ROCKIN' AT RADIO CITY: Because the number of attendees at Baby Phat shows is on a perpetual rise, the show on Saturday night was held at the mammoth Radio City Music Hall. Stars from the hip-hop and R&B world were on hand to support Kimora Lee Simmons, such as Reverend Run, Brandy, Kelis, and Kimora's husband, Russell Simmons.

Photographers and camera crews tried the best they could to navigate the tiny aisles between rows, but for some, the crowd was just too much. "I'm claustrophobic and about to pass out," one man shouted as camera crews raced to get a shot of Russell walking down the aisles flanked by his own personal security. "We need to shut it down right now!" a security guard shouted into her walkie-talkie as she put her hand over one photographer's camera lens.

But Brandy, who arrived about 30 minutes before the start of the show, was seated and ready for it to begin. "Kimora is amazing and always looks amazing," she said, adding she was making the rounds this week with her best friend, Serena Williams. "We're going to Luca Luca, BCBG…a lot of them."

This fashion week might just be a tutorial for Brandy. She said she's been, "thinking about," launching her own clothing line.

BIG IN JAPAN: It's time to brush up those Japanese skills, boys. Proenza Schouler's Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are expected to ink a new distribution deal with distributor Bluebell Japan this week, which will likely catapult the label into even more stores in Japan. The duo already has Japanese retailers clamoring for the clothes, and the label is distributed in cities like Kyoto, Kobe, Nagoya, Kyusyu, Kanto and Osaka.

This isn't an entirely new relationship. Bluebell has been helping the label out for two seasons. As part of the new deal, Bluebell will not just handle Proenza Schouler's distribution, but also its Japanese advertising and press. The distributor is expected to have a full sample collection and will start the selling campaign after the Paris collections. Bluebell is well-versed in the Japanese market, also handling the distribution for Narciso Rodriguez, Rochas and Anna Molinari there.While Bluebell handles sales for the entire Far East, Proenza Schouler's focus will be on Japan for the time being. "Japan is hugely important," Shirley Cook, the duo's business partner, said. "Each season it becomes more and more important….With their experience, they can put us in the best stores we should be in and manage the brand there." Bluebell, she added, aims to have the label in up to 50 stores and have two department store corners in the next year and a half.

CAMERA SHY: First on photographer's hit list this week — Usher. The singer snuck through the back and scooted into his front-row seat after the Rosa Cha show had already started Saturday afternoon. Too late for any shots to be taken, but just in time to see his "good friend" Naomi Campbell strut her stuff. He was just as quick when the show finished, heading backstage with his bodyguard in tow. However, a few lucky shutterbugs seated in the crowd as opposed to the pit managed to get fleeting shots of him walking away.

At Rosa Cha's after party Saturday night, the gaggle of models at the Maritime Hotel seemed almost short next to Venus Williams, who breezed in with a small entourage and towered over almost everyone in her high-heeled red shoes.

GOING ASTRAY?: It's known in fashion circles that Sofia Coppola is a Marc Jacobs girl through and through, from starring in the designer's campaigns to collaborating with the designer on a collection of Marc by Marc Jacobs handbags. But on Saturday, she made a surprise front-row appearance at Sari Gueron. "My friend Stacey Battat styled the show, so I came," she said.

Coppola also plans to see the Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui shows, but she will keep a low fashion week profile otherwise. "I am in the process of editing Marie-Antoinette, so I can't get too distracted," she said.

TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK?: Not all shows end in a happy finale. Just ask Tara Subkoff, Imitation of Christ's designer, who followed her Scarlett Johansson hand-holding bow and press interviews with tears and a physical assault. After the show, which launched her newest venture –– a denim collaboration — Subkoff came backstage to see both the denim and the one-of-a-kind couture pieces she showed in Paris in July, all of which were handpainted by personal friends and artists, being carted off by people hired by Showroom 7. Subkoff, refusing to relinquish garments bags despite being man-handled by a man more than triple her size, demanded the police to be called. Notably absent: any Showroom 7 employees, including its head, Mandie Erickson. When the police finally arrived backstage and deemed the clothing rightfully Subkoff's — she had intended the couture dresses to be auctioned for Hurricane Katrina charities but Showroom 7 wanted to sell them to a New York department store — Erickson reappeared. Tears shed, threats made, and deals broken, the two departed on less than amicable terms. Next up for Subkoff? Looks like she'll be searching for a new publicist.Reached Sunday, Erickson said, "Yeah, we had a fight. We're good friends, we have been for eight years, and we fight all the time. It was no big deal and we talked over the phone this morning."

NAOMI TREAT: Those who made their way downtown for the Imitation of Christ show on Friday got a treat of the supermodel kind. Just a few blocks from IOC's show at Surrogate's Court, Naomi Campbell was posing and pouting on the steps of another courthouse for a Complex magazine story. Campbell, in a bikini, white coat and high heels, made quite a few fashionista heads turn, but the pro did not seem to mind the attention.

HILFIGER REUNION: It was like old home week at Tommy Hilfiger's show. Coach president and executive creative director Reed Krakoff, previously senior vice president of marketing, design and communications at Hilfiger, was in the audience, as was Mojan Murjani, who gave Hilfiger his start, and Mike Toth, who previously did Hilfiger's ad campaigns and has returned to the fold. Ginny Hilfiger, former H Hilfiger designer, who left her brother's firm last December, said she just launched a luxury sportswear brand called Ginny H. Asked if the off-white jacket she was wearing was one of her designs, Ginny blushed, "No, this is Louis Vuitton." She said her husband told her she should have worn one of her designs to Tommy's show because she'd see so many fashion people, but everything's been shipped to stores.

As for the newest ex-Hilfiger employee, Peter Connolly, president of the company's global marketing and communications, he was taking his final stroll around the runways. Connolly, whose last day was Friday, was leaving with his wife Saturday to travel around Europe via mopeds.

MOVIE ANYONE?: Well, you really have no choice. In a tactic of guerrilla marketing, Kate Spade LLC will project a film based on its new advertising campaign on walls and buildings around the tents and other fashion show venues this week. Starting tonight, a van will drive around, airing the film titled "Blondie," a somewhat vague, Hitchcock-inspired story about a girl named Simone who escapes to Mexico City after being wronged by her boyfriend, who is then followed by him. The short film, styled by Lori Goldstein and chock full of Kate Spade accessories, will also be aired on Plum TV, a cable channel. The film coincides with Spade's print advertising campaign, which debuted late last month.SHORT ORDER: Lindsay Lohan showed up at the Pret A PSP event on Saturday night at Skylight Studios, where more than a few big time models — including Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Alek Wek, Theodora and Alexandra Richards and Kirsty Hume — and one woman wonder, Paris Hilton sashayed down the runway wearing designers' takes on accessories to house the portable Sony video game.

"It's Gucci, but I'm worried it's a bit short," said Lohan of her printed silk and lace short-sleeved number from the company's resort collection. "Do you know Megan at Gucci?," she continued, referring to the Gucci publicist. "Well, I went to her and everything I picked out, someone had already worn.…My friends were like ‘you have a hundred dresses', but I wanted something new." Lohan sat ever so strategically in the front row beside Gwen Stefani watching the lively show, where audience members cheered, models gawked at themselves on the screens set up beside and above the runway and one male model dropped some crudités out of his PSP case and onto the runway on his jaunt out. No word on whether Hilton and DJ AM, fiancé of Hilton's former best friend Nicole Richie, who was also sitting in the front row, caught up on old times.

STEFANI'S BREAK: Just like many other designers, Gwen Stefani is feeling the heat — and the rush — in the run-up to her runway show this week. She managed to sneak out of fittings and run-throughs last Saturday to show her support for Zaldy, who is also the head designer for her L.A.M.B. collection.

"I am not ready yet, but I will be," Stefani, who has been in New York for two weeks working on fall 2006, vowed of her spring collection. She also put in an appearance at Sony's Pret A PSP that night, but that's it for the week. "I won't have time for any other shows," she said. "I have a couple of couture pieces in my show, so I will probably be at work sewing."When Zaldy took his bow, Stefani stood up to cheer and motioned that his runway brought her to happy tears. Also cheering on Zaldy were Melissa Auf Der Maur, for whom he creates stage outfits, and Rufus Wainwright. "Zaldy has been one of my best friends for a long time," said Wainwright, who is expected to make an appearance at Marc Jacobs tonight. The singer stars in the designer's fall ad campaign. "He's a fan," Wainwright said. "And whatever Marc wants, Marc gets, I guess."

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Strenesse may get the season's trophy for the most unexpected front-row appearance. When three music types took their seats in the front row, a couple of German camera crews went into a frenzy, leaving American editors and buyers wondering just who these men were. It turns out they were the music band A-ha, best known in this country for the Eighties hit "Take on Me." "We were just invited, so we decided to come," singer Morten Harket said, adding that he wasn't even a particular fan of the label. "But I may become one after the show," he quipped.

IT'S A SHOE-IN: Like most designers, Tuleh's Bryan Bradley always had shoes made just for the runway. For spring, though, he's making footwear a serious proposition. Bradley partnered with shoe guru Franklin Elman, and the duo created a collection of shoes and boots that is intended to reach select specialty stores this spring. "It was time to do shoes," Bradley said. "The business is growing. The market can bear it, and I am ready to do it." The collection, which consists of five stacked heel styles, includes sandals with mixed patches of different skins and textured leathers, from alligator to metallic leather and stingray. The piece de resistance is arguably a knee-high linen boot adorned with white floral leather appliqués and metallic stingray. "It's totally up my alley, these weird combinations like stingray, leather and plastic," Bradley said. "That's how girls dress."

BABY (RUBY) JANE: There was plenty to love at Saturday's Project Alabama show, but a 10-year-old fiddle prodigy named Ruby Jane Smith gave Natalie Chanin's lovely collection some stiff, scene-stealing competition. As the well-wishers headed backstage, most made a point to compliment and gush over the precocious Mississippi native.Smith, who started playing the fiddle at the age of two, was suggested to Chanin by her friend Jake Fussell. Fussell performed skirt-swishing bluegrass during the show along with Smith and Barry Bays, under the name Ruby Jane Smith and the Rare Jewels. "I thought, well, I've never been to New York City before," said Smith post-show of Chanin's request. Asked what she thought of the city, she remarked, "It's big and it's crowded, but it's really fun." Post-show, Smith planned to do some sightseeing for her three remaining days in the Big Apple. First on her list? The Empire State Building, of course.

NEW PROJECTS: Jay McCarrol, the victor from Bravo's fashion reality show, "Project Runway," was at the Gen Art show Friday evening at the Manhattan Center seated one chair away from Sophia Bush, star of the WB series, "One Tree Hill."

"I rarely watch TV, but I did see the last episode of ‘Project Runway,' and I knew you were going to win," the starlet was overheard gushing. "You were so fashion-forward." Looks like McCarrol will star in another reality show for Bravo, this one called "Project Jay." The network will trail McCarrol as he preps for his February runway show. "I'm kind of anti striking while the iron is hot," he said, explaining that he wanted to sit out this round of shows. He also said the February show won't take place at the tents at Bryant Park, but assured it will take place somewhere "cool and different."

TOP SHOP HITS STATESIDE: Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, co-owners of Opening Ceremony, a concept boutique in New York, hosted a party at the shop on Saturday welcoming the uber-popular British clothing brand, Top Shop, not only to their store, but to the U.S. Fashion editors, stylists and photographers tried on Top Shop apparel and ooh'ed and aah'ed at the price tags: Nothing exceeded $200. Jane Shepherdson, brand director for Top Shop, which is best known for creating inexpensive and highly coveted fashion and accessories, said Opening Ceremony was a perfect fit for the brand, which operates more than 300 shops in England. "We've never done wholesale before, but we try to do unexpected things and Carol and Humberto have the same philosophy."Lim and Leon rotate designers into their boutique based on their country of origin. Now they're focusing on designers from across the pond mixed in with American designers. This period is appropriately dubbed, "U.S. versus U.K."

MANNERS MAKETH THE MAN: No, it wasn't an invasion of bankers from the City of London seen around town Friday, including at the tents at Bryant Park. Instead, J.C. Penney outfitted the corps of 30 bowler-hatted men to launch Nick Graham's new men's wear line, nick(it), for the retailer. The Random Acts of Politeness campaign was overseen by Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute. And for those who think rudeness is gaining ground, Post demurs. He said the institute now gets about 1,500 letters a month asking for advice on manners and etiquette, triple the number of a few years ago. "Etiquette is on the upswing in this country and people really want to know how to behave in the proper way," he said confidently. Tell that to the person shoving you from behind at the next show.

ALLIGATOR SHUFFLE: Andy Roddick may have lost his mojo with his early exit at the U.S. Open, but the tennis star was full of energy Saturday night at the Lacoste show as he chatted with reporters and posed for the paparazzi.

"This is my first fashion show," said Roddick, who admitted he is not much of a fashionista. "I usually prefer to watch football than go shopping." Roddick, who became a Lacoste-sponsored athlete earlier this year, was clad in ripped jeans, a blue Lacoste polo and white Lacoste sneakers.

Paris Hilton was said to be coming to the Lacoste show, so the company sent her loads of product, according to a source, all to have the heiress-cum-fashion week poster girl turn out to be a no show.

Later that evening, at the company's fete at Bowlmor Lanes on University Place, designer Jeremy Scott waited approximately 30 minutes to get into the party, which was at full capacity at 11 p.m. Scott finally left, perfectly disgruntled.

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