BUSH WHACKED: Seventh Avenue had its monthly visitor again. Four weeks after her low-key visit to Oscar de la Renta’s studio, Laura Bush was spotted making a dash into Carolina Herrera’s showroom Tuesday morning. Then the First Lady headed down 10 blocks to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology for a guided tour of Arnold Scaasi’s retrospective with the designer himself. But Bush wasn’t willing to make a fashion statement. When a WWD photographer attempted to catch a shot outside the museum, the Secret Service first ordered her across the street, then off campus — altogether.



BERRY GETS JINX-ED: Looks like Halle Berry, as sexy CIA agent Jinx in the latest James Bond thriller, "Die Another Day," will get to see more screen time, with or without her leading man. The actress, who sports Versace’s sexy couture in the film when she’s not showing more skin, said at Monday night’s Los Angeles screening that she’s in talks with MGM to star in what would be the first Bond-spinoff ever. That would certainly get designers’ — not to mention moviegoers’ — engines revving.



ARTY PARTY: The art crowd’s in town for the November contemporary auctions, and they’re in a partying mood despite some less-than-stellar sales. But where to go after the bidding? Well, tonight it will be the new Chelsea Art Museum, which will hold an opening bash hosted by Art & Auction magazine that also will preview the magazine’s annual power list. Bruce Wolmer, Art & Auction’s editor, said the list is less caustic than in the past and includes such people as Leonard Lauder, Rem Koolhaas, Lawrence Graff of Graff jewelers, Pierre Bergé, Visionaire editor Cecelia Dean, publisher Prosper Assouline, and Linda Donahue and Jan Reeder of Doyle’s couture and textiles department. "People on the list are younger, and more of them come from the world of fashion, publishing and design," Wolmer said. "These worlds now increasingly intersect with the art market." But there also are some surprises, including Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski because, Art & Auction says, his "ducking out on more than $1 million in New York sales tax has sent shivers down the spine of many a collector and dealer."

OLD BAG LUNCHEON: When soap legend Susan Lucci does charitable work, she can count on her TV pals for some help. On Tuesday, the "All My Children" star hosted The Old Bags Luncheon, which attracted the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Joy Behar and a slew of AMC cast members, including Rebecca Budig.

The luncheon started with a silent auction of hundreds of new and used handbags by suchbrands as Gucci, Chanel, Escada, Fendi and, well, Susan Lucci, whose own designs are usually sold on HSN, the home shopping network. "I donated about 10 bags, but it was so difficult to pick which ones to part with," beamed Lucci, wearing a fiery red Valentino trouser suit. "Valentino really does the best reds in the business."

Proceeds of the event will go to Lucci’s favorite charity, Little Flower Children’s Services of New York, which helps homeless and abandoned children from New York City and Long Island.



LOUNGING AROUND: Catherine Malandrino carved out a nook on Henri Bendel’s ground floor Thursday night, where models — dressed in Malandrino and coiffed by Bumble and Bumble — sprawled among shag rugs, lounge chairs and flat-screen TVs showing the designer’s spring runway presentation. The event promoted the spring collection and Malandrino’s new assortment of home sprays, soaps and candles. The scene carried into one of Bendel’s front windows, where a live model made at least one passing family ask: "What store is this?"



FAST FASHION: France’s TGV bullet train is changing outfits. Kenzo, Christian Lacroix and Recaro, the German firm that makes seats for high-end automobiles, on Tuesday unveiled three separate projects to redesign the interior of the trains. Lacroix, who was already commissioned to decorate the TGV train running between Paris and Marseilles, mixed bright colors with high-tech accessories. Kenzo’s project drew on its ethnic heritage, while Recaro put the accent on its ultra-comfortable seats. The designs will be tested in about 50 trains running in the western part of France. Passengers and staff will vote on which project ultimately will be used, starting in May.

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