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Temporary Diamonds; Isaac Sets the Stage

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Diamonds Are Not Forever

Instead of forgoing a house payment in favor of a flashy Harry Winston, socialites and starlets like Karen Lauder, Esther Cañadas, Blaine Trump, and Donna Karan are having their adornments painted on. Gordon Espinet, a m.a.c makeup artist, says that party girls favor eye accents, anklets, or diamondlike necklaces made with Swarovski crystals, which he adheres with eyelash glue (think Jennifer Lopez's sparkly visage in her "Waiting for Tonight" video, right). Indian and animal patterns are a close second at the Christopher Street boutique, where paintings range from $90 to $150. "The other day, a fellow requested a leopard-print pattern," says Espinet. "He wanted it painted right across his eyes."
SARAH BERNARD

Bag Ladies

After a season of clutching mirrored baguettes and Day-Glo-orange Jackie bags, fashion's ficklest are looking for more homespun totes. But even in light of the current arts-and-crafts chic, Fendi's handmade needlepoint bag ($4,125) appears more suited to your Putamayo-primped aunt in Vermont than to the urban Prada army. Nevertheless, it sold out a week after arriving at Barneys in early August, and within days, the waiting list had climbed to 22. Barneys' women's head, Judy Collinson, visited the Milan factory and begged for a second order of the custom-stitched beaded sacks. The designer family finally agreed but warned that production would take a couple of months. "No problem," said one lady-in-waiting. "In that case, I'll take two."
ANNA RACHMANSKY

Stock-in-Trade

Last week, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' business section seized upon luxury goods as hot stocks to watch. This week, as luxe leviathan LVMH prepares to bid on the few brands not yet within its fold, one of its blue-chip labels, Christian Dior, opens its doors at the 57th Street corporate tower. Despite a reputation as fashion's enfant terrible, house designer John Galliano will enjoy a prime perch in the glass seashell-shaped temple of commerce (if his creative genius flags, he'll be able to restore it at new corporate sister Bliss Spa). The Peter Marino-designed shop will showcase Galliano's street spin on the old-school outfitter: Lauryn Hill was his muse for the spring-2000 collection. And while Galliano's shredded jeans and ripped blouses have been a hit with fashion editors, his boss, Bernard Arnault, will surely be even more pleased to see such whimsy translating into old-fashioned revenue.
MAURA EGAN

Setting the Stage

After years of staging his own fashion shows, Isaac Mizrahi refused to turn the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards into another tired runway look. Asked to consult on the visuals for the December 5 event at the 69th Street Regiment Armory, Mizrahi looked to the minimalism of Comme des Garçons rather than his usual Nanook of the North or Pop Art inspirations. And despite television's rule against all-white sets, Mizrahi and production designer Keith Ian Raywood painted the stage in high-gloss white laminate. "Isaac didn't want the stage to be busy or have a lot of scenery," explains Raywood, "even though the camera loves texture." Now that the designer has closed his ready-to-wear business to pursue a career in show business, could staging the Oscars be next?
M.E.


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