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The bottom line on butt cleavage

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Cheek Chic

Not since Alexander McQueen shocked the fashion Establishment in 1992 with his buttocks-baring "bumsters" has so much attention been paid to whether baby's got crack. Six months after Cameron Diaz revealed her derriere décolletage on the cover of Vanity Fair comes Frankie B Jeans, which boast a three-inch zipper and a celebrity following that includes Charlize Theron and Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Intermix can't keep the $104 trousers in stock.) Actresses aren't the only ones going bottoms up: Mary J. Blige didn't seem too concerned when her hip-huggers slid down her behind at a recent concert. "It's an extremely sexy part of the body," says Leeora Catalan, a designer who makes thongs for these low-riders. "Like the neck, it's an erogenous zone, and people want to show it off."
ROXANNE JAMES

Keen Berets

After seasons of structured cowboy hats and suffocating scarves, fashionable heads are sporting a new covering: the beret. Chloë Sevigny turned up at the American Psycho premiere wearing one, Tara Subkoff donned one at last month's Visionaire party, and Winona Ryder left the Harper's Bazaar shoot in the Louis Vuitton one she wears on the August cover. "There's something a little off about berets," says Bazaar's creative director, Michel Botbol. "They give a kick to whatever you're wearing." Eugenia Kim, whose berets will be available at Barneys in September ($190), has lent her sculptural headpieces to Interview and Jane in me-decade colors like electric blue and dragon red. Alas, no one has requested one in raspberry.
KRISTINA RICHARDS

Cozy Corner

Ralph Lauren has towels. Tommy Hilfiger has trash cans. Cynthia Rowley has table settings. But it's Tracy Feith's candle cozy that shows the designers-doing-housewares craze may be getting out of hand. Feith's cozies ($40), which come in the same prints as his best-selling Raj collection, are blowing out of his East Hampton store (38 Park Place; 631-329-8213) -- sans candle. (The fabric wraps are designed to slip over glass-contained candles like those by Diptique.) According to the East End boutique, no one has bought a matching dress-and-cozy set -- perhaps if Chanel did quilted beer cozies it would be a different story.
K.R.

SHOP TALK

Lunching ladies who fill their top drawers with Wolford stockings will be glad to know the legwear brand is still trying to figure out a way to cover the rest of them. Wolford's first ready-to-wear collection is designed by the Parisian formerly known as Hervé Léger but now known as Herve Leroux. (The nom de mode is tied up in legal problems with BCBG, which bought Léger's label last fall and promptly ousted him.) Leroux's debut collections hit Saks this week and look suspiciously like his trademark body-hugging bandage dresses. With celebrity supporters like Britney Spears and Oprah Winfrey, let's hope this collection doesn't suffer the same fate as the snag-prone StarckNaked dress of 1998.
SARAH BERNARD


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