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June 17, 2002

Natalie Portman, Alek Wek, Milla Jovovich, Kieran Culkin, Bruce Weber, and more . . .

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Summer of Love for Natalie Portman?
We think we know what Natalie Portman will be doing on her summer break from Harvard -- besides filming the movie adaptation of Cold Mountain opposite Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, and Jude Law. Rumor has it she's smitten with Adam Levine, the 23-year-old dark-haired lead singer of Los Angeles rock band Maroon 5. Within days of meeting Levine through mutual friends, the Star Wars starlet visited the Swing House Studios in Hollywood during the shooting of the band's video for "Harder to Breathe." She spent about an hour there, chatting with Levine between takes. Two days later, she was in the audience -- along with Ivanka Trump -- at the group's Viper Room gig, and hung out with the band in a banquette after the show. "Is there a possible love connection?" our spy asks. "They seemed like they were clicking at the show." Portman's rep insists the boy is just a friend. Maroon 5's rep had no comment.

Alek Missteps, Rie Acts Up, and Tom Daschle Misses Out
Was that a stiletto heel in designer Peter Som's pocket at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards last week or was he just happy to see us? Actually it was a heel from a pair of Jimmy Choos that Alek Wek had intended to wear that night. Unfortunately, when Wek arrived at Som's place before the awards, the heel broke. Luckily, Som had a pair of Sigerson Morrisons lying around from his last show. . . . During the cocktail hour, Roger Padilha of MAO PR introduced us to his pal, Gucci model turned actress Rie, saying, "Rie has a lesbian love scene with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in Femme Fatale." Rie quickly interjected. "No," she said. "It's a sex scene. It's really hot." . . . When Tom Ford beat out Marc Jacobs and Carlos Falchi for Accessory Designer of the Year, a Prada-wearing Milla Jovovich turned heads by screaming from her seat, "Marc Jacobs rules!" . . . The night before the awards, at a party for Bloomingdale's Kal Ruttenstein at Thom, Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis told Donna Karan that he was wearing his lucky black blazer, one of her designs. Karan insisted he visit her flagship store on Madison Avenue so that she could dress him in the future. . . . After the awards, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who was a nominee for Menswear Designer of the Year, threw a bash at Lotus. Earlier in the evening, Internet and nightlife entrepreneur Andrew Rasiej hosted a $150,000 fund-raiser for Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's campaign coffers at the same spot. Lotus co-owner David Rabin asked Daschle to stick around and meet the hip-hop mogul, but he politely declined. "That would be funny, though," Daschle said, "because, you know, Rush Limbaugh calls me 'Puff Daschle.' "

John Bartlett: We Was Robbed!
At John Bartlett's recent sample sale, a "very maternal-looking" group of five women, all larger than the typical sample-sale sizes, turned up. "A couple of them distracted the people who were working, and the others went into the bathroom with merchandise," Bartlett tells us. A few hours later, Bartlett noticed that ten dresses and skirts -- all size 2 -- were gone: "I asked someone if we had sold all of them, and she said no." Bartlett is quite sure it was the matronly madams who ripped him off. A few days later, Bartlett went looking for five suede pants, jackets, and shirts, and noticed they were gone, too. Yup, Bartlett had been hit a second time. A few days after that, a man was caught stuffing a shirt into his pants. Oddly enough, after he was confronted, the perp bought the $100 shirt.

Kieran Culkin Goes to Pieces
Film producers may want to take out some extra insurance before hiring Kieran Culkin. First, he showed up at rehearsals for The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, in which he plays a teen being tormented by schoolteacher nun Jodie Foster, with a fractured wrist he suffered after being thrown from a speeding golf cart. But a day after director Peter Care decided to write it into the script to avoid delay, Care sent Culkin and co-stars Emile Hirsch, Jake Richardson, and Tyler Long to an amusement park for some bonding, since they play such good friends in the movie. "We did this go-cart race, and after I won, I got out and, in celebrating, I ran and sprained my ankle really bad," Culkin told us last week. Rehearsal was held up for a few days: "I have a real knack for trying to get fired." Culkin jokes that he always has his music to fall back on. "Me and Mack are going to have a band," he said, referring to his older brother, Macaulay. "We'll call it the Bacon Brothers II. We'll use the II so Kevin can't sue us."

Picture perfect:
Bruce Weber has put his Brookhaven getaway on the market for $900,000. The celebrity shutterbug's five acres on the South Shore include a late-nineteenth-century two-floor carriage house with six bedrooms. "It's the perfect Adirondack-style house," a onetime guest reports."But it's not winterized." For the colder months, there's a more modern (as in heated) two-story, two-bedroom guest house on the grounds.

With Catherine Townsend.


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