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New Museum Spring Gala Goes Brazilian, Welcomes Desiree Rogers

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Ash clouds may have stopped Bebel Gilberto, scion of the famous bossa nova family, from singing at the New Museum's Spring Gala last night, but the mood was like the dress code: anything but black. Honoring a Brazilian theme, bright tropical colors were in bloom on dresses across a palm tree-bedecked floor. Perhaps most notable among the crowd was former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, in a buoyant yellow dress designed by Francisco Costa (of Calvin Klein) that seemed to reach for summer.

Rogers has been in New York this week for meetings and seemed relaxed. She was at the gala with native-born Brazilian Costa. Of her replacement as social secretary she had only kind things to say: "I love Julianna Smoot. I think she's doing a great job." Michelle Obama's post-Rogers outfits have been likewise "great."

If there were any lingering hard feelings from the White House party crashers imbroglio Rogers wasn't letting on. But she will be back in Washington, DC next week, packing.

Artist Vik Muniz (born in São Paulo) had a commissioned portrait auctioned off for $160,000. Model Fernanda Motta, hostess of Brazil's Next Top Model, looked tops in a revealing white dress.

Perhaps the most invigorating event of the night (other than the copious caipirinhas dispensed from the bar) was a performance by New York-based singer Maluca. Her name is Portuguese for "crazy girl," and her boisterous set of dance-friendly numbers lived up to her self-described genre of tropical punk. Dressed, as her manager put it, "like Nefertiti," her raw, sexy stage persona could take her far. So could a newish partnership with producer Diplo, who has also helped propel M.I.A. and Santigold to fame.

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