CELLULOID vs. CELLULITE: Here’s a perfect example of the game of Russian Roulette designers play by dressing celebrities on Academy Awards night. A couple of weeks ago, a stylist repping talk show hostess Ananda Lewis called Marc Bouwer looking for appropriate gowns for the big night, which sounded like a great coup, considering she was set for prime-time exposure as a red carpet correspondent for ABC. One thing that the stylist neglected to mention, however, was that Lewis is modeling her post-MTV career on that of Oprah Winfrey in more ways than one — the formerly svelte VJ is now a size 14. Bouwer, whose trim silhouettes are typically cut more for Toni Braxton than Tony Soprano, attempted to put Lewis in a red flamenco dress adapted from his fall collection, artfully tailoring the ruffled bodice with a plunging neckline to take the attention away from her rump, but, alas, it was still too plump.
As graciously as one could back out of such a situation, Bouwer suggested Lewis should shop elsewhere — it’s not like she ever did anything for him when she was thin. But then, how does one graciously tell someone they’re just too, er, big a celebrity to handle?
“You would think Ananda was Star Jones the way they were acting!” snapped Lewis’ spokeswoman. “They said ‘Aw, Ananda’s a 42-inch hip, and Marc’s never done more than a 34-inch hip.’ It was three or four days before the Oscars and suddenly he’s so concerned that Ananda’s not a size 2.”
Well, Lewis and her stylist, Lisa Sellers, headed over to CD Greene for a last-minute replacement, and according to her spokeswoman, the results were all Ananda — even if it turned out that the dress she wore Sunday night was an eerily similar red dress, complete with a ruffle-trimmed halter that looked as if she had pulled a Scarlett O’Hara and hastily torn down the kitchen drapes. “I feel like I’ve been A.B.S.-ed,” exclaimed Paul Margolin, president of Marc Bouwer, referring to knockoff king Allen B. Schwartz.
“That wasn’t a Marc Bouwer design,” retorted Lewis’ spokeswoman. “That was an Ananda Lewis and Lisa Sellers design. The only thing that was the same about those two dresses is that they were red!”
Meanwhile, Bouwer sent his original design out to Beverly Johnson, who wore it to the Elton John AIDS Foundation party that night and got plenty of publicity. In the end, none of it really mattered. Lewis’ look was considered such a dud that virtually every photo agency skipped her on the red carpet.
PEGASUS REDUX: More signs that the effects of the recession could soon be over — two of fashion’s favorite underdogs are gearing up for a comeback. Miguel Adrover is back in town and in the midst of setting up a new design studio, his confidant Jennefer Hoffman confirmed on Monday. “We’re just trying to sort things out right now,” she said. “We’re trying to get a little more space in the city and put together a collection ourselves. It’s been difficult, considering how quickly things stopped before, but we’d love to be a part of next season.” Adrover’s business was shuttered last October by its short-lived backers, once known as Pegasus Apparel Group and now operating as the Leiber Group, but Adrover maintained ownership of his name and appears to be plotting a new course on his own.
Meanwhile, the last bastion of Daryl Kerrigan’s once-thriving business was shuttered a few weeks back, with the closing of her signature Daryl K shop at 21 Bond Street, also a victim of the crumbling Pegasus corporate umbrella.
“Our delightful partners closed it down with no further plans on their part,” Kerrigan said on Monday. That was irony in her voice, in case you missed it. But seriously, the designer doesn’t intend to go down without a fight.
“That doesn’t mean I’m going to close on my part,” she vowed. “I’m not prepared to let it end there. I expect to be back in business very soon.”