CLOTHES HORSE: Fresh off the success of her movie debut in “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Jessica Simpson stopped in at the Beverly Hills Valentino store Wednesday to load up on the fashion house’s fall line. Her presence quickly attracted hordes of admirers and paparazzi — so much so that the Los Angeles Police Department showed up to manage the unruly masses. Simpson scooped up a slew of sweaters, dresses, shoes and bags, including a gray cable-knit cashmere design (a mere $1,690) but had no problems choosing her favorite: a gray cardigan with a fox-fur collar priced at $3,990. “I don’t care how hot it is outside, I’m going to wear it now!” the blonde bombshell exclaimed before waltzing out into a barrage of flashbulbs. The question is: Did she pay full retail?
SUMMER FOR A SONG: As the ink on his divorce papers was drying, celebrity chef Todd English hopped a flight to Nantucket last week with his attorney Danielle deBenedictis for a three-day celebration. For starters, the born-again bachelor sat back and let chef Charles Salliou do the honors at dinner at The Summer House’s Poolside Bistro. DeBenedictis felt right at home, since she and her husband Peter Karlson own the seaside resort and cottages, as well as a handful of other Nantucket properties. They are having a star-studded summer, with guests like Christie Brinkley and Jessica Lange breezing by.
THE NEXT GENERATION: GenArt has finalized the designers to present their work at its 11th annual Fresh Faces in Fashion Show. They are women’s wear designers Beckerman, Borne, Lewis Cho, Lynne Larson, Octopi and Rodebjer; accessories designers Angie Keefer, Crumley, Draugsvold and Due Farina, and men’s wear designers Martin Andersson and Sacque Suit by Thomas Cunningham. The show will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center Sept. 9. It will be presented by L’Oréal Féria Haircolor with special host Kyan Douglas from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
KLEIN’S L.A. CASTLE: The fanciful, sprawling 1926 brick building on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles that has for so long stood out against the chic boutiques and restaurants is getting a new tenant: Lloyd Klein. The designer has kept a crew busy renovating the labyrinth of rooms inside the two-level, 26,000-square-foot “castle,” of which 12,000 square feet will be selling salons for a full range of categories (some new), such as ready-to-wear, shoes, lingerie, handbags and hats, as well as a made-to-measure collection, including bridal. Although Klein splits work and play between Los Angeles, New York and Paris, committing to such a grand space, which will also house his design studio and archives, means he will be residing mostly in L.A. Is it the year-round sun that’s attracting the perpetually tan man? “When it comes to the way women dress, whether for days or nights, the women in Los Angeles are head and shoulders over New York and Paris,” he insisted. “Well, maybe except for Milan.” The store is expected to open by late September, with an opening party slated tied to Los Angeles Fashion Week in mid-October.
UNITED FASHION ORGANIZATION: Once upon a time New York Fashion Week used to be for the fashion press, but these days it’s a media free-for-all. Case in point: This year the New York Harbor Watch, a weekly read by over 40,000 members of the armed forces here and in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be covering two shows (so far) from the front row. Tom Moloney, a U.S. Naval Reserve journalist and editor at NYHW, contacted publicity firm People’s Revolution requesting permission to attend the spring shows “on behalf of these brave men and women.” The patriotic p.r. immediately responded, offering front-row tickets to Jeremy Scott and Myself, the new label from former As-Four member Kai. The one requirement? That he show up in uniform.
TIC-ED OFF: Starting Friday, the windows of Macy’s Herald Square will be featuring a new presence: the Big Tic robot. The 6-foot-tall creature will be shown in various metropolitan scenarios, like hailing a taxi and riding a bike through Central Park, in celebration of Fossil’s new license for Atari watches.
The watches, which will hit department, jewelry and specialty stores this fall, will incorporate vintage graphics and will have an Eighties feel based on the decade’s best-selling video games, including Centipede, Breakout and Asteroids. The line will wholesale from $27.50 to $42.50. The Big Tic robot also will be available for sale in a 6-inch version. The Big Tic windows will be up until Aug. 24.