THE SIMPLE LIFE: As if he didn’t have enough on his plate with his Perry Ellis negotiations, designer Patrick Robinson and his wife, Vogue fashion director Virginia Smith, squeezed in a real estate deal, having bought a barn on eight acres of property in Duchess County last week. “It’s going to be our home away from home,” Robinson said. “Virginia and I have wanted to buy this for seven years — it’s the first thing I ever owned.”
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree. Evan Yurman, David and Sybil Yurman’s son and certainly a young man about town, designed all the jewelry for Saturday’s As Four runway show. For those who care to remember, the team of designers collaborated with daddy David last year for its show. Evan was involved in the selection then, and he grew so fond of styling the models with the jewelry backstage that he decided to come back for more this year.
While young Yurman’s main focus is in men’s jewelry, his work already has caught the attention of at least one female admirer. As noted, Kate Moss has just ordered a poison ring made from a 40-carat moonstone and a 60-carat onyx grasped by two tiger claws from the designer.
THE ABC’S OF APC: It’s been a week of firsts for APC founder Jean Touitou. For starters, Touitou set foot in the U.S. for the first time in three years, admittedly having had a case of jitters since 9/11, but upon his arrival, he realized what he’d been missing.
“I’m planning on spending a lot more time back in New York,” said Touitou, who is looking for American partners to expand the APC retail concept beyond its 17-year-old store in SoHo.
The designer also was in town working on his spring ad campaign, which, in another first, will feature a big model, namely Frankie Rayder. “It’s no wonder why some people are considered at the top,” Touitou said, fresh from the shoot.
And finally, Touitou said APC is adding its first children’s wear collection for spring, his most challenging first yet.
“It’s more difficult to design a dress for an eight-year-old girl than a sexy woman,” he said. “You feel more responsible. You don’t want children to be a fashion bonsai. They don’t deserve that — they haven’t done anything to anyone — not yet.”
RAPPING UP DESIGN: After Fusha Designs’ show Friday night, Ja Rule said he still plans to launch a women’s sportswear collection next year. “We haven’t gotten it all together, but we’ve tested a few pieces like sweat pieces.”
Wyclef Jean, Fusha designer Claudinette Fushard’s husband, started the show by strumming on his electric guitar. But Ja Rule wasn’t about to play favorites. “I loved the music, but the fashion was great too.”
HANG TIME: What exactly do editors do during those long waits before the shows? The literary ones catch up on their reading. Allure’s Linda Wells was planning to get through Orhan Pamuk’s well-received “Snow” this week. Marie Claire’s Lesley Jane Seymour, who spent six weeks trudging through Bill Clinton’s memoirs over the summer, chose “Reading Lolita in Tehran” in paperback form. “It’s light,” said Seymour, referring, of course, to the book’s easy portability, not its heavy tone. Access to advance galleys is one of the privileges of editing a magazine, as Seventeen’s Atoosa Rubenstein can attest. Lately, Rubenstein has been plowing through the galleys of a new book by Terry Iacuzzo, which, she says “is going to be hot, hot, hot” when it lands in bookstores this January. The title? “Small Mediums at Large: The True Tales of a Family of Psychics” — surely a candidate for the bestseller list. For some editors, the wait just affords more time for precisely what their colleagues come to the shows to avoid — actual busywork. Cosmo’s Kate White — who said she does all her potboiler reading at midnight — said she would be carrying copy with her to edit between shows. Likewise, In Style’s industrious Charla Lawhon and Esquire’s equally diligent David Granger brought copy to work on during front-row downtime.
THE ROOKIES: Unfazed by the swarm of photographers shooting her before the Esteban Cortazar show, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas reveled in her first fashion week. Wearing a strapless lace Dolce & Gabbana dress, she said, “I’m a girl living out her dream. I’ve never had so many expensive dresses in a hotel room. There’s Valentino, Dior, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. I’m usually with the guys roughing it on tour. I’m enjoying being a girl this week.”
Another newcomer to the tents, Vivica Fox, said she was “happy for once to have the time to enjoy it.”
The “Kill Bill” (Volumes 1 and 2) star has no regrets about setting the record straight about 50 Cent. “I still have love for him and wish him well,” she said. “That was just me reminding people who I am.”
Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin was also new to the scene, wearing what she called her “gold-medal earrings.” They were, in fact, diamonds, and sizable ones at that. The 22-year-old said she visited an Athens jeweler during a trip there a year ago, and promised him she’d splurge if she finished first at the Summer Games. After winning five medals including two golds last month, she made good on the deal.
“They were two engagement rings that he made into earrings for me,” Coughlin said. “I’m really bad like that. I’m always treating myself. I’ll think, ‘It’s my birthday — I have to buy something for myself.’”
LHUILLIER’S BOND GIRL: Actress Famke Janssen, of “X-Men” and “GoldenEye” fame, squeezed in some fashion time Friday with a front-row appearance at Monique Lhuillier, the only show she’s going to during fashion week. Janssen, who sat next to Nia Vardalos from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” described Lhuillier’s style as “beautiful, simple, elegant and feminine.” The actress should know — she wore one of the designer’s dresses to a premiere for the “Nip/Tuck” TV show and, if Lhuillier plays her cards right, there could be some more red-carpet opportunities for the Los Angeles-based designer. Janssen stars alongside Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning in “Hide and Seek,” coming out next year, and has a couple of other works in development. “I’m going to direct something before I take some time off,” she said, hinting only that “it’s a project with two other actresses.”
THAT’S NOT THE NEW YORK SPIRIT: Someone over at Olympus Fashion Week has some doubts about New York and how brightly it shines in the fashion ether year round. “Please pardon our appearance. We are working to make New York City the fashion capital of the world once again!” proclaimed a small orange sign on the fence around Bryant Park. Seventh Avenue might have been a little quiet during the Republican Convention, but New York designers would no doubt take exception to the implication that the city that never sleeps dozed off and let its first-city-of-fashion status slip away.
KEITH RICHARDS, FASHION PLATE: With daughters like Alexandra and Theodora Richards, and Patti Hansen for a wife, a little fashion sense was bound to rub off on Keith Richards at some point. The Rolling Stones guitarist turned up in the front row of the reliably wild Stephen Burrows show on Saturday, drawing a round of applause from the audience and usurping the seats of two Elle editors, Anne Slowey and Nicole Phelps, who then had to make do with one chair between them for the show. (Phelps sat on Slowey’s lap.)
Richards, who watched Alexandra model in the show, wore khaki pants with the cuffs rolled up, an untucked floral print shirt and a pastel dip-dyed color block blazer, looking very purposefully disheveled. He kept tugging at the sleeve of his shirt, styling it just so. After the show, when given a compliment on his style, Richards shrugged it off, pulling up his shirt to show that he was actually holding up his pants with a bit of rope tied together, in a place of a real belt.
“I stole this jacket from a friend in Paris a long time ago,” Richards said. “It was a friend who started his life as an Antonio, but now is an Antonia. She doesn’t need it anymore.”
Asked if he keeps in touch with said friend, Richards repled, “Yes, I love her dearly.”
PARIS PLANS: New York may be in full swing, but some already have turned their sights to Paris — including new Chanel No.5 face Nicole Kidman. Rumor is that Kidman, who isn’t obligated to wear Chanel but likes it nonetheless, will be in the front row at the house’s show next month. To further mark the occasion, Karl Lagerfeld will throw a private dinner party for the Oscar-winning actress.
BABYGAP’S READING ROOM: There are as many celebrities at Gap stores these days as there are at fashion week. Following Sarah Jessica Parker’s appearance last week at Gap’s Manhattan flagship, its BabyGap division is beginning a series of celebrity book readings today. Ming-Na Wen of “ER” will kick off the tour in Chicago, reading from “I Love You When,” a children’s story centered around BabyGap’s official “spokesbear,” Brannan, and his relationship with his mother. (They evidently get on quite well.) To follow will be Mira Sorvino reading in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Marisa Tomei in Miami on Wednesday, Naomi Judd in Nashville on Saturday and Marcia Gay Harden in New York on Sunday.
SOCIAL REGISTER: The registers at Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ new store are making bling the new ka-ching. Following the designer’s hourlong cocktail mosh pit opening, customers came pouring into the store on Friday and bought $36,000 worth of merchandise. The big sellers included denim blazers, “Vote or Die” T-shirts, Jonathan Adler vases, books hand-picked by the designer and the Sean John Signature candle.
FASHION’S PANACHE: Princess Michael of Kent was spotted in the front row of designer Atil Kutoglu’s show, in town to promote her new book. Her publicist told her it would be good for her image to be seen at the shows. Better than at Da Silvano.
NEWS IN BRIEF: 2xist wants to help you get into celebrities’ pants. The underwear company has teamed up with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition to host an auction of underwear signed by a roster of celebrities including Brad Pitt, Nicky Hilton, Queen Latifah, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Hilary Swank, who, of course, is the face of another famous underwear brand. The “jocktion,” as 2xist calls it, begins today on Ubid.com, with bids running through the 25th.
WHO? I LOVED IT!: In a sea of bright pink, Hayden Panettiere, the 15-year-old star of Kate Hudson’s last movie, “Raising Helen,” sat front row at the Lilly Pulitzer show on Sunday morning in light blue. She was supposed to wear Lilly, but the clothes “got lost in the mail,” Panettiere said. What brought her to the show? “They sent an invitation,” she explained. “I think her clothes are so beautiful.” After a little more banter, Panettiere admitted she’d actually never heard of Lilly Pulitzer before. But, by the end of the show, she was a fan. “I can’t believe how thin the models are,” she squealed.
A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND: Kimora Lee Simmons may have temporarily forgotten on Saturday night that she had a new fragrance deal with Coty, but then the president and creative director of Baby Phat quickly reverted to her over-the-top self and indicated the one thing she was sure she wanted was a lot of bling on the bottle. After talking about the numerous aspects of her “lifestyle” brand — such as the diamond-studded cell phone she plans to launch in November — Simmons said of her eventual fragrance bottle: “I’m trying to put diamonds in that thing!”