BABY TALK: Politics and fashion can make for an explosive mix. Just ask designer Kimora Lee Simmons. At her first Baby Phat show, the front row included former New York City mayor David Dinkins, possible presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton and former mayoral candidate Mark Green, who was invited by Kimora’s husband, music mogul Russell Simmons.

Green, in an argyle Phat Farm sweater, said, “I wear it all the time,” then added, “well, I wouldn’t be very smart if I didn’t wear it to this.” While Sharpton wore a non-Phat suit, he said, “I won’t go to any other shows.”

The event wasn’t all politics, though. Hip-hop leaders Damon Dash and Jermaine Dupri were front row, as well. Dupri, rapper and ceo of So So Def Records, admitted he had his own fashion agenda. “I have to start going to the shows since I am launching my own fashion line Dupri Style for men,” he said. Launching in the spring, it will include casual sportswear, denim and suits.

FASHION PDA: The clothes bug seems to be spreading to more than just the female cast members of “Sex and the City.” John Corbett, aka Aidan, Carrie’s hunky, woodworking ex-fiance, was at the presentation for Douglas Hannant’s new men’s wear line on Friday afternoon at the trendy Theo lounge. Was it his passion for fashion that had Corbett wrapped around Elite model Natalie like one of Hannant’s asymmetric tuxedo shirts? He couldn’t keep his hands (or lips) off her.

CENTRAL CASTING: Can Jane Seymour get stage fright? She can when she moves out of her element.

“I’m more nervous about this than any movie,” said Seymour, who hosted a fashion show for her new apparel line at the intimate Doubles here Thursday afternoon, at the onset of Fashion Week. “It’s a very personal collection. The joke was I’ve finally come out of my closet.”

The actress-turned-designer’s spring-summer collection, produced by direct marketer Blair Corp., is off to a show-stopping start, of a sort. After appearing on “The View” last Wednesday to showcase the line, publicity generated from the event apparently crashed Blair Corp.’s Crossing Pointe Web site, according to Lew Shapiro, vice president of Crossing Pointe.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said. “We were inundated with calls.” Spotted Saturday at Gen Art’s show in one of her own designs, a violet silk chiffon dress with a bouquet print that retails for $70, Seymour described herself as “blissfully unaware” of the runway practices of higher-end designers. “For the kind of market I’m dealing with, I think a bit of a high-tea presentation is more appropriate,” she commented.

Also on hand at Gen Art was Meredith Patterson, the Broadway actress who was bumped up from chorus girl six months ago to play the lead in “42nd Street,” who said she’d much rather have been a fashion model. “When I moved here five years ago from Pleasant Hills, Calif., I was in a petite division of a small agency of a company that I think doesn’t even exist anymore,” Patterson said. “That career sort of fell by the wayside.” However, she did land a magazine cover recently — “I’m on the cover of Strong,” she said. “That’s the magazine from New York Sports Club, and I’ve also been in Dance Spirit.”

John Cameron Mitchell, who wrote and acted in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” on the other hand, had once modeled in a show for Marithe & Francois Girbaud

HAIR OF THE DOG: Luella Bartley arrived in New York three days prior to her show on Sunday and sat in a studio, day-in, day-out, finalizing her casting and fittings. But on Saturday night, her team finished early, “and we went out and got really drunk,” she said. “I’ve been really good until last night, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter if you’re hung over for this bit.” Her show went off without a hitch, and to celebrate she’ll be heading off for a week’s holiday in Costa Rica on Wednesday.

FEAR FACTOR?: Of all the “real people” models who appeared in Perry Ellis’s show on Friday, Barneys’ Simon Doonan, Gene Meyer and New York columnist Marc Malkin among them, only Ethan Zohn, winner of the “Survivor: Africa” series on CBS last year, didn’t have the cajones to drop trou backstage. Zohn, who showed his share of flesh on the television series, strangely enough hid behind a rack of clothing as he changed clothes. Less humble was Dr. Sherwin Parikh, the founder of Tribeca Skin Center, who violated the company’s directive of white underpants only and was forced to fully debrief.

SAME OLD TRICKS: Joan Vass was up to her usual antics last week at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s membership meeting, complaining that she couldn’t hear Stan Herman, president of the group, who was speaking without a microphone. This is standard fare for the hearing-impaired designer, so much so that Herman told Vass to stop being so difficult. When she replied, “I’m not being difficult,” according to designers at the meeting, Herman shot back, “See, you just heard me.”

SITTING IT OUT: “Do we look alike?” Angie Harmon asked, cuddling up to pal Laura Elena Haring, the star of “Mulholland Drive,” front row at the Luella Bartley show. “We played sisters on something a long time ago, but I’m not going to tell you what it was. And you won’t find it on the internet, either!” Harmon’s first request when she ran into Haring after many years was, “Explain the ending of ‘Mulholland Drive’ to me, please!”

“This is my first fashion show ever!” admitted the fashion-obsessed, Armani-clad Haring, who lives in L.A. “I’m on my way to Tokyo to promote ‘Mulholland Drive,’ but I had to stop here first.” “You picked a good one,” said Harmon. “I’m in from Texas and I’m only going to two shows — this one and Imitation of Christ.”

Harmon was disappointed that travel plans will force her to miss Narciso Rodriguez’s show on Tuesday: “He’s so sweet and his clothes are genius. He’s my new favorite of the season. I just hope he’ll send me a look book.”

Lizzie Grubman showed up at Alice Roi but said she wasn’t going to other shows.

BACK IN TOWN: Mo Vaughn, a headliner of the new all-star lineup slated for the New York Mets this season, is making Fashion Week one of his first stops since signing on as first baseman and is planning to attend a few shows. “Baseball has its own little style,” Vaughn said. “Players used to wear their pants up to their calves, but now everybody wears them like jeans. The baggy look is very in in baseball, but usually, it’s more about the style that you play with than your look.”

ON HER OWN: Samantha Treacy, who worked for Diane Von Furstenberg as vice president of design for two years and at Jill Stuart for five years prior to that, is opening her first signature collection this week at the Denise Williamson showroom. “There are prints, but not like you’d be used to seeing at Diane Von Furstenberg,” Treacy said. “These are placement prints and more sporty.” Treacy took a season off after leaving Von Furstenberg and getting married. “When you’re head designer at all these companies, it sometimes becomes frustrating to work under somebody else’s thumb,” she said. “I want to develop my own collection with urban, young, modern clothes — special pieces that are feminine, a little sportier and wearable. And I’m very interested in designing my own fabrics.”

FASHIONABLY FIT: Fashion photographer Sante D’Orazio has shot his first ad campaign for a health club, having lensed Equinox’s new print campaign that launches in March. D’Orazio, who has shot the likes of Janet Jackson and Christy Turlington in various stages of undress, shot models with only sheets wrapped around their bodies for the ads, which feature such tag lines as, “Results aren’t measured in pounds and inches.” On another front, Equinox is also taking an artistic approach with the first commercial in its 10-year existence that airs today. The spots, designed by Bouchez Kent, illustrate the unspoken benefits of a few hours at the gym — such as a man repeatedly throwing and catching his son in the air or a couple getting a workout between the sheets.

ANNE KLEIN AND ITS ADS: The Anne Klein-Kraftworks liaison was apparently short-lived. After one season of using Lloyd & Co. as its ad agency, Anne Klein switched to Kraftworks for its spring campaign, which is currently hitting magazines. However, Kraftworks is no longer doing the campaign.

“They went bankrupt,” said Neil Kraft, owner of Kraftworks, referring to Anne Klein’s parent, Kasper ASL, which filed Chapter 11 last week. “We were just retained to do the project. Fortunately we got paid.”

Dee Salomon, senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications at Anne Klein, said, “We are definitely doing an ad campaign for the fall. The plan for advertising and to open up the [new SoHo] store was approved. We’re happy with the [spring] ad campaign and think Neil’s done a nice job. We haven’t talked about fall yet.” She said there’s a chance they would bring it in-house “but we haven’t finalized it yet.”

CLOSET CLEANING: Clothes horse extraordinaire Mouna Ayoub has done her spring cleaning early, weeding out some 1,500 wardrobe items to be auctioned off for charity April 6 by Christie’s in Paris. Highlights of the 450-lot sale, to benefit the Children’s Atelier at Georges Pompidou Center, include an Yves Saint Laurent couture gown and some 50 Chanel bags. The sale is estimated to net between $200,000 and $260,000.

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