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PHI FOR ALL: Having opened the company’s first freestanding shop quietly in September, Susan Dell had time to work out any bugs before officially launching the store on Tuesday night. That turned out to be a family effort, as in addition to creative director Andreas Melbostad and Julia Hansen, president of Phi, Dell was joined by her husband, Michael Dell.
One other unexpected fashion family was represented with the appearance of Kate McCollough, who is the sister of designer Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler. And like her big brother, the 20-year-old Kate has her sights set on becoming a fashion designer.
SWATCH DEAL: Talk about synergy. On Wednesday, Swatch unveiled its latest coup: the Paparazzi watch it created in collaboration with MSN Direct, the division of Microsoft Corp.
The digital watch can pretty much do everything short of chicken soup. It offers the wearer a link to MSN Direct for updated international and business news, sports news and weather forecasts, television schedules, entertainment news and even lottery results. Owners will even get the inside scoop on city happenings, courtesy of Time Out magazine.
The turnout at the launch breakfast at the Supper Club could well have been the first happening to be reported on the watch face. It attracted Bill Gates, Mischa Barton and Dennis Leary, who joined Swatch Group chief executive officer Nick Hayek Jr. to thundering photography flashlights — especially when Hayek asked Gates to put on black sunglasses and then proclaimed, “I would say the Blues Brothers are nothing against us.”
The watch is slightly bigger than a typical Swatch watch and has five buttons for wearers to work through the different functions. It will retail for $150 at Swatch’s 40 stores nationwide, as well as on swatch.com.
“I have to confess that this is probably the best experience I have had with paparazzi for a long time,” quipped Barton.
PERHAPS IT’S IN THE JEANS?: When the winners of Gap’s recent “How Do You Wear It?” contest were filmed on Wednesday morning for an upcoming segment on the new “Life & Style” show, the company didn’t consider that the customers voted most stylish on its Web poll might actually have a career beyond modeling. Cynthia Garrett, one of the hosts, was so smitten with a five-year-old girl from New Jersey named Mya that she wondered if she would do the red-carpet commentary for Life & Style’s upcoming Golden Globes coverage. (She was kidding.) Gap senior publicist Sean Krebs also used the opportunity to feature a launch from Gap, clothes for pets, which will hit stores next week, including a striped doggy sweater modeled on his miniature pinscher, Ascot Del Nin.
TRUE BLUE: In what might be categorized as the least likely election-motivated event to be duplicated, the Blue Dress Walk to Impeach George Bush will wind its way down Fifth Avenue Saturday afternoon. Participants are asked to don a blue dress, a cheeky reminder of Monica Lewinsky’s navy Gap number — a key piece of evidence in Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings.
As of Wednesday, between 300 and 500 people were expected to show up Saturday at 2 p.m. outside FAO Schwarz to hoof it down to Madison Square Park, according to organizer Gary Weingarten. A bar owner by trade, Weingarten said he came up with the idea after hearing a newscast about how the infant of a U.S. soldier who was exposed to depleted uranium in Iraq may have suffered deformities.
“That was the last straw. I thought someone has to impeach George Bush,” he said.
The blue dress requisite should pack more of a punch visually, Weingarten said. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been invited to tag along with the Blue Walkers. No word back if she’ll show.
GRANDSTANDING: Rosario Dawson and former club-kid Genny helped rally other late-night revelers for an after-party at the Soho Grand following the Lower East Side Girls’ Club annual bash Monday night. Paz de la Huerta, Heatherette’s Ritchie Rich and Traver Rains, Charlotte and Samantha Ronson, Kate Pierson and Paul Cavaco showed up for Sofia champagne and disco dancing.