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PHAT BABY: It looks as though Kimora Lee Simmons is dabbling in maternity wear. The creative head at Baby Phat was seen lunching with beau Djimon Hounsou in Beverly Hills last week wearing a black T-shirt bearing the Baby Phat logo with an arrow pointing to her bump. To test the waters, Simmons will sell the T-shirt on her site, babyphat.com, retailing for $44. Her reasoning for the T? “To celebrate my phat bump and embrace my changing figure, as I believe all women should do,” Simmons told WWD. Simmons’ third child (her first with Hounsou), a boy, is due this summer.
WHEN ANNA MET ANDREW: Anna Sui is receiving this year’s CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, which prompted the Friends of The Costume Institute to get the designer to muse on her career and views on fashion in a conversation with curator Andrew Bolton.
And so on a rainy Tuesday evening, a troop of loyal fashion lovers trekked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jane Holzer, Lauren Santo Domingo, Michele Gerber Klein and Stephen Burrows settled into the museum’s Uris Center, where Sui and Bolton chatted about everything from her Carnaby Street-inspired first collection to her long-standing love affair with music and rock-concert culture. Reminiscing about a collection inspired by Stevie Nicks, Sui recalled voicing her disdain for Fleetwood Mac at a time when she favored punk rock. Little did she know Nicks would personally pick up the phone and dial her digits — though not to give her the expected tongue-lashing. “She loved that I said that I hated them,” Sui recalled. “She said, ‘Why don’t you come to the concert?’”
Nicks wasn’t the only musician who showed her affection for the designer. In her 1994 grunge collection, Dave Navarro modeled a skimpy women’s top. “How did you get Dave Navarro into a camisole?” Bolton queried. Turns out, Sui had run into the guitarist in an elevator. Never missing a beat, she suggested he model in her show. “He asked me, ‘Will there be lingerie involved?’”
With the Costume Institute’s forthcoming exhibit on “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion,” it was only natural the talk turned to famed supermodels — an era Sui is all too familiar with. “It’s no secret that one of my best friends is Steven Meisel,” she said, explaining how she became close friends with supes like Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell. They were assets when it came to planning her first runway show in 1991. “Naomi and Linda said, ‘We’ll get all the girls for you,’” Sui recalled.
FIELD DAY: New York stylist Patricia Field will stage the opening runway show at Vienna’s annual Life Ball, a showcase in the past for the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Katy Perry will also perform during the three-day extravaganza in mid-May, which last year raised $2 million for people living with HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, guests at a gala auction in Paris this month to fete the 20th anniversary of the International Convention of Children’s Rights can lay hands on the very Chanel guitar that was shown on the runway last fall. Other highlights include Thierry Henri’s soccer shirt, signed by him. Proceeds from the event, whose sponsors include LVMH, will go to UNICEF and PlanNet Finance for children in India.
EASY TARGET: Anna Sheffield is spreading her seeds. The jewelry designer, whose Bing Bang line launched Bee 23 with Urban Outfitters last year, is once again hitting up the masses, this time with Target. Rumor has it she’ll be designing jewelry under the name Anna Sheffield for Target, presumably for the retailer’s Go International program, which has seen the likes of hip, downtown designers such as Rogan Gregory, Richard Chai and most recently Tracy Feith. The jewelry hits stores this August.
ART SHOW: As chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue in the Eighties, the late Mel Jacobs was often in the public’s eye. But there was a side to him and his wife Rosalind that the couple kept quiet — their love of art, particularly surrealism. “Mel and I were so involved with Man Ray, William and Norma Copley, Marcel Duchamp, Lee Miller, Max Ernst. They all became great pals in our quiet private lives,” said Rosalind. The Pace-MacGill Gallery, 32 East 57th Street, now has an exhibit of 32 pieces from the couple’s collection of surrealist art including photos, sculptures, drawings and paintings. The centerpiece of the collection is Man Ray’s 1924 Violin d’Ingres. “They’re not large pieces. They are intimate pieces only bought from close friends of ours,” Rosalind said. “They’re not for sale. I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking them off our living-room walls, except that Peter MacGill really wanted to show them.” Rosalind married Mel in 1957. He died in 1993.
CRAFTY FELLOWS: “Why are there no women? It will come!” said Françoise Montenay, chairwoman of the Comité Colbert, during a speech in Paris Tuesday where France’s minister of culture and communication, Christine Albanel, awarded six artisan “virtuosos” from France’s luxury industry with national distinctions. Jacques-Philippe Bedou, head of fur production at Dior, reminisced about the “distinction and elegance” of former Dior client Grace Kelly, who had a penchant for fur accessories such as hats, collars and trims. Meanwhile, Jean-Michel Poiraud, a leather goods maker at Louis Vuitton, said he’s lost count of the number of bags he has made. He listed among career highlights the production of the brand’s first leather hatbox in 1978, as well as the development of Vuitton’s semi-rigid Stratos bag in 1982.
CALVIN’S STAGE MOMENT: In 1990, Calvin Klein created costumes for Martha Graham’s Maple Leaf Rag production. Collaborating with Graham directly, Klein designed low-slung skirts to accentuate the torso, and other pieces that are still used for the production worldwide. From today to April 18, Klein’s designs will once again be in the spotlight, when the Martha Graham Dance Company performs Maple Leaf Rag and several other dances at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet. There’s no need, however, to fly to Paris to sample some vintage Calvin: The production moves to New York University’s Skirball Center May 12 to 16.