PRADA HONORED: While Los Angeles’ fledgling designers were showing at Smashbox Studios, the city’s fashion and art elite came out to the Hammer Museum’s “Gala in the Garden” Sunday night honoring Miuccia Prada and Mike Kelley. As 600 guests — including Diane Keaton, Lauren Hutton, Alejandro González Iñárritu, k.d. Lang and Brian Grazer — mingled in the Hammer’s courtyard, devout clients Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson shared their thoughts on the designer. “[Prada] makes you feel slim and trim…. A Prada suit lasts forever, it’s not flighty or gimmicky,” explained Hanks. He even described the security guards at Prada’s stores as “the sharpest-dressed guys around.” Naturally, Hanks was outfitted in a classic black Prada suit. Wilson, who wore a sequined black Prada minidress, explained that for a woman, “Prada is sexy, modern and comfortable….A woman feels confident in it.”

Vanessa Getty flew in for the occasion and expressed Prada’s style in three words: “innovative, edgy synergy” while Los Angeles artist Ray Azoulay described Miuccia’s work as “refined, discerning and sophisticated.” Fellow artist Cindy Sherman later introduced the designer as a leading force in international design and culture.

L.A. CHICK: As at any fashion show these days, when a celebrity shows, packs of tabloid TV crews descend en masse. The debut of Chick by Nicky Hilton at Smashbox Studios was no exception, causing show organizers to turn away late-arriving shutterbugs Sunday night. Nicky Hilton’s supporters in the front row ranged from socialite buddies Lady Victoria Hervey, Casey Johnson and Jason Davis to industry friends David Katzenberg and actress and fellow designer Jaime Pressly. “I’m supporting other women for what they do and want to do. I’m all about burning your bra,” Pressly said.

Hilton’s big sister, Paris, was absent (she is filming a movie in Toronto), but beaming parents Kathy and Rick Hilton were there. The runway is familiar territory for Hilton, who showed her Nicholai ready-to-wear line during New York Fashion Week in September, but she said Chick’s spring collection was a reflection of her lifestyle in balmy Los Angeles. “I wear short shorts, denim trousers, tube tops,” Hilton said, adding the colors and prints were inspired by fairy tales.

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

Backstage, Hervey said she is dividing her time between London, where she’s designing a clothing line, and Los Angeles, where she’s dabbling in television. While Hervey described Hilton’s collection as “pretty wearable,” she herself wore a vintage mandarin collar silk brocade coat by Ceil Chapman — “one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite designers.”

DINNER BELLES: On Thursday night, Fred Segal Beauty co-founders Michael Baruch and Paul DeArmas and Smashbox owners Dean and Davis Factor held their annual kickoff dinner for designers showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills. The yearly gathering drew veterans such as Randolph Duke and Bebe chairman and founder Manny Mashouf, as well as fledgling designers Nicky Hilton, Emmy Award-winning actress Jaime Pressly, Sophia Banks and Marissa Ribisi, who brought her twin brother, actor Giovanni Ribisi. Colorful runway characters included Heatherette’s Richie Rich and Traver Rains, Petro Zillia’s Nony Tochterman and Jeremy Scott. “This is one of my favorite events,” said designer Joey Tierney, “because everyone can come together and celebrate.” A few fashion-loving actresses such as Ashley Scott and Rumer Willis also stopped by for food and fun.

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