A STAR IS BORN: When the word “fashion” appears in the vicinity of Lil’ Kim’s name, it’s usually followed by “don’t.” Now the curvaceous rapper has a new suffix: reporter. Starting today, Lil’ Kim will be covering the 7th on Sixth shows as a special correspondent for Star magazine. “She has a very dramatic style,” said American Media editorial director Bonnie Fuller in an uncharacteristic bit of understatement. “Her attitude is that fashion is fun.” Lil’ Kim will make her debut at tonight’s Tommy Hilfiger show, arriving on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle accompanied by the Pink Ladies, a group of models who will hand out copies of Star and samples of Hilfiger’s new fragrance, True Star — the face of which happens to be Lil’ Kim’s rival, Beyoncé Knowles. They’ll also distribute pink bracelets calling attention to Star’s involvement with a new fund benefiting childhood leukemia research. A camera crew from “Extra” will follow Lil’ Kim to several shows, including Oscar de la Renta, Baby Phat, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors, who will dress her for the show himself. Note to Michael: Skip the pasties, OK?
THE MAGIC BUS: Fashionistas riding buses? The unimaginable happened when a horde of them, spilling out of Saks Fifth Avenue Tuesday night, climbed onto an MTA bus, with photographer Patrick McMullan leading the charge. Saks threw a huge party for the launch of McMullan’s book, “In Tents,” designed by Pentagram, which is also redesigning Saks’ logo and packaging. About 1,500 people packed the party, including Anna Kournikova, Nick Graham, Carlos Miele, Zang Toi, R.J. Graziano, Dennis Basso, Robert Futterman, Gaetano Sallorenzo, Fred Wilson, Andrew Jennings, Ron Frasch and The Lady Bunny. The revelry continued even after the party ended, when McMullan flagged down an empty bus on 50th Street and yelled to the driver, “Here’s $100. Can you take us?” And it was all aboard from there, with some revelers still drinking or lighting up cigarettes. The bus proceeded east to Second Avenue, when the announcement was made: “This is your friendly bus driver. The last stop will be 42nd Street.” A short and sweet ride.
RAIN DATE: It’s just rain, except for when it falls on celebrities, prissy editors and fashion in general. Olympus Fashion Week opened to a downpour Wednesday morning that shut down for several hours an entire subway line that runs beneath Bryant Park, setting off a chain of events that will have repercussions for days to come. Kenneth Cole’s celebrity turnout for his 10 a.m. show was just a drizzle, as only one of a fleet of rented cars managed to pick up its assigned celebrity, Alan Cumming, with enough time to get to the tents. Meanwhile, many mommies in the crowd were concerned about babysitters who had yet to arrive for day-care duty — something that caused several editors to miss Cole’s show altogether.
Then came word that Miguel Adrover, who planned to show his spring and fall collections at 5 p.m. at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, has rescheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. A spokesman for the designer said that was the only time park authorities could make the space available that would also suit Adrover’s need for a natural daylight presentation. Several designers are already scheduled to have presentations at that time, including Thakoon Panichgul’s Thakoon collection, Charles Alexander, Gustavo Arango and Edwing D’Angelo. Naturally, those planning their shows around that time were less than thrilled by the news — and those reached on Wednesday afternoon said they had not been advised of the move prior to being contacted by WWD.
“When I heard about him doing a show outdoors, I thought it was the worst thing any designer could do,” said D’Angelo. “What was he thinking? It rains every other day here. He should stick around and show at the end of the collections. I don’t think it’s fair, but you can’t tell people what to do.”
Panichgul added, “It’s unfortunate, but what can we do?” His first show will be a walk-through presentation at Drive-In Studios, 443 West 18th Street, “so hopefully people can see mine before they see him.”
A spokesman for Alexander, who is showing in the Mao Space at 135 West 18th Street, called back to relay a message from the designer: “Miguel is very considerate.” Huh? “He meant that very sarcastically.”
SCOOPING UP SPACE: With the latest lease signed by Scoop — 3,000 square feet on two levels at 430 West 14th Street — the company is poised to conquer Washington Avenue in the Meatpacking District. The space will be divided between two new concepts including Scoop Starting Young, which co-owner Stefani Greenfield describes as typical Scoop fashion for ages 2 through 12. In other words, she’ll be manufacturing Mini Me’s of the young moms who shop for Marc Jacobs, Theory and Juicy Couture. She declined to discuss the other concept, but said both are expected to do between $1,500 and $2,000 per square foot in sales. These days, Greenfield is all about segmentation. An existing coed store at 873 Washington Street will become a men’s only shop. A new 3,300-square-foot women’s store at 861 Washington Street will open in November. “The more we segregate by gender and classification, the more people will understand that Scoop is about lifestyle and items,” Greenfield said. Kim Mogull, president of Mogull Realty and the exclusive broker for Scoop, said the new store, which replaces a nightclub, will “change the face of an important corner.” Greenfield would be happy to own the entire block of Washington Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. “We love our neighbors,” she said, “but if they decided not to renew their leases, we’d take the space.”
SUPERMODELS UNITE: Vogue’s September cover may have indeed heralded the return of the model. Even Stephen Burrows, who’s been showing his collection on a cast of Pat Cleveland types since he brought back his signature line, has landed a contemporary lineup for his show on Saturday that includes Carmen Cass, Daria, Elise Crombez, Eugenia Volodina, Gemma Ward, Karen Elson, Karolina Kurokova, Liya Kebede and Missy Rayder.
Meanwhile, three seasons after her temporary modeling hiatus, Caroline Ribeiro is returning to the catwalks this week with bookings at Carolina Herrera, Esteban Cortazar, Zac Posen, Michael Kors, Luca Luca and Oscar de la Renta. And remember Irina Pantaeva, the Siberian? She’s planning to host a press conference today at the W Hotel’s backstage lounge in Bryant Park to discuss a documentary film of her life story, plus she said she’ll be working for Catherine Malandrino and Yeohlee at their presentations this week.
Iman, not surprisingly, gives the A-OK for the latest models movement. At the Fashion Building Futures cocktail party Tuesday night at Lot 61, she said, “Personally, I’m bored with celebrities. They need to be on covers to sell their movies or CDs. But when Us Weekly and other magazines have them on the cover every week, there’s nothing new. Models wear the clothes better than anybody.”
Celebrities also have too much to say, Iman said. “I know too much. I know things about them that I don’t want to know.” But with a cosmetics business to run, Iman plans to keep her modeling days in the past. “You know how fashion people are. If they see you too many times, they’re over you.”
ON WITH THE SHOW: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gretchen Mol, Wes Anderson, Rufus Wainwright, Jane Adams and Chloë Sevigny weren’t exactly basking in the limelight before Wednesday’s Imitation of Christ show. Leigh, looking very Annie Hall with a necktie and hat, compared it with “going to see some theater. Fashion shows are very theatrical.” Mol, who wrapped up filming “The Ballad of Bettie Page” this spring and was attending her first IOC show, was less patient about the paparazzi blitz. “I want the show to start.”
Wainwright offered: “You didn’t know you’d be the show.”
But just when you thought IOC designer Tara Subkoff couldn’t possibly have anything left up her proverbial sleeve, following the presentation, she debuted her new “store,” if you can call it that. On the sidewalk across from Bryant Park, she unveiled what amounted to a plexiglass phone booth, featuring one Imitation dress that was selling for $7,000, and a salesman standing by. The booth-store will move locations throughout fashion week — from the Maritime Hotel to Da Silvano — and will showcase one item a day, according to Subkoff. (Even pal Sevigny was befuddled by the scene.)
“The store is going to do a lot of business,” predicted Anderson. “Especially once you see the ratio of merchandise to retail space.”
FUND PATROL: On the eve of fashion week, despite last-minute fittings, some of the city’s most feted young designers were keeping their cool. As they gathered for cocktails at Barneys New York for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, some of the quarterfinalists for the funding award, such as Behnaz Sarafpour, Derek Lam, Edmundo Castillo, Doori Chung, Peter Som and Dean Harris, mingled with Anna Wintour, Reed Krakoff, Julie Gilhart and others. Lam was a bit sheepish about being out on the town, especially after seeing other designers’ last-minute efforts. “I took Sunday off, but when I opened up WWD on Tuesday and saw that Carolina Herrera was working over the weekend, I thought, ‘Holy s–t. What gave me the right to take off?’”
Sarafpour had just finished fitting 15 models for her Sunday show. Meanwhile, newcomer Chung was preparing for her show, which was fewer than 18 hours away. “I’m so tired,” said a cheerful Chung. “I just came by for a quick drink and then I have to go back to finish my fittings.”