IDOL RUMORS: The rumor that just won’t go away (because it’s most likely true) resurfaced again this past weekend: John Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Kasper A.S.L., is headed to Michael Kors LLC as chief executive officer in November.

Reached Sunday, Idol said, “I’m looking at a couple of different opportunities. I have not made up my mind yet.” He said he isn’t going anywhere until the deal to sell Kasper to Jones Apparel Group closes — when he’s expected to get about a $14 million payout. “The closing is anticipated around Nov. 15, and at the end of that period I’ll be in a job,” he said.



HOW MUCH IS THAT PER POUND?: Everyone knows Lara Flynn Boyle’s fashion sense is already shocking. But apparently, so is her fashion etiquette. According to sources at show production agencies, Boyle’s handlers have been asking not for free clothes to get her at certain fashion shows, but rather a whopping payment of $25,000. Considering her size, she and Calista Flockhart should consider a package deal for one chair.

A spokeswoman for Boyle in Los Angeles did not return either phone or e-mail inquiries.



QUEER EYE FOR THE FRONT ROW: “Would you believe this is my very first fashion show?” said Jai Rodriguez, the cultural component of “Queer Eye,” making his runway debut in the front row of the Gen Art show Friday night and the first of the series’ castmates expected to populate shows this week. A gay at fashion week? Could’ve knocked a designer over with a feather.

“It’s cool to see what designers are doing these days,” Rodriguez said, scanning the audience. “The style level here is really high. It makes me quite nervous just to be here. Everyone’s standing around holding themselves like, ‘Who is that?’”



ITALIAN HOSPITALITY: Leave it to the Ferragamos to draw a crowd. Wait, make that a mob scene. Within an hour of the start of the opening night party for the company’s Fifth Avenue flagship Friday night, a line had formed around the block of 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue, and guests were reporting a wait of 45 minutes or longer to mash their way inside. Ivana Trump, in a short white skirt suit, managed to squeeze in, only to be witnessed marching her way down Fifth Avenue less than 15 minutes later with three gorgeous Italian men in tow, all in black suits. The DJ spinning his way through the party was none other than Todd Mallis (in fashion speak, that’s nephew of IMG’s Fern). The rest of the year, Todd’s a regular at Amy Sacco’s Bungalo 8.But others were turned off by the crowd control and gave up. Natalie Leeds was yelling into her cell phone outside, horrified by the experience. “They’re animals!” she cried. “ANIMALS!”



YOUR NAME HERE: The need for sponsorship is a sad fact for most young or small design houses, but it can come at a cost. As Four accepted a wad of cash from Legal cigarettes and returned the favor by placing two packs of their brands in every gift bag at their show. Two members of the design collective also walked out at the end of their show with lit cigarettes in hand — this in spite of a Saturday morning audience that included many children (not to mention Mayor Bloomberg’s new law against smoking in indoor public spaces).

Apart from the legal question this raised, it indicated the start of a trend of corporate sponsorship rearing its head in more obtrusive ways at fashion week. Naomi Campbell and the other models stepped out on the runway at Rosa Cha later that day wearing patches prominently on their backs. It turns out they were promoting birth-control patches from

Ortho Evra, a big sponsor of the week. And when Rosa Cha designer Amir Slama took his bow, he did so in a black T-shirt branded with at least a dozen other sponsors’ names. So will it now be called Formula One Fashion Week?



PRESSING FLESH: Maybe it was better when the A-listers stayed home. If the weekend shows are any indication, front-row drama is way back into fashion and you’d better watch out.

When Beyoncé arrived on Saturday to Brazilian designer Amir Slama’s Rosa Cha swimwear show, joining Venus Williams, Toni Braxton, Jay-Z, Russell Simmons, Guy Oseary and Anthony Kiedis, the paparazzi went so nuts they should have been institutionalized. Things quickly turned ugly, as they kicked and screamed at one another, pushed and shoved. One photographer was shoved right into the lap of Williams, who didn’t appear at all amused. Once security guards regained control, several cameramen limped off, howling at the tidbits they’d pulled away. It’s no wonder Cuba Gooding Jr. seemed less than thrilled to answer questions from a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, and then snappish when another reporter from a style magazine asked him, “What kind of shoes do you think J.Lo and Ben should wear to their wedding?” She was evidently unaware of their premarital jitters.“Uh,” he said. “I don’t know.”

Chris Judd, Jennifer Lopez’s last husband, was less recognized and thus more friendly, although he veered away from commenting on J.Lo headline news and stuck to fashion commentary, following the presentation of sheer-assed swimsuits.

“It’s nice to see a little crack,” Judd said.

Pharrell Williams, similarly, said he was there “to see all the beautiful women.” Apparently so. Once the show began, Williams craned his neck like a cobra to catch every arrival and departure on the catwalk.



GREAT ESCAPE: It was the usual hip-hop crowd who took to the front row at the Fushá by Marie Claudinette Pierre-Jean show on Saturday night — except for at least one person. Betsey Johnson was there brushing up on her hip-hop. “Wyclef is joining me on the runway at my show on Monday. I’ve been in absolute heaven that he’s going to walk with me. I’ve been taking hip-hop lessons all week,” she said. The designer added that Fushá was the first show she’s gone to in years. And after her show Monday, she’s hitting a different kind of runway — at 6 a.m. the next morning she’s jetting off on vacation at the hotel she’s renovating into a house in Mexico, just south of Zihuatanejo.



JACK’S MINION: Jack Nicholson may have failed to attend his daughter Jennifer’s first New York fashion week outing — the rumor being that she didn’t want him to steal her thunder — but the actor did send a representative. Sort of, anyway. Calvin Klein Inc. president and chief operating officer Tom Murry sat front row and center at the show on Saturday night. “Jack asked me to come and I wanted to show my support for Jennifer,” said Murry, who knows the actor through CK’s involvement with the American Film Institute. “And I like to support young new talent in this industry.”



MISSING IN ACTION: Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs were “no shows” Friday at Annie Leibovitz’s studio for the group portrait for Vanity Fair. Thirteen designers had confirmed their attendance, but only 11 showed up for the 10-minute shoot.A rep for Klein said Friday, “He was out of town today and will be photographed at a later date.” Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs, said, “Marc just had surgery on his neck for a herniated disk so he’s recuperating. He’s in a lot of pain. He has his good days and his bad days. He woke up and said, ‘I can’t make it in there today.’ We’re hoping to get him out of bed tonight to finish our clothes. He wanted to do it, believe me.”

Leibovitz photographed the 11 designers in their signature looks for the December “Hall of Fame” issue. Word has it Ralph Lauren posed in a blue work shirt; Tommy Hilfiger in a navy blue blazer; Donna Karan in a black dress with a white fur coat flung over her shoulders; Michael Kors all in black; Carolina Herrera in a white man-tailored shirt, and Oscar de la Renta in — what else? — a suit.



CREDIT CRUNCH: Overheard from one Prada dressing room to the next on Saturday afternoon: “My husband just opened my last American Express bill, and he said, ‘The devil really does wear Prada.’”

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