quite apropos among the theatrical plumage displayed at designer Gianni Versace's Sept. 14 Rock N' Rule party, a benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. While raising $180,000, some 800 dukes and duchesses of fashion and la dolce vita dressed to distract, as if trying to lop the host's high-voltage fashion show that followed the $l,000-a-plate dinner.

Supermodels Naomi Campbell. Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer looked, well, super as they flounced down the runway wearing bell-bottoms and wigs. The pump boys strutted in serious leather. And rocker Lenny Kravitz set the charitable tone when he played "Let Love Rule" and managed to get people who don't even touch when they kiss to actually hold hands and sway. "This time," he told the high-flying crowd, "we all need each other like we've never needed each other before." Rarely do the needy look so natty.

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