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THE OBAMA FACTOR: Michelle Obama may very well be the new Oprah Winfrey when it comes to Midas-type on-air mentions. Dressed head to toe in J. Crew for a chat with Jay Leno on Monday’s “Tonight” show, Obama told the talk show host she was in a J. Crew ensemble. Needless to say, that plug sent scores of shoppers to J. Crew’s Web site looking for the $90 color-blocked cardigan, $100 Deco tank and $148 dot Camilla skirt she was wearing. The Web page featuring the latter was the most viewed page on the next day. Traffic to the site was 464 percent higher than it had been the previous day, and 64 percent of the online visitors found their way to the company’s Web site through search engines.

Creative director Jenna Lyons said the company is trying to figure out its next move, since the skirt was already a popular item before Obama wore it and the sweater was introduced in August. “It’s an honor. Not only did she wear our clothes and wear them beautifully, but she could go anywhere. And she actually called it out,” Lyons said, adding that she couldn’t get over how blogs pieced together Obama’s outfit and offered links to its site.

This story first appeared in the October 30, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.




WAITING FOR BEYONCE: Hundreds of fans packed Bloomingdale’s fifth floor on Tuesday night, hoping to catch a glimpse of Beyoncé Knowles, who was scheduled to do a personal appearance at the New York flagship with her mom, Tina, from 6 to 7 p.m. The Knowles were at the store to unveil their House of Deréon windows, which contain a capsule collection of dresses inspired by Beyoncé’s upcoming film, “Cadillac Records.” Among the crowd — which included “Real Housewives of New York” reality TV persona Ramona Singer and a drag queen dressed in a zebra-print dress — was nine-year-old Solomon with his mom. The trip to the store was a reward for Solomon, since he had been doing so well in school. He patiently waited — autograph book and pen ready — for the singer from 4:30 p.m. By 7 p.m., there was still no Beyoncé and the crowd started getting testy, and there was no real explanation for the delay. Finally, at 7:30 — or half an hour after the event was to end — Beyoncé and Tina came out to greet fans. Beyoncé stopped to sign autographs on her way onto the small stage. “I love you!” screamed one teenage girl, just before bursting into tears of joy. “To realize this opportunity with Bloomingdale’s is incredible,” Beyoncé said. “My mom, our entire team and I are thrilled to collaborate with the Bloomingdale’s creative department to bring ‘Cadillac Records’ to life for all of their shoppers.” The collection retails for between $350 and $400. The singer stayed on stage for some time, posing for photos before asking photographers to move out of the way so people standing in the back could see. It’s too bad Solomon missed it. “She’s never coming — let’s go,” he said to his mom. And they exited at 7 p.m., with Solomon in tears not of joy.

SCARE TACTICS: Fashion world denizens are regularly charged with being jaded, but considering the amount of fancy-dress party and special events celebrating Halloween, their behavior is more like a classroom full of giddy nine-year-olds. Earnest Sewn kicked things off by hosting a pumpkin carving last weekend at its Lower East Side location, complete with face painting and candy apples. Anya Hindmarch got involved (despite the brand’s Brit provenance) by hosting a weeklong trick-or-treat at all of its stores, with some lucky visitors winning a bag, clutch or purse from the new collection. Tonight, designer Jeremy Scott is hosting a party at nightclub Caine Luxe, while Mariah Carey is hosting a fete and simultaneously celebrating her six-month wedding anniversary to Nick Cannon over at Marquee. (Expect to see designer Brian Reyes among the guests). On Friday, the actual holiday, Donna Karan, André Leon Talley and Martha Stewart are joining Bette Midler for her Hulaween party at the Waldorf honoring Alice Waters (it’s a benefit for the New York Restoration Project in disguise). Michael Kors will be taking a break from judging “Project Runway” to hand out awards for best costume. Meanwhile, his TV co-star, Heidi Klum, will be downtown at 1Oak, hosting her annual Halloween extravaganza.

TAKE ONE: As confirmed in a release from Tom Ford’s office Wednesday morning, the designer will direct “A Single Man,” his first feature based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood. Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode will star, while Ford’s company Fade to Black will coproduce, along with Artina Films’ Robert Salerno and Depth of Field’s Chris Weitz and Andrew Miano, whose credits include “The Golden Compass,” “In Good Company” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” Filming begins Monday in Los Angeles. No word on whether Ford will double as costume designer.


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