Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani chose not to make a fashion statement on Thursday.
The mayor, who had scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. to discuss plans for a public fashion show to be held in Times Square on Sept. 13, postponed the event shortly before it was to begin because he was unable to slip out of jury duty during a lunch break.
Giuliani was selected as Juror No. 1 this week in State Supreme Court to serve on a civil case that involves a nightclub security guard who is suing his former landlord over an incident in which the man claims to have suffered burns on his genitals when water from his shower suddenly turned scalding.
A spokesman at the public relations firm Ted Inc., which is organizing the fashion show, said the conference was rescheduled for next Thursday at 11 a.m.
A spokeswoman for NYC2000, the mayor’s committee set up to stage events to celebrate the millennium in the city, added that as soon as she realized Giuliani would be unavailable, staffers made a concerted effort to reach designers as quickly as possible to avoid any headaches. She also said the office is trying to advise participants of the new press conference time as fast as possible.
“We know this is the worst time for their scheduling and we totally appreciate everything they are doing,” the spokeswoman said.
But the move left some prominent designers who had planned to attend the event reportedly up in arms, primarily because word of the cancellation didn’t come out until around 12:30 p.m., half an hour before it was set to begin. Donna Karan was said to be furious because she had spent the morning preparing for the event. Karan could not be reached for comment.
About a dozen designers and several models were scheduled to attend, and several of them were already en route to City Hall for the conference when it was canceled.
Stan Herman, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and one of the contributing designers to the show, was also said to be fuming over the last-minute change, but when reached late Thursday, he was singing a different tune.
“I find it amusing, honestly,” Herman said. “I might have been screaming at the time, but I wasn’t upset.”
Herman, who created a bathrobe decorated with the city skyline for the show, said he was notified just before getting into a car to head downtown. Although Herman noted that this — a week before spring collections are scheduled to begin — is a particularly demanding time for many designers, he swore it was no bother to come back next week.
“What other city in the world do you have a mayor that is on jury duty?” he asked.
Nicole Miller, meanwhile, had reached Broadway and Walker Street by car when her office phoned with the news. She was stuck in traffic at the time, but was able to turn around and return to her office unfazed.
Miller said she wasn’t miffed by the delay.
“Don’t you think it’s important to have the mayor there?” asked Miller, who is a big supporter of Giuliani’s, along with her company’s chief executive officer, Bud Konheim.
The NYC2000 spokeswoman added that Giuliani was wearing one of Miller’s suits on Thursday. She also said Donald Trump has been named chairman of the NYC2000 Fashion Show, which will feature millennium-inspired looks from at least 50 designers.
Meanwhile, the delay might be the cause of another problem if the press conference indeed takes place on Thursday. Several of the designers’ looks that were to be previewed at the press conference have been shipped to Chicago where, WWD has learned, talk-show host Oprah Winfrey will likely air a segment on the New York fashion show.