Star Gazing

As usual, the clothes won't be the only things on display during the collections. Celebrity-astronomers are in for a virtual galaxy of stars. Reportedly, Julia Roberts will be at Todd Oldham and DKNY if she's done with filming for "Pret-a-Porter." Oldham may also host country singer Dwight Yoakum and his MTV veejay girlfriend, Duff, while DKNY is saving spots for Sting and Trudi Styler, Juliette Lewis and Rosie Perez. Perez, it seems, is going to be one busy lady, with other scheduled stops at Ghost and Kalinka, and requests for tickets for Oldham and Richard Tyler. More of the diva contingent will be turning out for Ghost -- the guest list already includes Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Neneh Cherry and Juliana Hatfield, along with Jaye Davidson, Amanda Donohoe and Quentin Crisp, of course. Kalinka is finding seats for Vanessa Williams and Suzanne Vega, and may do a last minute scramble for fans Demi Moore and Farrah Fawcett. And Calvin Klein will have his share of showstoppers -- Carey is a definite for the Collection show, with Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan strong possibilities.

Foreign Exchange

They're back.

Despite a list of complaints from last season that ranged from chaos at the door and leaky tents to fashion that wasn't worth the trip, the foreign fashion press is flocking to cover New York's fall collections -- even if the clothes aren't always available at home.

It seems that the Bryant Park shows have ushered in a new era of interest and respect for the American designer market, both from international editors and their readers.

Until last season, British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman felt that New York simply reinterpreted Paris and Milan. But when she spotted some unique trends -- in the form of athletic-inspired looks -- on the spring runways, her opinion changed. "Whatever the designers do, it's important to see what is going on because in the U.K. there is an enormous American influence on the mainstream," she said. "What's great about going to New York isn't just the shows. It's seeing what's going on there generally."For Marion Hume, fashion editor of Britain's The Independent, it doesn't matter that many of the American designers she covers don't sell in London. "My job is to show the best of what's out there, not to worry about whether people can buy it," she said.

But Le Figaro's fashion editor Janie Samet said that's the reason she's not coming to cover the collections.

"The problem is that practically all these designers don't sell their fashion in Paris, so what is the point of writing about them?" she asked. "Now I am going to write a long article about The Gap, because it is opening a big store here in April."

"I felt last seasons's New York collections had the spontaneity and dynamism of the first Paris collections," said Laura Dubini, the fashion writer for Il Corriere della Sera, Milan. "In the past, we thought American fashion was just 'cowboy' and sporty styles. Now, American designers have gained credibility and esteem among Italians."

Melka Treanton, a Paris-based fashion editor with American Elle, said she thinks the tents have spurred the American designers to new creative heights.

"Putting them all in one space seemed to inspire their competitive juices," she said.

Sixth Sense

Although their opinions of 7th on Sixth bottom-line impact vary, New York's designers all endorse the Bryant Park tents. Here, some top names share their assessments of last season.

CALVIN KLEIN: "I think that showing under the tents is a major step for New York. At last, we're getting it together to make it easy to show the world what we do."

LISA TRAFFICANTE for Richard Tyler: "It was an event -- like the European shows -- for the Europeans to attend. It could be responsible for the additional European accounts we got."

OSCAR DE LA RENTA: "I don't think it helped sales, although it definitely made showing a lot easier. But it's still not the perfect solution."

GEMMA KAHNG: "All the big guys are there, and I felt like I was out there with them, so that's very exciting. Attendance-wise, it was a great help because of the convenience."ANNE BALL for Anne Klein: "It's a great expression of enthusiasm from the industry. We have seen editorial credits from magazines all around the world this season and that may be reflective, in part, of having shown in the tents."

CYNTHIA ROWLEY: "It had a great powerful impact and I'm still feeling it. My spring bookings in dresses were up by 30 percent. Most importantly, 7th on Sixth gave all of us worldwide recognition."

ISAAC MIZRAHI: "7th on Sixth is great for the industry because it's convenient for the editors. But it had very little, if any, effect on my business."

NICOLE MILLER: "It really helped boost my sales, and I got a lot of European business because of it."

BYRON LARS: "The biggest difference for me was that it made it a lot easier for the models to get from one show to the next and helped them run on time."

The No-Show List

Some very big model names are bypassing 7th on Sixth -- or at least choosing their spots very carefully. Christy Turlington, for one, has chosen cosmetics over the collections. She'll be shooting Maybelline's latest print campaign during show week. Meanwhile, Tyra Banks is going to the movies -- she'll forego the clothes in favor of working with her beau, movie director John Singleton, on his latest flick. And Bridget Hall is keeping her collection exposure to a minimum. According to a Ford agency spokeswoman, she's working out the terms of a deal to become the new Lauren model and is conserving her services as a result of the negotiations.

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