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Narciso the Painter and Padma the Perfumer

Photo: Getty Images

The Wayuu Taya Foundation that aids Latin American indigenous communities was the brainchild of Venezuela-born model (and star of The Mummy) Patricia Velasquez. So members of one of New York’s native tribes, known as fashionistas, came out in force for the organization’s big fund-raiser last night.

And we were delighted to find that some members of the New York fashion tribe are improving their lives by learning new skills, just like the indigenous villagers in Venezuela! Narciso Rodriguez gets his hands soiled in his garden. “I have a big garden on the rooftop. It’s planted with lots of white flowers,” Rodriguez told us. “It’s peaceful out there. It’s where I get to paint.” Yes, Narciso Rodriguez is a painter (mainly abstracts). “Not a whole lot of people know,” he told us. Plans for a gallery show are far in the future. “Maybe one day, when I’m very, very old,” he said.

Padma Lakshmi, meanwhile, breezed into the gala smelling divine, wearing her homemade scent she says she mixes in her kitchen sink. “It’s made of neroli and rose and ylang-ylang,” the Top Chef queen said. She buys the organic essential oils online from Neal’s Yard in London and then mixes them at home. “It’s such an artisanal thing that it comes out a little different every time,” Lakshmi explained. She wants to keep it homemade, something she does for herself and for friends. “Not everything needs to be a business,” she said, and then paused. “But there’s a big perfume company that’s been hounding me about it.” — Bennett Marcus

Narciso the Painter and Padma the Perfumer