READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP: Hemlines, rather than hairlines, are usually the fashion world’s focus, but Katie Couric’s current ’do may be worthy of special scrutiny. The new bangs she’s been sporting on the “Today” show lately aren’t just part of a trend — sources said they’re about to double as camouflage. America’s Pixie is on the verge of going under the knife for a major brow-lift courtesy of Dr. Craig Foster, the plastic surgeon best known for reconstructing the face of the Central Park jogger, according to sources familiar with the situation.

While such a procedure might seem a bit drastic in the age of drive-through Botoxing, Couric and her TV personality peers have a new reason to be afraid about losing their looks — high-definition television. The super-sharp imagery of HDTV is infamously pitiless about its subjects’ looks. “In the last few months, I’ve had three major TV people come in expressing specific high-definition television concerns,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Cap Lesesne.

This story first appeared in the February 17, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“HDTV is a nightmare,” said one beauty editor. “I would be surprised if she wasn’t considering surgery.” The “Today” show isn’t currently broadcast in HDTV, but NBC was an early adopter and it will likely happen sooner rather than later.

A spokeswoman for Foster said, “We do not know anything about it,” and a “Today” spokeswoman declined comment.

Last fall, New York magazine named Foster one of “beauty’s best” doctors in the city, and noted that he had started using the Endotine brow-lift treatment that sources said Couric will likely undergo. Endotine patients have small incisions made in the forehead where tiny hooks are inserted that pull the skin of the brow taut. Six to eight weeks after insertion, the skin resettles at the higher elevation, while the hooks — which are biodegradable —gradually melt away six months later. Initially, the change in appearance can be jarring, and during those six weeks the patient’s skin gradually crawls up her face — something “Today” show obsessives might chart if Couric’s new bangs (a common camouflage technique) weren’t in place.

“In her business, and I know her very well,” said Lesesne, “there’s a life span, and there are hundreds of people behind her who want her job. And this is her image she’s protecting.” — Greg Lindsay

GONE SOUTH: Fashion Week is finally over, and for Libby Callaway, even more so. The New York Post’s fashion editor is leaving the tents and heading home to Tennessee — by this time next month, she’ll be editing the Life section at The Nashville Tennessean. While the paper’s fashion coverage will fall under her purview, don’t expect to see her at Bryant Park next season. “I had an epiphany last fall,” she said. “It was: ‘Oh, I don’t have to be here anymore.’ I see myself living another life, with a backyard and a Volvo station wagon in the driveway.” The Post has not yet chosen her replacement. — G. L.

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