Fashion Scoops: Sahara Nights … Out of Fashion … A Rhino Named Ecko …

<STRONG>SAHARA NIGHTS</STRONG>: <STRONG>Penelope Cruz</STRONG> and <STRONG>Ralph Lauren</STRONG> still have a thing for each other. When Cruz discovered she would be attending a premiere for her new movie, “Sahara,” in Madrid, she phoned...

SAHARA NIGHTS: Penelope Cruz and Ralph Lauren still have a thing for each other. When Cruz discovered she would be attending a premiere for her new movie, “Sahara,” in Madrid, she phoned Lauren and asked him to make a “special dress” for her. Given that Madrid is her hometown, and her family and beau, Matthew McConaughey, would be in attendance, Cruz wanted to wow the crowd. Ralph obliged — happily whipping up a custom-made strapless dress of organza tulle with cap sleeves and hand-beaded with gold sequins for the former face of Polo.

OUT OF FASHION: Cartoonist Robert Crumb is the antifashionista. He was the guest of honor at a party Tuesday at the Stella McCartney store, but spent most of the night tucked away in a corner taking in the Big Band tunes. Unimpressed by the hipsters checking out his cartoon for a customized $175 McCartney T-shirt, Crumb turned his attention to Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. The music, after all, was his call. Crumb, 61, has no urge to extend his run in the designer world. “I’m not interested in fashion; I think it’s all silly,” he said. “The whole thing just seems freaky to me….I look at these magazines like Vogue and Elle and I feel nothing but disgust. I just find it repulsive — the whole sensibility. I find ordinary women on the street more interesting. All those bony women give me the creeps. They just look like coat hangers.” Maybe the cartoonish party invitation should have been a tip-off. A balloon above Crumb’s name read “I’M NOT HERE TO BE POLITE!”

A RHINO NAMED ECKO: Marc Ecko might very well be the only person in the fashion business to have a baby rhino named after him. The International Rhino Foundation and the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park named a recently born Indian rhino after the clothing designer as part of a joint initiative geared at saving the world’s Indian rhino population. Marc Ecko and Ecko Unlimited made an initial contribution of $150,000 to IRF as part of a larger multiyear financial commitment and overall partnership effort to double the populations of the Indian, black and Sumatran rhinos, three of the planet’s most endangered species. The rhino has been the official logo of the Ecko brand since its inception 12 years ago.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

AIR TIME: Christian Lacroix, who just unveiled chic new navy uniforms for Air France, has a much more casual approach to his own in-flight wardrobe. “I only wear wide pants and sweats, shoes that are easy to take on and off and always a scarf or a large shawl,” he said. “I try to avoid clothes that are too tight, shirts or jeans.” As for his favorite traveling accessories: “I take all kinds of homeopathic medicine and pills against jet lag,” he quipped.