NOT OSCAR THIS TIME: First Lady Laura Bush is highlighting another favorite designer: Peggy Jennings. Bush, at a Thursday preview of White House Christmas decorations, wore a warm red silk matelasse suit in a geometric pattern with a short fitted jacket. Jennings also designed the pink suit the First Lady wore when President Bush declared victory the day after the Nov. 2 election. Jennings’ husband and business partner, Herb Kosterlitz, said Bush has been buying the designer’s suits and formal gowns since the President was governor of Texas in the Nineties. “She found us doing trunk shows in Dallas,” said Kosterlitz. Jennings’ designs are produced in a St. Petersburg, Fla., factory employing 50 and owned by the designer. “We say we design for the social needs of the American woman,” Kosterlitz said, noting a Jennings gown costs as much “as Oscar or Chanel.”

As for the First Lady and her fashion plans for her husband’s upcoming second inaugural on Jan. 20, the White House is mum. “She’s looking into all that right now,” said Bush’s press secretary, Gordon Johndroe. For Christmas, the extended Bush family will congregate at Camp David. Over the holidays and through the inaugural, Johndroe said Bush twins Barbara and Jenna will stay at the White House before launching their post-college lives. The twins are continuing to turn down interview requests. “They are interested in returning to as private a life as possible,” he said.

PACK MENTALITY: Those who say that women are the kinder, gentler sex clearly have never been to a designer shoe sample sale. Ladies, and we use the term loosely, were so desperate to get into the Jimmy Choo sale Wednesday that they queued up for more than two hours. One woman tried to cut the line by bribing the doorman with $50 — no go. Another who couldn’t get in started crying. When asked by a passerby what all the fuss was for, a police officer on hand growled, “High heels.”Meanwhile, inside, two women got into a bona fide catfight over a pair of brown leather slingbacks. “I want them because I look better in them than you do,” said one. A third person finally stepped in and settled the issue with a fair coin toss.

EURO STARS: Though Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s creative director, and Rose Marie Bravo, the company’s chief executive, booked their Eurostar tickets for a brief 24-hour stay in the City of Light, both had a quintessentially Parisian experience on Wednesday. On his way to visit Collette, Bailey scuffled with one of the city’s notoriously cranky cab drivers. “He simply refused to take me,” the designer sniffed. Meanwhile, Bravo booked a dinner with friends at the famous Bar des Théâtres.

But the real reason the two came to town was to host a cocktail party — attended by French stars such as Judith Godresche — to celebrate the reopening of Burberry’s newly refurbished 7,300-square-foot boutique, which is modeled after the Bond Street flagship in London. “The new look reflects the changes we’ve been making,” said Bailey, “but the building is a part of our history.” In fact, Burberry first opened shop in the Haussmann-era building on Boulevard Malesherbes in 1910. And Bravo seemed enchanted with the place. “What’s not to love about Paris?” she said. “Maybe we should open up one of the apartments upstairs and turn it into pied-à-terre.”

PACKING THEM IN: With its high-profile restaurants and clubs, the Meatpacking District has little trouble these days attracting the after-hours crowd. But getting people to shop during the day seems to be another matter. In order to drum up holiday business, the Meatpacking District Initiative, in conjunction with IN:NYC from American Express, staged a neighborhood fashion show Tuesday night at Hiro in the Maritime Hotel to benefit New York Cares. “Nightlife has definitely grown enormously [in the last year],” said David Rabin, co-owner of the club Lotus and president of the MDI. “But we’d like to put focus on the retail.” For the runway, fashion personality Robert Verdi pulled clothes from stores in the area — Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Jeffrey, Calypso, and Catherine Malandrino among others — and mixed and matched them into outfits. Bridget Hall, Sophie Dahl, David Blaine, and an eight-month pregnant Amy Wesson looked on while p.r.’s scrambled to find a seat for a reluctant Betsey Johnson. “I have two friends upstairs,” she explained, “I didn’t even know about this. We’re waiting to eat dinner.”VA-VA-VA VEGAS: Selfridges is taking a trip to that oasis in the Nevada desert Las Vegas for its next, annual in-store event. From April 22-May 15, the London-based department store will celebrate 100 years of the gambling mecca. Selfridges is still hammering out the official title of the event and an announcement, along with more details, is expected next week. The store’s annual events have become legendary in London, and past themes included Tokyo, Bollywood and the human body. Last year, the Brasil 40° event featured fashion, food, drink, beauty products, cinema, art, photography and furniture from South America’s largest country. The point of the exercise, Selfridges principals have said, is to capture the zeitgeist and reinvent the retail experience.

HARLOW DO YOU GO?: As singer-turned-designer-turned-actress Gwen Stefani expands her job opps, she’s also learning how cross-pollinization can come in handy. While researching her role as Jean Harlow in “The Aviator,” which premiered Wednesday night at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Stefani found inspiration for her Spring 2005 L.A.M.B collection. “I didn’t even realize it, actually, until recently,” laughed the modern-day blonde bombshell, laced into a pink Vivienne Westwood gown for the premiere and finger locked with rocker husband Gavin Rossdale at the after party. “I was watching all of Jean Harlow’s films to get ready for the role, and in one she wore a dress printed with this great pattern of circles. I copied it at that moment, and months later used it when I was doing the line. So I guess doing this film did cross over into the other things I do.” Platinum locks notwithstanding, of course.

PRESCRIBING ART: Fashionistas looking to bring some holiday cheer to their home from big-name designers while supporting a worthy cause will be at the third annual RX Art Ball at the Emporio Armani store on Madison Avenue Tuesday night. Ornaments from the likes of Giorgio Armani, Zac Posen and Anna Sui are set to be auctioned off, with the proceeds gong to RX Art, a not-for-profit organization that helps bring original fine art to healthcare facilities. About 400 people are expected to attend.Armani’s offering was inspired by the final dress in his spring runway show, which featured 1,700 Swarovski crystals, while Posen crafted a porcelain Pegasus for the auction.

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