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“Back together,” mused Carolina Herrera as she surveyed the crowd of her colleagues who piled into the cocktail party that Anna Wintour and Christina Johnson hosted at Saks Fifth Avenue, one of several magazine-centric parties around the city on Wednesday night, including Interview, GQ and The New Yorker. “Fashion again!” she proclaimed.

The evening’s theme may have been Saks’ current campaign, “Authenticity,” celebrating in particular the opening of Didier Ludot’s in-store vintage boutique, but Herrera’s battle cry was spot on — the kickoff was the fashion equivalent of the first day of school.

This story first appeared in the September 6, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The cast of impeccably turned out characters from Calvin Klein and Iman to Mark Badgley and James Mischka all wiggled into their fall suits and high heels to pay their respects to Wintour. All that is except for Cathy Horyn, who made the trek in rolled-up blue jeans and a white shirt, looking more like she’d jumped straight out of “The Lobster Chronicles.”

Summer vacation — or the lack thereof — was the hot topic on the designers’ lips.

“We had the 550 vacation,” joked Bill Blass’ Lars Nilsson referring to his SA address.

Zac Posen admitted that he spent one day relaxing in the country, while Narciso Rodriguez filled Michael Kors in on his seasonal pastime. “I was sewing buttons all summer,” Rodriguez sighed.

Kors, however, picked up a new obsession while tinkering with his designs: “American Idol,” whose grand finale he was currently missing. “I’ve got it on TiVo!” he explained. “But what I want to know is who’s making Kelly’s dresses. They’re not even hemmed!”

Only Vera Wang appeared to be lacking a case of cabin fever. But her sanity came at a price.

“I don’t have one dress made,” she confided to a friend.

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