February 16, 1999 12:00 AM

About 400 guests crowded into an outdoor garden cocktail reception on East Hampton’s Main Street Saturday night for the launch party for Cartier’s newest jewelry collection, “Paris Nouvelle Vague.” (The launch also kicked off Cartier’s new store in East Hampton.) Rap impresario Russell Simmons was there, noting that the world-class jeweler has been supportive of Russ Philanthropic, a foundation he started to help teach underprivileged children about art. But that’s not Simmons’s only connection. He says he’s a frequent Cartier shopper, thanks to his new wife, Kimora. “Since we got married she shops even more,” he told PEOPLE. “They have to keep coming up with new collections. If they didn’t, she wouldn’t have anything else to buy.”

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