POOR SERVICE: A good concierge is hard to find, and so, evidently, is a bad one.
With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicking off on Friday, 7th on Sixth took the unusual step this week of dropping one of its sponsors. All references to LuxeConcierge.com, an online service for booking reservations and securing tickets to events, were eliminated from literature and marketing materials pertaining to the event, said Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth. She declined to elaborate.
Sources said there was a rift between the parties, largely over allegations from other sponsors that the Web site was less than reputable, with an executive making promises to promote sponsors’ products and then not delivering. What’s more, when people tried to contact the company, they were put off or their messages were not returned. By Tuesday, neither the contact number listed at LuxeConcierge.com was in service, nor was the contact as filed in the domain site’s public registration.
“They changed the numbers and haven’t had time to update the site,” said a spokeswoman at its p.r. agency, Dan Klores Associates, who said she was unaware of the development and could not provide further details, like a working number.
Meanwhile, one formerly unwelcome organization that has been pawing at 7th on Sixth’s door for a couple of seasons is coming back to Bryant Park — and this time, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has an invitation. After peacefully sponsoring off-site shows in New York for a year, instead of crashing and disrupting other designers’ runways, Mallis said she is working with PETA on an event to unveil its new advertising campaign, which she said is not a disparaging attack on any current fur-friendly editor or designer. But is she really sure?
“If they pull anything, I’ll kill them,” she said.
‘ON THE STREET’ AT THE TENTS: Fashionistas with time to kill in Bryant Park next week can play a quick game of “Where’s Waldo,” courtesy of Bill Cunningham. 7th on Sixth will unveil a miniretrospective of the New York Times photographer’s work as part of a weeklong celebration of the 10th anniversary of the tents. Twenty oversized photos of past columns featuring editors, celebs, and socialites entering and exiting the shows will be on display. It will only seem like Carine Roitfeld is in all of them.
EQUAL BILLING: Hilary Swank and Lisa Ling took turns purring passages from sex tourism ads. Alanis Morissette sang a few new songs, and Meryl Streep — without breaking a sweat — gave a harrowing reading from the autobiography of “Deep Throat” star Linda Lovelace, who had been terrorized by her husband. It wasn’t your father’s variety show, but it was all to benefit Equality Now, a global organization promoting human rights for women. Co-sponsored by Glamour and held at the nightclub Plaid, a packed room full of women cheered for their Oscar-nominated heroes and the few men present looked sheepish when Ling asked if they “were tired of American bitches,” while reading from the ad. No one answered, but Liev Schrieber chortled from the back row. Afterward, he said he’d made it to the show to see (who else?) Streep, who will play his mother in Jonathan Demme’s upcoming remake of “The Manchurian Candidate.” “Any story worthy of Meryl’s time is worth hearing,” he said.
SOME PEOPLE AREN’T SHOW PEOPLE: There’s a good sign that fashion week won’t be filled with just any celebrities this season. According to sources, Liza Minnelli’s people have been calling up asking for show tickets for the diva, only to find that some designers aren’t looking for that sort of exposure. Carolina Herrera’s office was said to have issued a “No, thanks.” A spokeswoman for the house did not return calls.
VIRTUALLY VOGUE: They may not be able to pronounce Proenza Schouler in Chicago, Miami or San Francisco, but they can still see the runway show (and only a day late), courtesy of Vogue. Last season’s simulcasts on Vogue-sponsored plasma screens in Bryant Park went well enough that publisher Tom Florio decided to bring them back. He’s also bringing them to the hinterlands on Times Square-style video screens, which will broadcast the shows for a minimum of 12 hours a day. So whether you’re watching while stuck in traffic on Sunset Boulevard or meandering past them in the other three cities, you’ll get to see for yourself which decade Marc Jacobs is mining next.
DESIGNER VANITIES: In what is destined to be a major feat of ego control, Vanity Fair is attempting to pull off an impressive group portrait for its December issue, turning Annie Leibovitz loose on America’s leading fashion designers. According to one participant, who said the shoot is themed around the 10th anniversary of fashion shows in Bryant Park, 13 designers have confirmed they’ll sit for Leibovitz on Friday afternoon — the start of fashion week, no less — putting Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Michael Kors and Russell Simmons in the same picture.