PHILOSOPHIAE DONNA: Donna Karan, the designer who famously flunked out of her draping course while a student at Parsons School of Design, will become the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the school at its graduation ceremony on May 21. Although Karan first studied at Parsons in the late Sixties, and should have graduated in 1969, she was lured away to work for designer Anne Klein in 1968. After her own business started to take off in 1984, she approached the school about finishing her degree and completed a list of projects that led to her graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1986. Now you can call her Doctor Donna.
TRAFFIC JAM: There will be more than a handful of designers headed to Long Island City in Queens tonight to check out the Council of Fashion Designers of America-sponsored opening of its first fashion photography exhibit, “Fashioning Fiction in Photography Since 1990,” at The Museum of Modern Art. While the RSVPs include Reed Krakoff, Michael Kors, Lars Nilsson, John Truex and Richard Lambertson, Patrick Robinson and Catherine Malandrino, also expected to make an appearance is Lillian Bassman, one of the first female photographers who made a big impact on Harper’s Bazaar back in the days of editor Carmel Snow.
IT’S A WRAP: There’s bad blood and a lawsuit between them, but Foxy Brown doesn’t wish Lil’ Kim any harm. At FICA Fur Fashion 2004 Tuesday night at the Puck Building, Brown cried subpoena when asked to critique Lil’ Kim’s much-talked-about prim attire for a court appearance last week. Lil’ Kim is facing charges of conspiracy, obstruction, perjury and making false statements. Brown has been subpoenaed to her rival’s upcoming trial. At question is whether Kim lied about the role members of her entourage played in a February 2001 shooting, which authorities said resulted from her feud with Brown.
While Brown said she couldn’t comment about anything trial-related, she relented, “From one artist to another, I wish her well, I really do. I pray for her and hope she gets through this.”
FROM HERE TO SIBERIA: Irina Pantaeva has a new role to play. She is founder and creator of Siberian sculpture Dashi Namdakov’s ongoing show at Tibet House in New York City. At the PEN gala Tuesday night with her husband, Roland Levin, the model said she is working on a documentary about her homeland. They said they turned up Tuesday to support their friend, Salman Rushdie. A few days earlier, Pantaeva and Levin attended Rushdie’s wedding, where the bridegroom placed a ring on his wife Padma Lakshmi’s toe, an Indian tradition. For his part, Rushdie said that married life is “rather like the past four and a half years.” So much for the honeymoon.
FRINGE BENEFITS: Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana and Miuccia Prada are among the top industry players who will offer budding British designers the chance to become an overnight success. All have agreed to sit on the international advisory committee for Fashion Fringe, a new contest open to Britain-based designers. Set up in January, the contest is open to anyone working in Britain who has not shown his or her collection publicly before. The grand prize is $180,000. “Although London fashion has generally been considered innovative, young designers have often failed because of lack of experience and technical knowledge,” said Colin McDowell, Fashion Fringe’s founder and creative director on Wednesday. In June, four finalists will be chosen by the committee, which also includes Zac Posen, Franco Pené, John Galliano, Anna Wintour and Rose Marie Bravo. Each finalist will receive $18,000 to buy materials and accessories for a September runway show, when the winner will be selected.
WHAT WOULD JACKIE THINK: Decades after he helped Jackie Kennedy look smart in the White House, Oleg Cassini will be honored Tuesday night at the Four Seasons with a Lessons in Living Image & Style award. Susan Lucci will pick up the Men, Marriage & Motherhood award. The awards were inspired by Tina Santi Flaherty’s new book, “What Jackie Taught Us,” described by a publicist as a self-help book.