Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — Things got a little tense Tuesday afternoon at the Kenar in-store boutique at Bloomingdale’s, and the crowd of 500 people waiting around were getting a little fidgety.
It was 12:45 p.m. and Linda Evangelista still had not shown up. She was 15 minutes late. Many of the 500 fans who had arrived had waited an hour just to see her. “Where is she?” one woman cried out. Then five minutes later, the star, dressed in a black Kenar Studio suit, breezed in, and the paparazzi started to flash away.
“Linda, look down here. Linda, look to the left. Linda, right here,” the photographers shouted. The attention was even getting too much for Evangelista, who cried out, half jokingly. “Haven’t you gotten enough? How many pictures do you need to take. Hey you over there. You already got me 17 million times!”
Meanwhile, Evangelista’s fans appeared to be well prepared for her appearance, approaching the model with all sorts of things to sign, from ripped out pages of her magazine ads to beauty books. One fan, an antique coin dealer, even brought along a rare coin encased in a box for her to autograph.
“I’ve been sending her rare coins to her at the Elite Agency, but she just told me she never got them,” said Gary North. “Maybe somebody stole them.”
He added, “I just love her. I’m such a big fan of hers.”
Bryon Stewart, 26, was another fan who approached Evangelista, and he was shaking so much that he had a hard time getting out his camera to photograph her.
“I was really nervous. Look, my hands are still shaking,” he said. “I’ve been into her since her video with George Michaels.”
Observing the circus, Kenneth Zimmerman, president of Kenar, couldn’t be more pleased, even though the crowd was more interested in gaping than buying.
“I didn’t expect this turnout,” he said, noting that he saw this event more as an image-builder than a short-term money maker.
“This has a long-term effect on our image,” Zimmerman said, who is negotiating to hire Evangelista for other personal appearances at Kenar’s other department store accounts.
“It gets the water boiling,” he added.

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