FASHION SCOOPS

STIFF COMPETITION: The mannequins in Calvin Klein’s flagship are beginning to steam up the windows. The store has turned over much of its window display to the Calvin Klein Underwear collection, all the better to show off its brand new, supersexed mannequins. Dale Rozmiarek, who joined Calvin Klein from Barneys New York six months ago as vice president of creative services, worked with the designer to come up with a new look for its in-store display and the duo decided to toss its old stiff-as-a-board fare in favor of four new styles modeled after Klein’s house fit models. Jessica Miller, who’s career has taken off this season, posed for the two female forms — one contraposto, the second reclining in a position that appears as if she was doing a stomach crunch with her legs spread-eagle. The male styles are also anatomically correct, right down to the nipples, toes and other natural accessories. This is a Calvin Klein store, after all, even the models are controversial. It’s certainly drawing the attention of his competitors. Gabriella Forte, who used to run Calvin Klein as president and chief operating officer but is now president of Dolce & Gabbana in the U.S., was spotted doing a little window shopping in the store on Friday morning. She even left her compliments on how good it all looked.

CLUB SANDWICH: Canadian company Club Monaco has tapped celebrated restaurateur Brian McNally to open a restaurant in the company’s Toronto flagship, at 157 Bloor Street — that city’s version of Fifth Avenue. McNally is best known for his tried-and-true New York eateries like Odeon, Indochine and most recently, Smith. John Mehas, Club Monaco’s president and chief executive officer, recruited McNally to transform the previously unused lower-level space, according to a Club Monaco spokeswoman. The fare is yet to be decided. The 140-seat outdoor portion of the restaurant will open in June, while the 90-person indoor area is slated for a September debut. The space was designed by Toronto-based architecture firm Burdifilek, which has designed more than 10 Club Monaco stores in the U.S. and Canada.

CRUZIN’ AWAY?: Penelope Cruz and Ralph Lauren might be headed for fashion splitsville. Although a final decision hasn’t been made, a Polo spokesman said Friday, “It’s likely she will no longer be the face in the [women’s Collection] advertising, but she will be the face for Glamourous [Lauren’s fragrance]. We are renewing her for 2003.” Cruz’s contract as the women’s Collection spokesmodel is currently up for renewal. She has been featured in Lauren’s women’s ads since fall 2000. She has also been a front-row fixture at Lauren’s fashion shows, and is featured on polo.com with photographs and an interview. Last fall, Cruz also began appearing in the Glamourous print and TV ads that were shot by Bruce Weber.

ELTON’S TIME: In between practice sessions for his Madison Square Garden concerts with Billy Joel, Elton John found time last week to kick off his first watch collection at the Chopard store on Madison Avenue.
Sir Elton, a self-proclaimed watch afficionado, has designed watches in conjunction with Chopard. Proceeds will benefit his Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“I love watches,” said the entertainer, as he fought off a bulging crowd of paparazzi at the tiny store. “I am a huge collector — I have about 850.”
The limited-edition collection features plenty of diamonds and hefty prices — up to $70,000 for some styles.
John, who is well known for his offbeat and sometimes outrageous style, sported a yellow Versace suit at the event, and hobnobbed with the eclectic crowd, which included actor Alan Cummings, socialite/singer Denise Rich and R. Brad Martin, chairman and ceo of Saks Inc.
“I am a huge Elton John fan,” said Rich, who wore a beaded dress designed by her daughter, Ilona. “I will never forget his tribute to Princess Diana. And I am happy he is spending more time in America.”

BOTTEGA’S BACK: Bottega Veneta reopened its 20-year-old boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on Saturday after a one-month redesign that plays up California’s lifestyle. Unlike other BV stores, now counting 29 units in the U.S., the Gucci Group division fashioned the space on one-level instead of the usual two because of the city’s low slung architecture. Windows were also widened to allow maximum sun time. And a full assortment of women’s product was installed in a wider color palette for spring to suit West Coast tastes. The 2,550-square-foot boutique blends warm neutral colors with African Iroko wood, brushed steel, beige suede and chocolate leather. Shoes, bags, luggage and small leather goods designed by creative director Tomas Maier are currently housed at the store, but in June, men’s accessories, home items and clothing for both men and women will be introduced.

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