CHELSEA CHA-CHA: Forget about Oxford — Chelsea Clinton is getting a degree in seduction at the University of Versace. Clinton dirty danced with boyfriend Ian Klause until 2:30 a.m. at Donatella Versace’s post-show party, sliding his tie around her neck — and his — stripper-style and grinding against him. Dressed in a black fishnet top and tight black trousers, she led Klause around the VIP dance floor as Versace bodyguards watched from behind the railing and Secret Service guards huddled in a corner nearby. There’s no doubt that Chelsea prefers Donatella to those Oxford dons. “I really love her. She is the only one I would come here for. I’m having so much fun,” said Clinton of her new friend. The fun factor also has a lot to do with geography, she said. “The press is still all over me in London, but on the Continent I can do what I want.” That’s the understatement of the season.
VA-VA-VERSACE: Other guests at the Versace party at Club Black included Heather Graham, Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, Molly Shannon, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child and deejay Junior Vasquez. Graham, who appeared with a head full of blonde ringlets, wasn’t exactly thrilled with her hairstyle. “I tried for an Afro, but it didn’t work,” she said. Graham was off to Rome the day after the party to promote her film “Sidewalks of New York.” Meanwhile, the ladies from Destiny’s Child — escorted by Beyonce’s mother Tina Knowles — made it an early night because they had to leave for Paris in the morning. They were on their way to the French music awards Victoire de la Musique and then back to Italy for the San Remo music festival. Beyonce, who has been on the Austin Powers movie set, planned to join them all in Paris on Wednesday.
MCQUEEN JUBILEE: Remember the good old days of bidding wars, when stores would spar over hot collections? They might be on their way back, at least when it comes to Alexander McQueen. The designer and Sue Whiteley, his company’s ceo, spent a few days in Milan during the rtw shows here to open the fall collection. And retailers loved it. U.S. stores are practically tripping over each other to line up for exclusives, and say the clothes looked divine in the showroom. Executives from Canada’s Holt Renfrew think so, too. “There’s a real buzz around it,” said Ruth Ann Lockhart, director of designer sportswear.”It’s quintessential McQueen, but more accessible. It’s still slick and rock ‘n’ roll but refined. And it’s also a little bit girly.”
But McQueen hasn’t forsaken his theatrical side and penchant for the creepy. For his invitation, he enlisted filmmaker Tim Burton to create fashion illustrations of a sort — the sort where women with crudely stitched-together dresses and faces, pull their heads off in distress. “And the show begins by howling,” the ink-splattered invitation promises.
MARTHA STEWART LUNCHING: S.I. Newhouse Jr. and Steven T. Florio dined Wednesday at the Conde Nast cafeteria with none other than Martha Stewart. “Heads were snapping,” said one Conde Naster. “Destiny’s Child could have walked through the cafeteria, and no one would have looked up. Everyone was wondering what she was doing there.” While there was a slight discrepancy as to who invited her, all parties agreed the lunch was purely social. “It was a friends’ lunch,” a Conde Nast spokeswoman said. “Steve [Florio] and Martha ran into each other, and he invited her to lunch, and S.I. joined them.” Stewart, though, had a different story through her spokeswoman, saying, “Every year I have a meeting with my mentor, S.I. Newhouse and the cafeteria is extraordinary. I am a great fan of Frank Gehry. It was just a social lunch.” OK, we’ll stop splitting hairs. Stewart, who had been to the cafeteria previously, ate a salad, Florio had a vegetarian plate, and it couldn’t be learned what Newhouse ate. But two things were clear: Stewart was dressed in a black pantsuit, and she didn’t bus her own tray.
ALL TIED UP: Is bondage the new direction at Lanvin? Passersby might suspect so when they see the nude mannequins wound up with packing tape in the new windows at the Lanvin shop on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. The display is a teaser for the Lanvin show on Sunday, with designer Alber Elbaz making his debut. “We didn’t have any new clothes to put in the window so [the mannequins] are just dressed in Arpege perfume,” he said. Or drinking it, as one window depicts. “That’s my favorite,” Elbaz said.
MONO VISION: How many pairs of sunglasses are there in the eyewear collection of a minimalist designer? Only one, of course. That’s the case with Hedi Slimane, whose first design bows today at Colette and the Dior Avenue Montaigne boutique in Paris and the new Dior Homme flagship in Milan. The sleek, squarish frames are made from a special aluminum by Dior’s eyewear licensee, Safilo, and retail for $215. Slimane said he plans to introduce a complete collection of some 20 styles in October, but he was eager to get started. “We worked on a shape that could fit a big spectrum of people,” he said. No word yet on whether Karl Lagerfeld, one of Slimane’s most enthusiastic customers, will be trading in his signature plastic shades for the new metal ones. “I don’t think so,” Slimane said. “He designed those himself.”
SWEATER WEATHER: Hello, Tokyo. Lucien Pellat-Finet, the Paris designer known for his irreverent cashmere knits, will open a shop in the Japanese capital early next month. The 1,000-square-foot space in the trendy Omotesanto district will be his second store, after Paris. It comes a year after Pellat-Finet signed a three-year deal with Coronet Group to distribute and develop his label in Japan.