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TOMMY’S PHOTO OP: Tommy Hilfiger wraps up New York Fashion Week today and there should be lots of familiar faces in his front row — the celebrity kind, that is. Expected at the show at Hammerstein Ballroom are Serena Williams, Emmy Rossum, Diane Kruger, Bijou Phillips, Rosario Dawson, Kat DeLuna, Maya, Q-Tip, and Violante Placido, the brand’s new ambassador for Italy.
BACK TALK: Backstage is the new black for celebrities visiting fashion shows, as proven by the crew hanging out in the wings before the Calvin Klein show on Tuesday. Ashley Olsen, Marley Shelton and Julianne Moore all mingled with their stylists and friends among Champagne and cold cuts while the models frantically dressed.
“I will say it makes things a little tricky,” Shelton said of the legions of shutterbugs waiting for her and her colleagues’ arrival to their seats. “On the red carpet it’s easier because you can just keep walking. But here, you sit down and there’s nowhere to run.”
“I think it’s too much,” agreed Moore, newly blonde for her role in the film “Blindness.” “I think it becomes discouraging for everybody, witnessed by the fact that we’re all back here now.”
But since designer Francisco Costa is a friend of the usually-redheaded actress, she happily agreed to attach her name to a dinner in his honor at Wakiya later that night. Her co-host was Kate Bosworth, who braved TV crews.
“It’s always a production, isn’t it?” she asked. “You get used to it, but I prepare myself differently than if I was just going into a showroom.”
DOWNTIME, DOWNTOWN: Sometimes relaxing can be more challenging than working, as proven by several designers who came to the Mulberry and CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund party at The Roof Club & Garden at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Monday. “It’s so hard to leave the office and come here,” said Rachel Roy, who was e-mailing in between. “I keep checking if the girls are still in the office.” On the other hand, Philip Lim, who showed Sunday, said, “I feel really peaceful.” Mulberry design director Stuart Vevers was also peaceful considering his seemingly hectic schedule. “I flew in yesterday and fly back [to London] on Thursday.”
The company’s first-ever formal presentation during New York Fashion Week takes place today, and after that Vevers is soon headed to design at Loewe. With loads of time to spare before the Marc Jacobs show nearby, the likes of Allison Aston, Riley Keogh, Ryan Cabrera, Coralie Charriol, Hana Soupkova, Zani Gugelman, Amanda Brooks and Eleanor Ylvisaker mingled and chugged Champagne with designers such as Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Devi Kroell, Victoria Bartlett, Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright and David Neville.
FAME GAME: Art merged with fashion at the Warhol Factory X Levi’s X Damien Hirst show over the weekend, with two showings at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. “It’s about cross-pollination,” said Levi’s creative director Adrian Nyman as to why the denim giant chose to collaborate with Hirst. What resulted was a nearly 60-piece collection of Hirst-inspired or codesigned wares expected to retail at Barneys New York, Fred Segal and American Rag Cie. Hirst and Warhol fans including director Larry Clark, Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, André Balazs, Mary-Kate Olsen, Vincent Gallo, Malcolm McLaren and Casey Spooner viewed the wearable art on a runway that resembled Hirst’s “spot” works to a prerequisite soundtrack of The Velvet Underground, The Clash, David Bowie and Blondie. “Andy was always very fashion-oriented anyway, in this case it seems like a rather seamless thing,” said Balazs, who happens to own pieces by both Hirst and Warhol. While Hirst was nowhere in sight — he was said to be behind the scenes — the audience applauded the Swarovski crystal skull pattern jeans that will retail for $3,500-$4,000 and the finale looks, which were cut from a large canvas of white denim upon which Hirst created an original spin art painting.
PROM MUSIC: No stars were sitting in Betsey Johnson’s front row Tuesday: they gathered around mini tables complete with mini Moët & Chandon bottles evoking the show’s prom theme. LL Cool J, Maya and The Misshapes visited, perhaps representing the musical performers necessary for any slow dance. LL Cool J, whose Todd Smith line launches for spring, said: “My prom was going platinum. This is my first prom — I am making up for lost time.” Tori Spelling, who attended prom with the world on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” wore Betsey Johnson this time around, but declined press interviews.
CARMEN’S HIGH NOTES: Dressed demurely in a sleeveless black dress at Carmen Marc Valvo’s show Tuesday morning, R&B recording artist Deborah Cox admitted before the show that she was still waking up. Now that “Destination Moon,” her remake of Dinah Washington’s jazz, blues and big-band tunes from the Thirties and Forties, has been out for a few months, the songstress is getting back to R&B with a new album in the works. As for all the controversy regarding how women are depicted by musicians, Cox said, “A lot of times we women bring it on ourselves. We can make our own decisions with whatever it is we are trying to portray.”
Two seats down, Dreamgirls’ Anika Noni Rose chatted about her recent two-month stay in Botswana to film Anthony Minghella’s TV adaption of “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” “Most shoots are full of ego on the set. This one wasn’t. It was OK to laugh and trip and fall a bit. Anthony really has a wonderful way about him,” she said.
ISN’T THAT WHAT THE WEB IS FOR?: Tom Ford’s new ad campaign for his Tom Ford for Men fragrance already has people hot and bothered. While the images for fashion magazines are toned down — showing a woman with the bottle between her breasts — the campaign, shot by Terry Richardson, has a B-roll brimming with even more explicit imagery. For all those voyeurs, those images go live on Tom Ford’s Web site today as part of the build-up to the juice’s official launch at Saks Fifth Avenue on Sept. 24. Users will be given a password to peruse the graphic photos, which are housed on a protective page on tomford.com. On the 24th, visitors will be able to e-mail the photos to friends as well as download them as desktop wallpaper. “I was just behaving,” Ford said last week, referring to his short sabbatical from his signature steamy slant. “I was ready for a little sexy again. Sexy never goes out of style.”
TAKE TWO: LeAnn Rimes and Michele Trachtenberg willingly braved the flashbulbs to sit side-by-side at Monique Lhuillier’s show Tuesday. “It’s definitely something you have to deal with,” Trachtenberg said. “I truly love and have a passion for fashion, but I only go to my friends’ shows — Monique and Marc Jacobs.”
Ditto for her new-found country music neighbor. But Rimes said she bailed on the latter when she heard his show was running two hours late. Rimes, whose “Family” album debuts next month, said what she most dislikes about fashion week is “all the craziness — it’s always so chaotic.”
CHILD’S PLAY: Nicky Hilton’s Bryant Park debut left her blinded by tears — so much so the newbie could not make out her parents Kathy and Rick, according to her mother. The couple said they never imagined when their daughters were children that they would impact American culture. “Not even at 23,” Rick said, referring to Nicky age.
“Never did I think one of my daughters would be showing in Bryant Park,” Kathy Hilton added.
HAVE A COOKIE: As if in response to Molly Sims’ quip in the New York Post about Alice + Olivia being a low-budget brand that couldn’t afford well-fed models, the Alice + Olivia in Wonderland-themed tea party slash spring collection presentation offered giant cookies and cupcakes that read “Eat Me.” Co-owner and designer Stacey Bendet, dressed in a long ivory halter dress (“as Olivia,” if she had to pick a character in the modified fairy tale), dismissed the comments as “silly” and pointed to buyers from Neiman Marcus to dismiss the notion that her clothes were less than high-brow.
WEST HEADS EAST: Kanye West’s new album “Graduation” may have just dropped on Tuesday, but he had other things on his mind. Fresh off his appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, West flew directly from Las Vegas to New York to take in the Ghita show on Tuesday morning. Designed by his fiancée, Alexis Phifer, West said he wouldn’t miss the show. “I really wanted to see it, and not just because it’s Alexis’ line,” he said. “I truly believe it will be the best show of the week.” West, who also has his own clothing line, said he thinks about showing during fashion week. “I want to get production right before I think about my show, but I do see it happening one day,” he said. “Alexis has been in business for five seasons and this is her first show, so I know it takes a lot of time and dedication to get to this point.”
ICE SCREAM: Kate Spade held her biannual breakfast Monday to show her spring collection. Perhaps in an ode to the ongoing heat or just the California à la Gidget theme, the designer feted guests with frozen treats along with the usual fare. Parked outside the showroom was the Kate Spade Ice Cream Soup “truck” complete with piano-playing pitchman. The truck — which was featured in a documentary film titled “Ice Scream Soup” shot by Andy Spade — was commissioned from artist Josh Sesbiu and has been making the rounds around fashion week. Perhaps the next film will feature daughter Francis B., two-and-a-half, who was being trailed by Casey Neistat, a filmmaker, for the day.