LOOK WHO’S SHOPPING BETTER: In the ongoing battle of designers to dominate the nation’s better sportswear departments, Calvin Klein has scored a major victory — landing the first known celebrity customer, and it’s a big one — Gwyneth Paltrow.

Company execs unexpectedly discovered Paltrow wearing a familiar black matte jersey racer-back dress on Thursday night at the ShoWest 2004 event in Las Vegas, where the actress won a “Distinguished Decade of Achievement in Film Award.” Checking with her reps, they discovered the dress was from the new better-priced Calvin Klein collection that recently hit selling floors, not that Paltrow was in line at Bloomingdale’s last week.

It turns out that a version of the dress — manufacturer’s suggested retail price $130 — was borrowed by Marie Claire magazine for a recent shoot with Paltrow. She liked it enough to call up Calvin Klein reps and ask for a version in black, and ended up wearing it at ShoWest.

GOING WESTWOOD: London is bracing itself for a Vivienne Westwood moment. On Thursday, the Victoria and Albert Museum will unveil an exhibition of 150 designs by the designer famous for her punk creations, baroque touches and kooky — but well-tailored — looks. The show spans more than 30 years and is the largest the V&A has ever dedicated to a British designer. It will cover everything from Westwood’s ample use of historical forms — including the corset, the crinoline and the bustle — to her punk past and parodies of royalty. Tailoring, tartan and accessories will all be on display, including the shoes that Naomi Campbell wore — and fell down in — on the Westwood runway in 1993. “Westwood encapsulates a particular kind of Britishness, combining fearless nonconformity with a sense of tradition,” said curator Claire Wilcox.

Tuesday night, the V&A will hold a private view and a cocktail party where guests including Kate Moss, Victor Horsting, Rolf Snoeren, Bella Freud, Tracey Emin, Nigella Lawson, Sadie Frost, Jemima French, Lizzie Jagger, Jerry Hall and Leah Wood are expected to attend. On April 30, the museum will also stage a series of catwalk shows from Westwood’s spring 2004 collection, Blue Sky. The V&A exhibition runs until July 11, when it will move to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.SERENA STEPS OUT: Serena Williams made her debut on Friday as a Nike-sponsored athlete, wearing a custom-designed Nike white silk tennis dress inspired by Hollywood gowns from the Forties. Williams returned to professional play at the Nasdaq-100 Open tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., after an eight-month absence, and she won her first match on Friday, beating Marta Marrero of Spain. The dress has a built-in silver corset made of Dri-Fit, a Lycra spandex and polyester fabric, which is also used in some of the other items Nike created for Williams.

“I met with Nike and shared some of my ideas,” said Williams, who is known to be a flashy dresser and is also an aspiring fashion designer. “I am excited to get back out there and play.” Williams inked a five-year deal with Nike last December, prior to which she was sponsored by Puma.

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