SAFETY IN NUMBERS: Designers settled pre-Met jitters Monday afternoon by surrounding themselves with friends at a long lunch held at Morandi cohosted by Pete Nordstrom. Isabel Toledo arrived with hubby Ruben, Giambattista Valli brought along pal Mischa Barton and Vanessa Seward stuck closely to her musician husband, Bertrand Burgalat, and chum Sophia Kokosalaki. The two designing women claimed not to be nervous “because there are so many big celebrities, no one cares about us,” Seward smiled. Nevertheless, she and Kokosalaki scheduled a pre-gala cocktail at Gramercy Park Hotel before heading into the storm.

NEAR TO HER: New York is a city rife with Julie Christie fans. “I’ve been wanting to meet you forever,” gushed Debbie Harry to the “Away From Her” star at the film’s Cinema Society screening Wednesday night. So had Candice Bergen, Debra Messing, Kim Cattrall, Griffin Dunne, Sandra Bernhard and Ricki Lake, who all showed up at the IFC Film Center to support the iconic actress in her latest role as a sufferer of Alzheimer’s disease. Olympia Dukakis costars in the movie written and directed by Sarah Polley. “It’s an interesting topic for the fashion crowd,” Rachel Roy said, “getting older.”

Christie herself, dressed in a green frock from her closet, was having a hard time adjusting to socializing with the style-obsessed at the after party at the Soho Grand. “Everyone’s asking me, ‘What’s your dress? Who are you wearing?'” she said, struggling with the terminology. “I want to say, ‘My dress is…my dog or something.'” Eric Mabius of “Ugly Betty” was more comfortable, thanks to his role as editor in chief of Mode magazine. “I’m less fashion illiterate than I once was,” he said, throwing back a Corona and showing off pictures of his son Maxfield on his BlackBerry.

This story first appeared in the May 8, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

GREEN THUMB: Kris Van Assche, who replaced Hedi Slimane at the head of Dior Homme, seems to share his predecessor’s taste for multitasking. Van Assche, who has yet to show his first collection chez Dior, has created an “aromatic” garden in hues of blue, white and green for Paris’ Bon Marché department store. The indoor 300-square-foot garden, redolent with the likes of lavender and jasmine, will open June 1 to 9 as part of a special “Flowers in the City” promotion at the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned store.

GREEK GODDESSES: Los Angeles designer Michelle Jonas has draped Angelina Jolie, Heather Graham and hundreds of other women in gauze and jersey to turn them into Greek goddesses. So it’s fitting that Jonas would outfit the female employees at the renovated Belvedere Hotel in Mykonos, Greece, in her white and navy dresses with keyhole fronts and skinny straps. Opening in July, Belvedere also will house Nobu Matsuhisa‘s new sushi eateries, where the hostesses and waitresses will don Jonas’ frocks, too. Visitors to the resort will be able to buy the $235 designs at the new Scoop boutique opening there. Women who can’t make it to the Aegean island can find their bit of paradise next year when Jonas plans to open a shop in New York and launch a swimwear line. Eyeing the Meatpacking District, Jonas said she aimed to acquire enough licenses by then for sunglasses, thong sandals and other paraphernalia. “It’ll be a one-stop shop for vacations,” she said.

DENIM CORDS: It’s a case of the denim blues. Marithé and François Girbaud are tuning up for their first music album. Dubbed “Marithé & François Girbaud by Pradat,” a French music producer, the album is a compilation of the design duo’s favorite melodies, ranging from Otis Taylor to Makossa & Megablast.

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