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TWIN SETS: Sitting pretty in a black Michael Kors shift dress, Maria Sharapova graced the designer’s front row on Sunday afternoon. “I wanted to support him because he has always supported me in tennis,” she said after setting off a blast of flashbulbs, as did Jessica Simpson when she walked in. While Sharapova didn’t win this year’s U.S. Open, she did stand out with her glammed up tennis gear. “My outfits on the court are drawn from all sorts of inspirations,” she said. “From different runway shows, places I visit — every piece I wear is a collaboration between my personal sense of style and Nike’s.” Further down the row sat Bette Midler, who is looking forward to her upcoming string of Las Vegas performances. “It’s going to be fabulous and fantastic,” she vowed.
Meanwhile, it appeared Mario Testino and Hal Rubenstein just may be the new Captain and Tennille. Once Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu” came over the sound system, the two, seated on separate runways, both broke into song, bobbing their heads in time to the music and singing every lyric.
But did the designer himself style his chief executive, John Idol, and co-owner, Lawrence Stroll? The two men were dressed identically in a navy suit, white French cuff shirt (although Idol had one more button buttoned than Stroll), black Belgian loafers without socks, large-faced wristwatch — even down to the three peaks on their white pocket squares. “Great minds think alike,” Kors explained.
PEANUTS GALLERY: The Peanuts gang has been inspiring people for 57 years, so it’s not so surprising fashion designers and celebrities had no problem whipping up ensembles based on the beloved characters for the MetLife Snoopy in Fashion show. Celebrities acting as fashion designers for the day included Kristin Chenoweth, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, “Design Star’s” David Bromstad (who strutted his design — The Flying Ace), and Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffman. Models, including teen pop star JoJo (in Sally by Chenoweth) and “America’s Next Top Model” winner CariDee (in Lucy by Liz Claiborne), giddily stomped down the runway to classic Peanuts tunes against a screen running clips from the comic strip and animated specials. With a bit of whimsy and sometimes sex appeal, the creations at times seemed wearable, an added bonus for people bidding on the designs on eBay starting Oct. 1. Proceeds from the online auction will benefit Dress for Success, an organization that Charles Schulz’s widow, Jeannie, says “Gives hope.” And just who is her favorite Peanuts character? “I don’t have just one, but I identify with Sally because I used to call Sparky [Charles Schulz’s nickname] Sweet Baboo, that’s what Sally calls Linus.” The show wouldn’t have been complete without Snoopy dancing down the runway before the final Heatherette look came out — a wedding dress embellished with mini Snoopy stuffed toys. Although Snoopy was the design duo’s subject, Richie Rich’s favorite Peanuts character is actually Peppermint Patty. “She’s edgy, cool and doesn’t like fashion,” he said.
MORE DEMI: Proenza Schouler may have favored the Park Avenue Armory instead of Milk Studios this season, but for many guests at the Friday night show, the new space was as tight as the old. Proenza fan Demi Moore, for one, didn’t miss a beat when asked how she liked the Armory. “If I can have a little bit more room, I might be able to take it in,” she quipped.
Kyra Sedgwick made her season debut at Proenza. “They asked me and I think their stuff is so beautiful,” she said. “Plus, one of them is a Jersey boy.” But isn’t Sedgwick a native New Yorker? “Yes, but that’s close enough.”
OSCAR’S SYMPHONY: Oscar de la Renta, who has mixed cool hip-hop sounds from the likes of Missy Elliott into his runway soundtracks in the past, has a classical surprise up his sleeve for his show today. WWD has learned the designer, who is foregoing the Bryant Park tents for a more intimate setting in a former Christian Science church for his show Monday, wanted to utilize an organ within the new venue, so he called on his friend Jann Wenner for advice. Wenner suggested The Polyphonic Spree, and de la Renta, not one to skip a beat, hired the 23-member symphonic rock collective.
IN THE SWIM: Beyoncé’s father, Matthew Knowles, is “doing his duty” at the Gottex show, checking out the swim company for a possible licensing deal with the House of Deréon. Knowles said his family has been in ongoing talks exclusively with Gottex to launch a House of Deréon swim line for summer 2008. What did he need to see Wednesday to secure the deal? “It has to be just like music,” he said.
A DAY AT THE LIBRARY: Jill Stuart is expecting a host of semi-bold names at its show today show at the New York Public Library, including Carmen Electra, Tori Spelling, Bijou Phillips, Amy Ryan, Brittny Gastineau, Lisa Gastineau, Chad Michael Murray, Beth Ostrosky, Jaslene Gonzalez, Anna Anisimova, Kelly Bensimon, JC Chasez (who also attended last season), Tinsley Mortimer and The Misshapes. The one noticeable absentee is likely to be the brand’s face of the season: Lindsay Lohan — for obvious reasons.
ROCK ON: Ports 1961 is a Canadian brand, so it only made sense that it would import a fellow Canadian for its front row at Friday’s show. Bryan Adams had his own thoughts on the entire show circus. “The shows are just too short for the production,” Adams said. “You have to remember I am a musician. Here, it’s this kind of a production and then it only takes five minutes? Give me a microphone and I will sing anytime.”
BIG PHAT SCENE: The Baby Phat show is always a scene — case in point, the enormous crowd trying to get through the doors of the Roseland Ballroom on Friday evening. Some even got creative. Since this season’s invite to the show looked like a U.S. passport, uninvited guests tried to get in by flashing their real passports to the guards. A few people got in, but were quickly turned away when they had to get their seat assignments inside. Meanwhile, inside, Mary J. Blige, Ivana Trump, Star Jones (who was chatting extensively with Star magazine editor Bonnie Fuller) and Nick Cannon were among the famous faces waiting for the show to begin.
“I don’t wear Baby Phat, but she does,” Cannon said pointing to his fiancée, Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks.
“We love Kimora [Lee Simmons],” Ebanks added. “And I may want to start my own line someday, so we are trying to get to as many shows as we can.”
NO SHOW: Behnaz Sarafpour didn’t take a bow at the end of her show on Friday, but it wasn’t because she had a sudden bout of stage fright — Sarafpour had to miss her own show. On her way to venue in the morning, she started feeling ill, so her husband, Evan Shumeyko, called for an ambulance to take the designer to Beth Israel Medical Center. There, she was diagnosed with having a kidney stone and discharged later in the evening. “I saw my show on Style.com this morning,” said Sarafpour, who was resting at home for the weekend, on Saturday. “I think my team did an amazing job in my absence. I’m very proud of them.”
CHANGE OF PACE: Maybe it was the unbearable heat or perhaps the hustle and bustle of fashion week wore them down — whatever the reason, guests at Saturday afternoon’s Rodarte show let their guards down. A notoriously tight-lipped Vincent Gallo sang the praises of the sibling design duo, “I definitely think these girls are the most talented in the business,” the indie actor gushed. On the opposite side of the runway, Vogue creative director Grace Coddington ditched her signature basic black for a diaphanous peach frock. “I tried it out in my house this summer in East Hampton,” the editrix revealed. “It takes a lot of courage to wear color when you’ve been wearing black for 20 years!”
SALE OF THE CENTURY: Those who admire the style of the late Nan Kempner can get their hands on some of her clothes next month — when Christie’s is offering pieces from her wardrobe at its October House Sale. Christie’s, of which Kempner was once a representative, will feature 60 lots assembled in a complete look mixing designers, ready-to-wear with couture and a variety of accessories. Among the design houses represented in the sale are Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Fendi, and the looks range from the Sixties to the time of her death in 2005. Highlights include a black chiffon and velvet gown by Saint Laurent, from about 2000, and a Christian Dior apricot gazar dress from 1968. Proceeds from the Oct. 2 will benefit The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. There is just one caveat: Those who plan to wear the pieces should come with a whippet-thin frame comparable to Kempner’s, or, at least, start dieting straight away.
SHOCK WATCH: If you’re in the East Village over fashion week, staying at the Bowery Hotel perhaps, check out an exhibit at Dave’s Quality Meat, the funky sneaker retailer, for the new Casio G-Shock Concre, an exclusive watch line designed in collaboration with artists and brands from the world of street culture.
The first G-Shock Concre series, featuring models created in partnership with New York artists Eric Elms, Madsaki and Rostarr, and Dave’s Quality Meat, will be viewable to the public at an exclusive model launch exhibition during New York Fashion Week until Sept. 12.
The G-Shock Concre will be available at retail in October. The Eric Elms, Madsaki, Rostarr and Dave’s Quality Meat models will be produced in limited quantities of 250 pieces each. 1000 pieces of an additional signature G-Shock Concre model will accompany the collaboration offerings.
SIMS LICENSING: Molly Sims flew into New York for the weekend to catch Max Azria, Costello Tagliapietra and 3.1 Phillip Lim. In addition to preparing for the Sept. 28 season debut of “Las Vegas,” the model-actress who will be on the October cover of In Style, said she’s working with a branding company in San Francisco for licensing deals, though she was tight-lipped about what types of products she would be endorsing.
BIBHU TAKES FLIGHT: Not wanting to leave his mentor, Gilles Mendel, in the lurch, Bibhu Mohapatra waited until after Friday’s show to tell the designer he was leaving the company to go out on his own. After eight years of working for Mendel, Mohapatra plans to launch a signature ready-to-wear collection for fall 2009. “This was not out of bitterness. I was looking for the next step. Gilles has given me this immense opportunity and under his guidance, we have created this amazing brand,” he said. Mohapatra was off to Paris for his friend Prince Amyn Aga Khan’s birthday party in the family’s chateau on Saturday and then plans to visit his own kin in India. Once that sojourn is over at the end of the month, Mohapatra will be back at the drawing board in his design studio at 2095 Broadway.
CHANGE IS GOOD: It’s pretty much a given that celebs attending a designer’s show will be sporting his or her clothes in the front row. But Friday morning, Sarah Michelle Gellar took this sign of respect to new levels. After taking in the 9 a.m. Ports 1961 collection at the tents, the actress quickly changed into a black Vera Wang dress for the designer’s 10 a.m. show. Just how did she pull off such a switcheroo feat? “I’m like Superman,” she smiled. “And, yes, I have a phone booth.” What happened to Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
CYNTHIA ROWLEY’S BOOK CLUB: After releasing her “fantasy memoir” earlier this year, Cynthia Rowley counted herself among literary friends at her Friday show at Gotham Hall. Friends James Frey and Candace Bushnell, who are both working on their next books, filled the front row. Bushnell, wearing Alexander McQueen, said she is penning yet another book “on New York women,” as the shooting for “Lipstick Jungle” — for which “fashion will be a big part of the show” — commences this fall. “I’m trying to gather up all the look books now,” Bushnell said, adding she particularly liked Balenciaga.
DESIGNER NIGHT: A fair sampling of CFDA members are expected at the party at Bergdorf Goodman Tuesday night for “American Fashion,” which chronicles 20th century American fashion and is at BG for about a month before hitting bookstores. Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Mario Testino, Peter Som, Derek Lam, Arnold Scassi, Reem Acra, Gilles Mendel, Janis Savitt, Charlotte Moss, Yigal Azrouël, Liz Lange, Stan Herman, Angel Sanchez, Robert Lee Morris, Stephen Burrows, Eugenia Kim, Elie Tahari, Robert Danes, Tommy Hilfiger, Nicole Miller and Carolina Herrera will show — after all, many of them are in the book. And speaking of the tome, if you want one of the 30 or so collector’s editions signed by CFDA designers, expect to write a big check. They’re priced at $1,000, compared to the regular $50 edition.
IMITATION OF FASHION WEEK: “I’m so relaxed — I feel like fashion week is going in slow motion,” said Tara Subkoff, whose Imitation of Christ line is not showing this season. “I’ve never been a tourist for New York Fashion Week before.” The designer had not planned to attend fashion week at all, but decided at the last minute to come back from a month in Bali to attend friends’ shows, like Cynthia Rowley and Max Mara. She said she is attending shows this week “since I am trend forecasting,” (though she carefully avoiding saying for whom). Subkoff added she will also unveil a design collaboration soon.
MASCULIN-FEMININ: In addition to the expected blow-dried lineup of ladies gracing its front row, J.Mendel managed to wrangle a, shall we say, eclectic mix of celebrities. As Carrie Underwood and Jamie-Lynn Sigler posed for the flashbulbs, Mary J. Blige, with husband Kendu Isaacs by her side, was swarmed by video cameras. Luckily, Isaacs is used to the attention. “I’ve been going to fashion shows since 2001,” he bragged.
Blige sported, of course, a J.Mendel jacket and dress, but it was her fierce footwear that really stood out. “They’re L.A.M.B.,” she said of her perforated leather stiletto booties. And while the pretty frocks cruising down the runway may have issued oohs and ahs from the rest of the crowd, don’t expect to see Blige in a chiffon concoction anytime soon. “I’m never too feminine,” she explained of her personal style. “I always have to have a masculine edge.”
That edge doesn’t come cheap: though Isaacs wasn’t familiar with Mendel’s designs, he was well acquainted with their financial value. “I only know the credit card bills I get!” he joked.
SHOE BOOK: Footwear fanatics have a fantastical new tome to whet their appetite, courtesy of photographer Michel Tcherevkoff. Called “Shoe Fleur” (Random House, 2007), it shows all manner of flora contorted to resemble every imaginable style of stiletto, boot and slipper. Fans Ferruccio Ferragamo and Diane von Furstenberg were fascinated enough to write the preface and introduction, while Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin requested advance copies. Tcherevkoff toasted his publication with a party at the Museum of Art and Design Thursday night.
CAMERA SHY: Friday’s Max Azria show at Bryant Park certainly drew a camera shy crowd: A Theory-clad Ivanka Trump and her beau, Jared Kushner, refused tandem photo-ops. “She’s the one you really want anyway,” Kushner told the paparazzi. Taking her cue from the lovebirds, an expectant Nicole Richie took her seat only after the runway had been cleared. There were, however, some nonconformists who hammed it up for the lens, namely Molly Sims and Carrie Underwood, who arrived on the arm of Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive (could a cover shoot be in the works?) “It’s so nice to have someone you can always count on,” Underwood cooed of Azria’s designs.
FAMILY BUSINESS: Ivana Trump is making the rounds this week even though she has 10-plus commercial and residential projects in the works in Qatar, China and Dubai. But it’s not just the financial booms that has lured her afar. “They have a lot of money, but they let architects do what they want. They don’t have zoning laws,” she said before Nicole Miller’s show. “Here, buildings have to be 10 stories high and the neighbor has to have natural light. You really have your vision created there.”
The businesswoman said she is proud of her daughter Ivanka and not just due to her budding jewelry line. As for offering any business advice, Trump said: “I had her trademark her name 20 years ago. I gave it to her, so I wanted to make sure it was protected.”
Meanwhile, William Ivey Long was delighted to see Jane Krakowski of “30 Rock,” whom he affectionately referred to as “one of his children.” But they weren’t the only members of the Broadway brigade pulling for Miller. Christine Ebersole watched from the wings.
CRYSTAL CLEAR: Angelenos, refreshed from a summer-long break at the beach, kicked off fall at the Beverly Hills opening of Maison Martin Margiela, which drew a mix of artsy and industry folk. “I was in dread mode,” said Crystal Lourd of having to resume the party circuit after a summer off, “but it was such a cool party, with different people.” To wit, there was nary a movie star to be seen. “It certainly doesn’t feel like L.A.,” said Shiva Rose McDermott over the beat of the African drummers. Guests also donned edgy gear in black and white, but, in keeping with the maison’s white and silver decor, only clear liquids were served.
BLASS BLAST: Robert D’Loren, chief executive officer of NexCen Brands Inc., which owns the Bill Blass brand, said at the Blass presentation event Thursday that he’s been busy logging miles from store to store talking to everyone and anyone regarding Blass. On the agenda are new Blass licensees for handbags and accessories, as well as a Blass men’s line, all of which are expected to come to fruition in 90 days, D’Loren said. Arnold Simon, who has the Blass denim license, also is keeping a hectic schedule: He’s gearing up to launch his Members Only label, which is set to hit high-end specialty stores such as Fred Segal and Scoop in fall 2008. According to Simon, the label will feature both men’s and women’s offerings, with outerwear starting at $300.
OHHHMMMM: Fashion week is far from relaxing for most retail buyers. Not so for the folks from Saks Fifth Avenue. Midday Wednesday, the entire accessories team began a pilgrimage from the tents to the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York. A three-hour session, called “The Power of the Positive Question,” provided a reflective calm, but, according to fashion director of accessories Beth Kante, the biggest question on everybody’s mind was what outfit could take the crew from runway to relaxation and back again.
AN ANGELIC MUSE: Angel Sanchez’s client of 15 years and fellow Venezuelan, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, provided the inspiration for the designer’s first show since 2001. She gave him a book of her private art collection, “The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection,” and the works from artists like Gego, Alejandro Otero, and Jesus Rafael Soto reminded Sanchez of his favorite art from his youth. He incorporated the geometrical looks and rich textures with bits of primary color into his collection, which shows Monday. Phelp de Cisneros’ art will be on exhibit as “The Geometry of Hope” from Wednesday to Dec. 8 at the New York University Grey Art Gallery.
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS: They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and at the Ferragamo store Friday morning it was at least the most fun. To celebrate the new children’s book, “Fiera,” the Italian brand threw a party for yummy mummies and their kids, chockablock with balloons, face painting, coloring and bite-size goodies. Of course, most of the tykes who could take the morning off were still crawling, as the older ones were all in school. Which is too bad, because who wants to miss out on french fries and grilled cheese for breakfast?
MENA AND MOTLEY: Mena Suvari was front row at the Rosa Cha show Saturday afternoon, having recently returned from a film shoot in Spain. “I Ioved everything about the country,” she said. “The people, the weather, the food — everyone is so passionate.” Suvari sported a spiky new hairdo that she cut specifically for her role. “It’s very easy now but I am trying to let it grow,” she said of her short, flaxen tresses. “Or else I’m kind of limited in my roles.”
Not too far away sat Nikki Sixx, best known as the bassist of glam rock band Mötley Crüe. The rocker was looking forward to checking out Amir Slama’s glamorous selection of swimwear. “I like both one and two pieces,” said Sixx. “Whatever you’re comfortable in.” Sixx is soon launching his own fashion company called Royal Underground. “It’s clothing and jewelry,” he said. “It’s mixing the cheap with the high-end — like cut-off shorts with a beautiful leather jacket. That’s how I dress.”