By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Fashion Week took off in a blaze of journalists interviewing journalists about designers designing clothes based on other designers' designs, and you didn't even wince by the third invite to "join PAULA ABDUL as she unveils the first-ever tagfree bra collection." Everywhere you went came the cry, "I'm doing Calvin, Michael, Marc . . . " until you wondered just what doing all that doing involved doing. I just did the parties, like the PATRICK MCMULLANInTents book bash at Saks, where the most flamboyant guests bought the book even without checking for their names in the index, and the event for Mao Mag, a glitzy Fashion Week publication put out by Mao PR, which makes perfect sense since publicists basically edit all the major glossies anyway.
Actually, I went to that party several times, hoping to catch host ANNA NICOLE SMITH in all her messy glory, but I couldn't find her; maybe TrimSpa really works. Nahby my third traipse in, she had emerged on the runway and a cheering throng had gathered 'round, leaving me a focused view of just her hair, teeth, and cleavage (encased in a tagfree bra collection). Looking like a floating Hirschfeld cartoon, the un-reality star magnetically flounced a boa to the tune of "The Stripper," proving she could always get a side job at Scores. The inside dope was that Anna Nicole had gained 20 pounds in the last two weeks, causing panic when she couldn't fit into her assigned dress. But she looked amazingif as tightly packed as the New Jersey governor's caboose.
The next night, it was the Heatherette show that was packed, and so were my ears with extremely vivid dish. It turns out PARIS HILTON wasn't even supposed to model in the show, she was just going to watch, but at the last minute, she changed her mind, so they took an outfit away from KIMBERLEY STEWART and let Paris flaunt it instead. But the socialite-author became the rip-ee when she lurked backstage in the finale outfit as downtown diva AMANDA LEPORE paced the runway, everyone waiting for scheduled star NAOMI CAMPBELL to arrive. Sly Naomi finally showed, so they ripped the ensemble off Paris and gave it to her, and I hear Paris was actually all right about it. (Literary triumph tends to make one quite serene, as I oughta know.)
PAPER, SCISSORS, STYLE
Speaking of which, I wrote the intro for Paper magazine's clothes-and-celebs-drenched book 20 Years of Style, and it came out! (I also wrote intros for books about the '80s club Area and fashion lady PAT FIELD, but both epics have stalled like a COLIN FARRELL movie without a dick shot. The checks, I'm sure, are in the mail along with my Pulitzer for trashy gay gossip.)
Anyway, the Paper book party at the Ukrainian Institute brought out swarms of fabulistas and Style network's NICK SCOTTI, who told me his new batch of New York Nick shows won't include his family (they all fought and now hate each other), so instead he'll visit other people's families. I guess strangers are the new accessories for fall.
And quirky movies, darlings. In the midst of the fashion whirl, cinema provocateur DAVID O. RUSSELL (Three Kings) had a special screening of his inspired I ♥ Huckabees. "I'm not even aware of Fashion Week," Russell told me, blithely. "I have no feeling about it"and that, my friend, is the correct answer. But fashionably enough, his film is a loopy comedy about how the search for the infinite self affects life at a retail superstore (though I'm usually searching for marked-down Strawberry Shortcake soap dispensers).
"Fox Searchlight is like Miramax now," said the cater-waiter-turned-director. "They have a real passion. Harvey lost his appetite for small movies." (I will not accept any jokes here. Besides, Harvey's even svelter than Anna Nicole these days.) Russell added that before Huckabees landed at Searchlight, "SCOTT RUDIN took it to SHERRY LANSING, saying, 'She wants another Royal Tenenbaums and this is it, but she'll never understand it for a minute.' " Did she? "No," said Russell. "If you put a gun and ASHLEY JUDD in it, she would have gotten it." Ouch-a-magoucha!
CAMPBELL SOUPED UP
JAMES TOBACK has his own issues with movieland's big guns. At the premiere of his sexual con game When Will I Be Loved, Toback told me that what's wrong with movies today is "corporate control, which is felt like a claustrophobic shadow hanging over the conscience of the movie." It's no good! Toback avoids it with low budgets, though he managed to afford NEVE CAMPBELL, who gamely does it with a woman, an old man, a shower hose nozzle, and even her boyfriend. "Neve was ready to try anything," said the writer-director admiringly. In other words, nervy Neve never says never.
In keeping with the movie's impromptu feel, the cinematographer didn't make it to the premiere because, as Toback admitted, "I couldn't find his phone number." But Campbell was there, telling me, "I'm 30 and I've become more comfortable with myself." No kidding! (By the way, the Post's LOU LUMENICK gave the movie one star and called Toback "an aging auteur." Toback says Lumenick should have disclosed that in the '60s, he studied under the aging auteur at City College and got a D for "dumb klutz." "That probably would have been one of the better grades I got at that time," responds Lumenick. "I barely remember those days. I think the statute of limitations on that expired about 20 years ago." Toback's still calling me with D words.)
The next morning, Fashion Week was just a sequined memory and I was at a press presentation for my unofficial life story, Brooklyn the Musical. I'd read about this show when a gushy person on talkinbroadway.com's indispensable All That Chat message board claimed to have looked up the reviews in the Colorado paperswhich they generously quoted fromand said they were so blown away, they were coming in from Omaha just to see it! This rang some credibility bells, especially when a board regular remembered a similar post from the very same enthusiast. "Shill!" came the angry cries of disbelief, but hey, it could be a totally objective wacko.
Anyway, at the presentation, cast members belted out some American Idol-type moments and the result seemed better than the inevitable Flushing the Opera. And now I'm tossing my boa, removing my tagfree bra, and heading for the shower nozzle.
RANDOM URGENT THOUGHTS
Spies say some songs from the BACKSTREET BOYS' new record were tested by a service. The results were more oy band than boy band. The record is delayed. . . . A return trip to Fire Island found that in Cherry Grove, there are 400-pound lesbians holding hands with other 400-pound lesbians and the young-est drag queen parading around with pancake in her creases is about 65. But I'm one of these people and I love 'em! . . . Last year, I told New York magazine that BEN AFFLECK should end up with his Daredevil co-star JENNIFER GARNER, so he won't have to throw out all those "Bennifer" towels and napkins. Now some British rag claims he's dating Jennifer Garner. I will never make a prediction again.
Those fun Maritime Hotel outdoor Sunday parties will move to the downstairs ballroom when it gets chilly. Thank you, Jesus. Don't let them end! . . . But thankfully the convention did. As the stench clears, I have to admit that some of the Republicans I met were almost human. But that's hardly heartening. In fact, that kind of friendly-to-your-face demeanor makes their I-will-destroy-you agenda even scarier. I'll never crash their parties and eat their free food again!