Delegates awaiting the speech by Sen. John Edwards.

<B>THE MOODS OF MS. PARKER:</B> Sarah Jessica Parker is getting to be a quick-change artist par excellence. Aside from those costume-change-intensive awards show host gigs, Parker wore three different outfits during an AOL-sponsored cocktail reception...

THE MOODS OF MS. PARKER: Sarah Jessica Parker is getting to be a quick-change artist par excellence. Aside from those costume-change-intensive awards show host gigs, Parker wore three different outfits during an AOL-sponsored cocktail reception for New York Sen. Charles Schumer at Spire restaurant Wednesday night at trendy boutique hotel Nine Zero.

While exact details about designer affiliation were unavailable at the hush-hush event, Parker arrived with husband, Matthew Broderick, apparently channeling Chanel in a tweed jacket, jeans, flats and oversized black sunglasses. She moved on to a familiar fashion role, opting for a fluffy pink skirt and tan suede heels, à la her “Sex and the City” persona, Carrie Bradshaw.

Always fashionably appropriate, she changed again — this time to a T-shirt emblazoned with “John John” and a rhinestone American flag brooch — before leaving for a skybox at the Fleet Center to watch Sen. John Edwards’ speech.

RATING EDWARDS: Speaking of Edwards’ speech, the reaction was mostly positive among the party faithful. California delegate Mabel Teng craved specifics on how the Kerry-Edwards team would retain U.S. manufacturing jobs. “The government needs to reinvest in the manufacturing community,” she said. “It’s been seen traditionally as a low-value sector, but we’ve got to make it a more productive, high-value proposition.”

Ohio delegate Jack Landskroner said, “This whole convention is a continuation of the theme John [Edwards] has been preaching all along. Kerry’s just done a great job of adopting those messages.”

“I’m from Memphis,” said Bill Clinton’s former special trade representative Paula Stern, who sits on the boards of Neiman Marcus and Avon. “The Democrats win when we can appeal to males who identify themselves as white Southerners, whether they’re from southern Ohio or South Carolina. What’s left for Kerry is to show strength over how to better manage our economy.”

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said, “He laid down some pretty specific points and I think that’s what people want to hear. Most people don’t think about international trade every day, but they do think about what they earn, they think about health care.”

This story first appeared in the July 30, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy took special note of Edwards’ comments on the need for raising the minimum wage. “He went into far more detail than normally they do on this. Usually, you have the vice presidential candidate come out and tear the heads off the other guy, and I’m sure the temptation was there after all the negative ads that the Bush and Cheney team have run against both John Edwards and John Kerry.”

Actor-director Rob Reiner said he had no problem with Edwards’ proposal to tax those in the top income brackets, like himself, to pay for better social programs. “Usually these kinds of speeches are full of buzzwords and catch phrases, but Edwards discussed specifics, building American jobs, improving education,” said Reiner. “He’s right when he says people who earn the minimum wage and have to struggle to make ends meet is not fair, and he answered how we’re going to pay for it. He said the top 2 percent can pay for things.”

RUBBER DUCKIES: Billy Baldwin, Alyssa Milano, Bianca Jagger, Wendie Malick, Creative Coalition president Tony Goldwyn, Alfre Woodard and Jerry Stiller made their way up a laminated orange runway Wednesday night at the Creative Coalition party, hosted by Louis Boston and sponsored by the Recording Industry Association of America. Later, the Hollywood activists joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers on stage and took scripted turns spouting Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson and the First Amendment.

Guests mingled amid a Willy Wonka-esque landscape of tall vials of orange and yellow water, lucite disks and rubber duckies. The motif became a little too apropos when a sodden rain pushed guests under tents, though some scurried for orange and yellow umbrellas Rafanelli Events had planted lollipop-style.

The woman of the hour, Louis Boston owner Debi Greenberg, didn’t forget that half the city — those who didn’t leave town — had been slavering outside the store’s gates since the first sound check, at 3 p.m. that afternoon. “Hello Boston,” she whooped. “Everyone back there, we’re thinking of you, too.”

Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio snuck in a side entrance at Louis, dissing press and the starstruck guests who’d paid $1,000 a ticket.

INNER CIRCLE: Wearing an ivory bias-cut jacket over a floating skirt, Teresa Heinz Kerry sparkled as she bestowed kisses and hugs on her nearest and dearest at an early evening reception Wednesday night at Mistral restaurant.

Boston allies Bob Crowe, finance vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and real estate investor Jack Manning, hosted the dinner in the sunflower-strewn French restaurant, one of the Kerry couple’s favorite haunts.

Heinz Kerry lingered for two hours, taking a brief turn with a microphone to remind those in the room that the national audience would respond to her husband’s sincerity and loyalty, qualities she said old friends gathered in the room already recognized. Those in the room, rumored to be benefactors in the $200,000 and up league, already hold Kerry in pretty close company.

— Katherine Bowers and Susan Watters