SOUR GRAPES: A stylist who attended Balenciaga’s show on Wednesday set off a major uproar in the offices of Vivienne Tam when she reported that a couple of looks, basically the patchwork numbers with flares of orange, looked identical to some of the pieces that Tam plans to present in her show on Friday. Calls to editors were placed and previews were begged for fear that editors “will think that we copied it,” as one voice mail message said. Hello? It’s patchwork. Practically everyone has referenced that look this season. Coming to their senses, Tam herself got on the line to apologize for the ruckus. “Oh, that stylist,” Tam said. “She’s crazy. This is ridiculous.”

ZAC’S POSSE: Artist Julien Schnabel came out Tuesday night to cheer on Zac Posen, who is a friend of his daughters Lola and Stella. Schnabel, who has known Posen most of his life, thinks they lived with the designer for awhile. Lola and Stella were there serving in “supervisory roles.” Meanwhile, Bijoux Phillips snuck away from sister Chyna’s birthday party to attend the show. She said she would have wanted to walk for Zac but just “couldn’t fit it all in.” Still avoiding the press, presidential daughter Barbara Bush was whisked in to her front row seat seconds before the show and was whisked away by at least four Secret Service men just as quickly at the end.

JACKSON GONE: In this celeb-deprived week, Janet Jackson would surely have provided a veritable hip thrust of energy. She was, in fact, slated to attend the much-anticipated Balenciaga show Wednesday afternoon. But alas, Jackson had to leave for Hawaii earlier than planned to prepare for her HBO special this Sunday. There was some consolation, though — Jackson wore Balenciaga on the Rosie O’Donnell show Tuesday, and will wear it as well for the finale of her Sunday concert.

HERE COMES THE BRIDE: Apparently, Heather Mills, Sir Paul McCartney’s fiancee, is getting ready for the big day. She recently purchased 10 yards of Chantilly lace in ecru from Solstiss, the renowned French couture lace mill. No word yet on who will be designing the frock for the wedding, which is scheduled for some time in June.

TATTOOED LADY: Not your typical front-row attendee, she admits, but singer/songwriter Valerie Stadler very much enjoyed Narciso Rodriguez’s show on Tuesday night. With tattoos covering her bare arms and wearing military boots and a white tank undershirt, several guests were transfixed, to say the least. But she’s no fashion wannabe. “She’s my guest,” said actress Kyra Sedgwick, who’s also been pals with Rodriguez for a few years.

SURPRISE GUESTS: Douglas Hannant got a surprise visit from Carroll Petrie and Jamee Gregory at his show Tuesday morning. Apparently, they loved it. “We’re both going to go up and order stuff. It will be great to try something new, since it gets so tiring to see yourself coming and going everywhere,” said Gregory, and with good reason: on Wednesday, her gray Oscar de la Renta tweed coat was being worn by Barbara Walters and two other ladies.

GUEST LIST: The party at The W Hotel Tuesday night didn’t quite measure up to the hype, but that didn’t stop Roberto Cavalli from having a good time. “I just got here from L.A. an hour ago,” said the designer. “I come just for the parties.” The designer hung out by the bar with Richard Valvo, the veteran PR guy from The National Enquirer. Should the Miami-based tabloid ever decide to start a fashion supplement, we’re betting Cavalli’s clothes would fit perfectly on its pages.

Back downtown, Patricia Field took a well deserved break from fashion week to celebrate her birthday at Beige, the long-running gay night at Bowery Bar. On hand to join in the festivities were show producer Darren Star, cast member Kim Cattrall, and transsexual Amanda LePore. So how old is Field? “35,” she says. And we didn’t think she looked a day over 18.

MAXIMUM MAXIM’S: Pierre Cardin’s U.S. tour just won’t stop. After receiving awards in Los Angeles this week, then presenting his retrospective in Las Vegas at the MAGIC show next week, he’s coming back to New York to celebrate some more with a big party on Feb. 21 at Maxim’s to launch a music compilation for the restaurant, hosted by French deejays Albert de Paname and Felix. No chance it’ll be old-school: Cardin has requested that no one, save for himself, be invited who is over 35.

BAD REPUTATION: Joan Jett and Chuck Zito from “Oz” might look out of place at a fashion show, but they do have fashion sense. “My style has a recurring theme,” Jett said at Cynthia Steffe’s show. “It evolves over the years, but I’m not sure what it is, exactly.”

Zito had a suggestion: “Sophisticated biker chic.” Jett didn’t really have a problem with that assessment, except, “I don’t know about sophisticated,” she said.

BREAK A LEG: Actress Izabella Miko was out shopping for gowns on Tuesday for her appearance at the Grammys and stopped by Bill Blass for research, with her boyfriend and pup, Layla, in tow. Layla got several kisses during the show from the blond stunner, who’ll next be playing a temptress in a film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Laughter in the Dark.” The boyfriend did not.

“Layla broke her leg when she fell off my boyfriend’s lap,” she said, pointing to the dog’s cast. “He feels so guilty now.”

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