First Lady at Fashion Week
While Condi Rice sported an elegant chocolate-plaid number in her charm offensive at wooing European heads of state, the First Lady, inside the tents at Fashion Week Friday, wore rose. We'd ordinarily recommend for Condi Ovid's Art of Love, but she appears to have won over at least one of "The European Three," according to Deborah Orrin, "In Berlin, (Secretary Rice) had German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder laughing so uproariously that it was hard to remember how he was one of the leading foes of the U.S.-led Iraq war and an outspoken critic of President Bush's policies." Sucker.
Feminine soft power was all over the news on Friday, inside the tents and on the diplomatic stage. And a little Hollywood power showed up as well, adds Ben Widdicombe's Gatecrasher, "Miramaximus Harvey Weinstein was an unexpected presence on the catwalk during Wendy Pepper's collection. He tried to remove a stray piece of what looked like a model's double-sided breast tape that got stuck on the runway." Also, according to The Old Gray Lady herself:
"Celebrities may be commonplace during the 150 designer shows that will take place in the city during Fashion Week, through next Friday, but it took a first lady in the front row of the tents in Bryant Park to make the fashion audience pay attention on a day that is usually just a prelude to the main events.
"That Mrs. Bush, who once said she was not interested in fashion, has now embraced the industry delighted the designers, who were in the harried throes of completing their own collections.
"Carolina Herrera, who designed the burgundy velvet jacket and silk skirt Mrs. Bush wore to the event, and Oscar de la Renta, who dressed her for the Inaugural, accompanied her to the show of red dresses for the Heart Truth, a fund-raiser focusing on heart disease prevention.
The front row was uncommonly filled with other designers, including Tommy Hilfiger, Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein, Carmen Marc Valvo, Luca Orlandi, Esteban Cortazar and Nicole Miller. A year ago, only two designers attended a similar event.
"'I like fashion; it's fun,' Mrs. Bush told reporters after the show, which included 26 dresses by 26 designers worn by 26 celebrities of varying fame, from Paula Abdul and Sarah Ferguson to the children of rock stars and models. Mrs. Bush applauded each look as it passed by and told those seated near her, one of them said later, that she needed to acquire more red outfits."
The Baltimore Sun noted that the mix of fashion and Washington power can be dodgy:
"Perhaps she stayed away then for a reason: Yesterday's meeting of the fashionistas and the feds didn't always go so well. As the lights went down, photographers barked at the Secret Service agents for blocking their shots.
"'Down! Down!' a bunch of them yelled at one agent. 'Sir,' a more polite runway shooter said, 'you just ruined the shot.' The agent tried to ignore them, and did for a few seconds, but by the first model had backed discreetly out of the frame.
"When the spotlights came up, actress Phylicia Rashad started the show, the former Cosby star marching down the catwalk with a diamond bindi on her forehead, swathed in a bright red spangled sheath by South Asian designer Alia Khan.
"Big cheers went up for American Idol judge Paula Abdul, (ditching her worst-dressed-list outfits for a tasteful Esteban Cortazar), Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson in Ralph Lauren (who earlier admitted to feeling 'terrified' by the catwalk) and singer Sheryl Crow in Narcisco Rodriguez (her arm muscles almost rivaling those of beau Lance Armstrong's).
"The breezy event lacked the scowling austerity of some fashion shows - Crow tripped a bit over her dress, recovered and then laughed - and several celebrities waved and smiled or mouthed 'hello' in the first lady's direction. One exception: Lauren Bush, a Tommy Hilfiger model who played it professional and did not look toward her aunt, the first lady.
"The 26 celebrity models were promoting 'National Wear Red Day' sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an arm of the federal government's National Institutes of Health. For the show, top-flight designers donated frocks that were all unified by color, a red palette ranging from deep and dark to bright and ... arterial?
And, while we are lamentably on the subject of body fluids, Marilyn Kirschner pipes in:
"Oh, by the way, my vote for �The most improved feature of the Tents�: the latrines. Kohler, one of the sponsors of Fashion week, has changed the face of, well, the bathroom scene. Gone are the distasteful, unisex Port-O-Sans. In their place is a room, decorated with fresh flowers, boasting six men�s and women�s rooms (each with three stalls). Inside the spotless brown and white rooms, a long mirror lets you check yourself out before taking your seat, and Kohler�s architecturally attractive white oval shaped potties are accented with handsome sturdy white towels monogrammed with the Kohler insignia.
"A vast (and much needed) improvement over the facilities of the past. Unfortunately, I can�t say the same for the coffee servers�Lotus makes a weak and uninspired cup of Joe (though it�s free). I miss Dunkin� Donuts. A far better and more satisfying drink is Scharffen Berger's rich and very chocolately hot chocolate (they will be at the tents on Monday, Wednesday and Friday)."
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