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A week from Monday, Vogue will host its annual gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute — a 600-person, celebrity-packed event filled with glamour and ostentatious ballgowns.
But while it’s known as Anna Wintour’s party, it’s Sylvana Durrett — Vogue’s elegant, unflappable, 34-year-old director of special projects — who makes everything happen.
And after six years of toiling behind the scenes, Durrett is having a moment in the spotlight.
The married mother of two is the real hero in “The First Monday in May,” a new documentary about the Met Ball — for which she served as a producer — and she steals nearly every scene she’s in, with her cool grace under pressure and masterful handling of La Wintour.
“Sylvana is this year’s Grace Coddington,” Vogue contributing editor Lauren Santo Domingo tells The Post, referring to the flame-haired former creative director of the fashion bible who captivated audiences in “The September Issue,” the 2009 documentary about the magazine.
“She’s emerged as the breakout star.” The willowy, fresh-faced brunette, Starbucks cup clutched permanently in hand, frequently swoops in to assure her boss that certain unwanted guests will “go away,” broker a performance fee with Rihanna, or subtly steer the design team from decorating the red carpet with dragon-shaped hedges — all with perfect diplomacy and humor.
Durrett, who declined to be interviewed for this story, served as Wintour’s assistant after graduating from college.Two years later, she was promoted to accessories editor and, at age 27, to chief party planner.“They have the greatest respect for each other,” says Emily Rafferty, former president of the Met, who has worked with the pair for the past six years.“It’s almost like Sylvana knows by osmosis what Anna would really like to have happen.She has a way about her that is extraordinary — very calm and articulate.She’s sensitive to everybody’s needs.” Durrett grew up in Los Angeles, where her father, screenwriter and director David Ward, won an Academy Award for writing “The Sting,” and her mom, actress Rosanna De Soto, appeared in ’80s hits like “Stand and Deliver.” The pair split up when Durrett was 7, when she went to live in Mandeville Canyon with her mom and half-sister. “One time Sylvana threw this party at my mom’s house, and one of her friends threw a 300-pound terra cotta planter in the pool,” she adds.