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Call it denial, call it escapism, call it a craving for the holidays-as-usual. Whatever the reason, the chic set employed a simple strategy this financially dismal season when it came to planning their vacations: hit the beach (the exception being Kate Hudson, who skied in Aspen with her family, as she does most years).

For the fashion pack, though, not just any plage will do. Ritzy St. Barth’s drew Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Stephanie Seymour and Lily Allen, who nuzzled her new beau Jay Jopling. Jude Law and his children defected to Brazil, while Kate Moss returned to one of her favorite locales, Phuket, Thailand.

This story first appeared in the January 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

If their destinations didn’t reflect these restrained times, their pared-down sartorial choices of T-shirts and shorts did (even President-elect Barack Obama opted for nondescript white cotton and khaki to play a round of golf in Hawaii).

In fact, some designers — Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace and Giorgio Armani — decided to make it a real vacation by eschewing most clothing altogether, opting instead to show off their hard-won bods in skimpy swimwear.

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