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ON TIME: Dior’s first full-blown cruise runway show in New York kicked off relatively on time on Monday evening, and perhaps Charlize Theron helped. The Dior perfume face arrived with pleasant punctuality to support the brand. “[John Galliano] really understands how women want to feel. When I wear his clothes I feel so feminine. And he’s not afraid to make a woman look sexy,” said Theron as she dispatched a handler to fetch some red wine for her mother. The actress was in town for a couple of days to shoot the new J’adore campaign.

Nearby, omnipresent Dita Von Teese admitted she had never worn Dior for one of her famous striptease acts (she’ll be performing at a benefit for the Museum of Sex this week). But if the former Mrs. Marilyn Manson has her way, that will change. “I’m working on a new act right now and I’d really love to incorporate haute couture into it,” she revealed.

Kylie Minogue (so tiny she went unnoticed by most photographers) was finding inspiration of her own while in town. “I went to see Blossom Dearie today,” she enthused of the octogenarian jazz artist. “She inspired some of the tracks on my last album….I’m working on a new one now. After Cannes, I’m going to Stockholm to do some recording.”

As guests fanned themselves in their seats waiting for the show to start, Penélope Cruz was rushed to her place next to Sidney Toledano. “I think Galliano is a genius,” she proclaimed, minutes before the show began.

But Galliano’s cobblery left something to be desired. Early on in the presentation, a trembling blonde Milana, wearing the designer’s towering ball-bedecked heels, took a tumble at the end of the runway and almost toppled again onto Candy Pratts Price before a Dior handler came to her rescue. And later, during the final lineup, May Andersen was so wobbly in her shoes she clutched two friends’ hands just to make it down and back in one piece.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Backstage after the show, as Ellen Pompeo and Fabiola Beracasa discussed their favorite Dior looks while waiting to congratulate the designer, a still visibly trembling Milana put on a brave face despite her tears.

“My body was breaking!” she exclaimed. “It was the first time I ever fell. But everyone falls, right?”

CAMEO APPEARANCE: Azzedine Alaïa may be joining festival-ites on the red carpet at Cannes next week for the premiere of Julian Schnabel‘s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” In the movie, the elusive designer, a close friend of Schnabel, can be spotted dressing a model on a podium in his hallowed headquarters in Paris.

AT YOUR SERVICE: Designer Tadashi Shoji’s decision to outfit the newly revamped Ivy Hotel’s employees was no small undertaking. For starters, the staff is 400 strong. When all was said and done, he came up with 30 different looks, including a navy pantsuit with a plunging V-neck for bartenders, a lace-trimmed minidress for cocktail waitresses and a fitted sleeveless dress and jacket for concierges. The 159-room San Diego spread has been spruced up at a cost of $65 million and an opening party is planned for May 24. But Tadashi already has turned his attention to other things — namely the May 28 Miss Universe contest in Mexico City, where he will suit up contestants in his eveningwear.

GEORGE AND GIORGIO: While the summer movie lineup may offer plenty of action, fashion, for the most part, is more fantastical than fabulous: webbed suits, pirate blouses and oversized ogre sacks. But a little latter-day Rat Packer style is set to seep into the blockbuster onslaught courtesy of “Ocean’s Thirteen” and Giorgio Armani. The Italian designer collaborated with Hollywood costume designer Louise Frogley to create the on-screen looks for George Clooney’s Danny Ocean in the third installment of the heist franchise. Clooney, a regular front-rower at Armani shows and a friend of the designer, said in a statement that the idea of the collaboration came about last summer during a dinner at his Lake Como villa, where both Armani and Ocean’s producer, Jerry Weintraub, were guests. Frogley selected a series of clean, tailored looks from Armani’s Hand-Made-to-Measure collection, a category that didn’t exist 27 years ago when Armani made his first and most memorable foray into film, outfitting Richard Gere in the Eighties’ “American Gigolo.” Three decades later, Armani is clearly still enjoying his Hollywood connection. “Dressing George Clooney is every designer’s dream,” Armani stated. “He inspires me, as Cary Grant did a generation ago.” “Ocean’s Thirteen” opens June 8.

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