MARC’S FRONT ROW: When the scant celebrities arrived (promptly, thank you very much) to Marc Jacobs’ show on Friday night, they were met with buckets full of mini-champagne bottles, setting something of a celebratory tone.
“I’m tempted, but no one else is drinking,” said Gretchen Mol. “I don’t want to be the tacky one.”
No worries, since the actress didn’t even have time for a tipple. By 7:15, Jacobs was striding across the stage telling no one in particular, “Let’s start this.”
After the show, Victoria Beckham marveled at Sonic Youth’s live performance. Its sound isn’t much like the Spice Girls’ groove, but the show may have made a fan out of Posh. “I didn’t listen to them before,” Beckham said, “but now I might start.”
Selma Blair was more in awe of her friend’s design skill. “Marc’s the young wunderkind who never stopped and made young girls want to dress up again,” she said, sounding a little like a press release.
New to the scene was rapper M.I.A., who had never been to Jacobs’ show but appears in the current Marc by Marc Jacobs ad campaign. “I tried to go to his party in London a year ago, but I couldn’t get in,” she recalled with irony. How times have changed. This year, the petite stunner DJ’d Jacobs’ after party at 24 Fifth.
LET IT OUT: Susan Sarandon sat front and center at the Donna Karan show on Friday. Famous for her outspoken views on politics, the war and just about everything else, Sarandon also shared her opinion on the possible ending of the writers’ strike soon. “It’s a rumor,” she said. “I think it’s something that’s been circulating, but it’s not true. It would be great, though. We all need to wait it out and work together and stick together. It’s so important for them to keep going.” And does Sarandon agree with good friends Graydon Carter and Diane von Furstenberg — both of whom pulled the plug on their celebrated pre- and post-Oscar festivities? “It’s the only appropriate thing they can do,” Sarandon said.
FRIENDS HELP: Some designers make friends with a celebrity when they dress them for a red carpet, or accompany them to the Met Ball or the CFDA. But for Lyn Devon, she got lucky — her childhood best friend is actress Lake Bell. The starlet, who just wrapped “What Happens in Vegas…” alongside Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, took the red-eye all the way from Los Angeles just to be there for Devon’s presentation on Thursday night. She was headed back to Hollywood in the morning for meetings and work. “But this is a big deal,” said Bell of her 24-hour trip. “Lyn is amazing and we grew up together.”
CHANCE MEETING: Instigated by a scheduling snafu for the same showroom space, Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin found a new collaborator in accessories brand Henry Beguelin. The two shared a space last week at the lf8 showroom on lower Park Avenue and decided to collaborate on a bag for next season. The two share a similar artisanal homespun feeling, so the union seems natural. “Cristina [Nicoletti of Henry Beguelin] said that her leather crafters can do the stitches similar to ours,” Chanin said.
Henry Beguelin also will carry some pieces from her Alabama Chanin line, which this season took inspiration from famed civil rights photographer Charles Moore. When his pictures were shown in Life magazine starting in 1958, “it really brought awareness to the rest of the country that this was happening, and for that I feel he helped champion a revolution for change,” Chanin said.
Regarding the dwindling manufacturing in the U.S., she added: “There are just factories [in Alabama] sitting empty that could be working. I am tired of people saying we can’t.”
She shares Moore’s passion for change as well as a zip code — the two are neighbors in Alabama. His photographs can be seen on display at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City.
LADY IN RED: The Golden Globes didn’t happen in Los Angeles this year, but the Beverly Hilton ballroom will be the setting for the 10th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards on Feb. 19. To commemorate the anniversary, the first CDG Career Award Recipient, Bob Mackie, and this year’s recipient, Ray Aghayan, designed a red gown for the evening’s mistress of ceremonies, Anjelica Huston. Although Mackie and Aghayan have collaborated for decades on film and television projects, this marks the first time they have come together to design a gown for an award show. Among the evening’s other honorees are Tom Cruise’s producing partner, Paula Wagner (recipient of the Swarovski President’s Award); costume designer Ruth Meyers (Lacoste Career Achievement in Film), and James Mangold and Cathy Konrad (Distinguished Director/Producer Award). Huston’s gown eventually will be donated to Clothes Off Our Back to be auctioned for charity.
TUMBLE 4 YA: Unlike his last season’s celebrity-heavy front row, which included Demi Moore, Lucy Liu and Martha Stewart, among others, Zac Posen on Thursday evening opted for a complete roundabout, with only childhood friend Joy Bryant and investor Sean “Diddy” Combs in the front row. The word was that Posen wanted editors and buyers to focus on the clothes and not the bold-facers. It was an admirable endeavor, but perhaps Posen himself should have focused more on the shoes that hobbled his models. Throughout the show, the girls stumbled across the runway in their towering stub-toed satin heels, visibly struggling to remain vertical. Ironically, Karen Elson, the most experienced of the bunch, took a flat-out fall in the final exit, prompting Diddy to leap up from his seat, and Caroline Trentini to pull her back up. At least Elson seemed to take the incident in stride: She grinned and laughed her way as she finished her turn.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LADIES?: It was only about an hour before show time when Sean “Diddy” Combs decided he would definitely not be showing any women’s wear on the runway at his show on Friday. “It just didn’t come together in time and I wasn’t going to show what I wasn’t happy with,” Combs said backstage post-show. Combs, who just ended his junior women’s sportswear licensing agreement with G-III Apparel Group Ltd., said the women’s line will still be produced in-house — at least for now. “We are in discussions with other potential partners to do the women’s line. The women’s business is the craziest business in the world and it’s been hard for us to get out of the gate, but we’ll get there. When we do, it’s going to be big.”
Meanwhile, front-row guests such as Phylicia Rashad, Kevin Federline (who arrived with a bodyguard to shoo away reporters) and Roberto Cavalli all turned out in support.
“The only reason I’m still in New York is for Puffy,” Cavalli said. “He is an artist and always puts on a real show. Maybe someday he will come to my show.”
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: David Remnick, aka “Mr. Fashion,” joked that he’d been to 40 shows last week, but then fessed up that Ralph Lauren’s was the only show he’d been to. “How often do the swallows go to Capistrano?” he said. Asked how he enjoyed Lauren’s show, The New Yorker’s editor said: “What’s not to enjoy compared to what I’ve been doing?”
HOLLYWOOD CLOSE-UP: Ralph Lauren has had quite a few cinematic moments over the past four decades, a notion that was driven home this season when producer and director Joel Schumacher came to his fall runway show on Friday. “Ralph and I have been friends since 1970, when he was starting in the men’s wear business,” Schumacher, who sat in the front row next to Ricky Lauren, said. “I couldn’t afford anything so he would give me the models’ samples.” Schumacher, who was a costume designer in the Seventies, said he was hopeful the writers’ strike was coming to an end. “It looks promising,” he said.
THE SHAKEOUT: Salt-n-Pepa’s Sheryl James and Sandy Denton were ringside at Carmen Marc Valvo Friday. The rappers-turned-reality stars said they are shoppers through and through. “What girl isn’t into fashion, especially in the music business? Fashion and music go hand in hand,” James said.
“I’m always at the mall — it’s disgusting,” Denton added.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the occasional freebie. Denton raised the faux fur coat Kimora Lee Simmons gave her to illustrate the point. “Custo [Barcelona] gave us some clothes yesterday to wear on our show,” she said. “But we want more, so put it out there. People can go to vh1.com if they want to donate clothes to Salt-n-Pepa.
Across the way, Katrina Bowden of “30 Rock” said she’s been keeping up her acting game by finessing “A True Story: Based on Things That Never Happened and Some That Did.” Once financing is secured, she and co-star Malcolm Goodwin plan to appear in the off-Broadway play.
IN THE HOUSE OF TONCHI: Fashion is the medium of choice for Isabella and Stefano Tonchi, but they don’t exactly talk shop. The T editor did drop by his sister’s showing Friday at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery, and one observer said he smiled broadly. While the designer said she and her brother talk about fashion all the time, “in the end, we never talk about the work he does at the magazine and what I’m working on. Like most families, we don’t want to talk too much about work.”
JEAN QUEEN: Sheryl Crow sitting front row at Ralph Lauren comes as little surprise. After all, the country-rock singer “lives in Double RL,” as she said at the designer’s Friday morning presentation. But now that she’s starting her own denim line, could the singer’s attendance be a bit more strategic? Shopping for ideas, maybe? “I’m kind of inspired by Ralph,” Crow admitted, before adding that her collection, Bootheel Trading Co., will be sold at a more affordable price point and appear in stores like Dillard’s and Macy’s around the holidays.
GIORGIO’S SONG: Alicia Keys will don Giorgio Armani’s designs during her upcoming “As I Am” world tour, which kicks off in Glasgow on Feb. 25. A crocodile embossed leather vest accented with Swarovski crystal buckles paired with lacquered jeans, which the designer has named after the Grammy-winning performer, is one of Keys’ custom-made looks. “Alicia is a performer we will justifiably be comparing with the great Aretha Franklin in years to come,” said Armani, who has a long-standing friendship with Keys. The designer has dressed her for red-carpet events and the two have partnered for a number of charity events, such as last year’s Fashion Rocks.