When John Bartlett (left) talks about pitching a tent for Fashion Week, he’s not referring to Bryant Park. The designer tells us he invited famed stripper and porn star Houston “to entertain the boys and get them comfortable and loose” before his show at the Hudson Hotel. “The stylist we work with, Leslie Lessin, has worked with her on some projects, so she invited her to come to the show,” Bartlett told us. “We were looking for a celebrity fluffer so these boys would feel a bit more, let’s say, expanded when they walked the runway because we were showing a lot of bathing suits.” However, Houston never made it to the noontime show: “Unfortunately, she’s not much of a morning person.” Bartlett ended the show with two buck-naked boys holding surfboards to hide their privates. “All of them wanted to do the nude exit, but their bookers wouldn’t let them,” Bartlett says. “My dream was to have an all-nude finale.”
Drinks for Everybody! Spears and Bush Are Toast of the Town
Britney Spears wasn’t taking any chances with photographers at Robert Verdi’s Full Frontal Fashion party at Trust during Fashion Week. As soon as she arrived, she was surrounded by at least six burly bodyguards, who prevented any shutterbugs from taking pics. Turns out that the not-so-innocent 20-year-old pop tart was smoking cigarettes and downing Chambord martinis. And that’s not all. “Can we do shots?” she asked a staffer as soon as she sat down at her private banquette in the VIP area. “I guess you can do anything you want,” came the reply. Spears smiled and said, “I want to do fuzzy-navel shots.” Meanwhile, just the night before, the New York Post’s Jared Paul Stern had some fun at the Zac Posen dinner at Mr. Chow. A tipster tells us that Stern, dressed in black tie from an earlier engagement, pretended to be a waiter to see if First Daughter Barbara Bush could be tempted into ordering a cocktail. Bush, who doesn’t turn 21 until November, gladly accepted his offer of Chardonnay and sat sipping the wine with some college buddies.
Penny Arcade’s Political Ante
Legendary performance artist Penny Arcade is running for a seat in the New York State Assembly on the Green Party ballot. In a manifesto e-mailed to friends, she rants, “My interests are particularly tied into big business which is polluting the environment . . . mounting a stronger defense of rent stabilization and generally acting as a foil against the evil empire.” Arcade is recruiting volunteers to campaign for her in the 74th District—which spans the East Village and the Lower East Side—before the November 5 elections. “We were a little puzzled at first,” says a spokesperson for twelve-term incumbent Steven Sanders. “But then we chalked it up to the fact that she was an artist.” Meanwhile, Green Party chairman Mark Dunlea says the party’s thrilled: “She is very active in the party and exactly the type of candidate that we try to encourage.”
Jamie Lee Curtis Does the Write Thing
When Jennifer Reinhart, a 29-year-old graphic designer from Brooklyn, and her illustrator husband, Todd, saw Jamie Lee Curtis promoting her new children’s book, I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, on TV recently, they joked that when they had a baby, whenever that might be, they’d buy the book. Later that same day, Jennifer learned that she was pregnant. She headed straight to Barnes & Noble to buy the book before breaking the news to Todd. It so happened that Curtis was at the store to do a reading hosted by Child magazine. When Reinhart told Curtis her story, Curtis announced the pregnancy to everyone in the room. “She was the first person I told, so I started crying, then she yelled ‘Mazel tov’ and all these other women started hugging me and crying,” Jennifer told us. Later that night, she presented the book to her husband, who found out he was going to be a dad by reading Curtis’s inscription: “To the precious baby Reinhart. Congrats, Dad: This is his/her first book.”
They’ve been married for only seven months, but Joan Collins, 69, and her hubby, Percy Gibson, 36, didn’t look too happy at a recent party at the new Vue bar for Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders, stars of the hit British comedy series Absolutely Fabulous. “They were having words, and she turned away from him,” reports one of our spies. “But then when he tried to touch her arm, she yanked it away and hissed, ‘Don’t touch me!’ and stormed off.” Collins’s rep insists the couple would never have a spat in public.