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THE ANTI-MARKDOWN BAG: Louis Vuitton’s rainbow-colored Takashi Murakami bags are turning into the fashion industry’s answer to Tickle-Me Elmo. A salesman at the Louis Vuitton store in SoHo said a waiting list for the bags that (officially) closed in December already has more than 1,000 names on it, but the store is still taking names and numbers anyway on the off chance more should arrive. Yet, more than 100 of Murakami styles have already turned up on eBay with asking prices in the stratosphere. For example, an Eye Love You bag that retails for $2,170 can be had for the “buy-it-now” price of $4,799, while others had already received bids ranging from $3,000 to $3,650, as of Friday. The smaller Speedy 30 bag retails for $995, but bids are in as high as $1,800 on eBay, where a typical “buy-now” price is set at $2,950. Even Louis Vuitton “catalogs” of unknown origin that feature pictures of the bags — and one that looks suspiciously like the company’s annual report — are drawing bids of $20 or more. But here’s an interesting question: If the waiting list’s so long, where are all these bags coming from?
WHITNEY WEAR: Although she hasn’t pursued much of a television acting career since 1997’s “Cinderella,” Whitney Houston will flex her thespian muscles once again when she guest stars on the May 12th season finale of FOX’s “Boston Public,” playing — what else? — a singer. The diva will also wear a gown made specially for her by L.A.-based designer Kevan Hall. The gown, part of Hall’s April 3rd fall presentation in Los Angeles, caught the eye of Houston’s stylist, Timothy Snell, who promptly called to request a custom version the next day. Hall and his team stitched the dress in one day for the taping last Tuesday. “She’s tiny like a hanger and has great shoulders and a great little figure,” said Hall, who has also dressed songstresses Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle and Celine Dion. The bias-cut, cowl-neck gown, made from a double layer of gold and bronze silk charmeuse, features a fishtail hem and a high slit to reveal what Hall calls “Whitney’s fabulous legs.” Needless to say, the size-4 Houston gets to keep the frock.