SMOOTH OPERATORS

It’s a slick season in fashion, and Friday night’s VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards reflected that beautifully: Save for John Leguizamo’s potty-mouthed introduction of Lenny Kravitz, the show went off without a hitch — from Kid Rock to Chloe.
Of course, all that polish, pushed to an extreme, can get hokey. Paul McCartney surprised his daughter, Stella, by flying in to present her with the award for Designer of the Year. But when he opened his jacket to reveal an “About Flippin’ Time” T-shirt — returning Stella’s compliment at his 1999 induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame — the moment had all the soupy, self-congratulatory drama of a family reunion at the end of “Sally Jesse Raphael.”
But that was the only weakness in a show that cost $1.8 million to produce and that, by the time it finishes its endless round of rebroadcasts, will have made $12 million to $15 million in advertising.
John Galliano, who was reportedly planning to walk onstage nude to present an award, made the more sober choice of a bustier. Even Helmut Lang, who played hookie at the CFDA awards in June, got into the spirit.
“Music is very inspiring to me,” he explained. “It’s very personal and very powerful.”
“I was really influenced by hip hop,” Kenneth Cole said, “and then the whole Latin invasion.”
Oscar De la Hoya, the boxer whose new album just went to #1 on the Latin billboard charts, suggested that the fascination runs in both directions.
“I’m such a warrior in the ring, so I just love dressing up,” he said. “Especially if it’s something by Tom Ford — he’s my fashion hero.”
After the show, Ford, along with Michael Kors, Angie Harmon, Christian Slater, Donatella Versace, Gisele Bundchen and the McCartneys, passed up the mob scene at Cipriani 42 in favor of Jennifer Lopez’s after-party in the library of the Hudson hotel. Stella and Donatella, in fact, were stopping by on their way to after-after-parties of their own.
“You often see a song today at the same time that you hear it for the first time,” said Ford, who’d put Renee Zellweger in one of Gucci’s new torpedo dresses for the event. “Fashion and rock ‘n’ roll have never been more linked.”
If Lopez, who won the Versace Award, has come to represent all the glitz and polish of the moment, then Macy Gray, this year’s Most Fashionable Artist and one of the last to arrive at Lopez’s party, points to something new.
As Milla Jovovich put it, “You gotta’ be a little weird to make style work.”
Macy Gray would agree.
“What I’m wearing totally affects my performance,” she said. “I mean, if I wear a bowl of Cheerios, I’m gonna’ feel like a bowl of Cheerios.”

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