October 4, 1999

Long gone are the days when sleek designs and a Madison Avenue storefront were enough to cut it in the world of couture. Despite a $7 million loftlike design and unique accoutrements like Ducati motorcycles and rubber radios, Donna Karan wasn’t willing to leave anything to fate when it came to her new DKNY flagship store on Madison Avenue. Instead, the famously spiritual designer turned to the ancients, hiring David Raney, an expert in feng shui, the Zen-meets-interior-design art form, to “collect and harmonize the energy” of the store. After the “energy flow” of the interior’s space and lighting was “balanced” and ready for shoppers, Raney and Karan noticed a problem with the entrance. “The energy coming from the sidewalk to the building’s entrance created a less-than-harmonious feeling,” says Raney. The solution? Raney painted a symbol of empowerment on the sidewalk in front of the store in order to induce a tranquil state. “Now you feel liberated,” he says. “Liberated to shop!”

Camilla Parker Bowles attracted more than socialites when she visited New York last week. When the horsey royal heartthrob attended a cocktail party at the tony D&D Building in honor of Robert Kime, one of Prince Charles’s decorators, Nancy Kissinger, Oscar de la Renta, Kenneth Jay Lane, Susan Gutfreund, and Brooke Astor turned out, but so did a man who claimed to have planted a bomb at the front of the building. “The man placed calls to us and to the police station,” explains a representative for the building. “He said, ‘I know who’s there, and I’m bombing the Third Avenue entrance.’ ” Fortunately, the party was breaking up, and the black-pantsuited Camilla was already stepping into her Rolls-Royce when police arrived to search the building, so no announcement was made to alarm the well-heeled revelers. Though no explosives were uncovered, Dominick Dunne says he would have welcomed knowing about the drama. “That would have livened it up,” he quips. “I mightn’t have left so quickly.”

Ann Coulter has finally found herself a man. The conservative blonde pit bull made news last June when she wrote about being boyfriend-deprived in George. “When it comes to dating,” Coulter complained, “Washington’s young male Democrats and Republicans have a lot in common. They’re dull, cheap, and clueless.” Salon followed up with “ten modest proposals to help Ann Coulter get a date,” which included such evil suggestions as “stop being a mean bitch” and “buy a vibrator.” But its list didn’t include the tip that made the difference for the lonely Republican: moving to liberal New York City. “I leave D.C. and almost instantaneously find myself a nice boyfriend who has a real job,” reports the writer. “A nice, tax-paying boyfriend who got the ball rolling by specifically asking for a date.” Now Coulter, who’s planning a follow-up George column, says, “I absolutely will not tolerate New York females uttering the tiniest little complaint about men in New York City.” Adds the notorious Clinton-hater, who once dated Bob Guccione Jr.: “There’s even hope for Monica in New York. Maybe even Hillary can find a nice guy.” Maybe they could–if they know News Corporation executive Gary Ginsberg, who introduced Coulter to her new beau, a Wall Street executive. And yes, he is a good Republican.

Those typesetting gremlins were active again at the New York Post last Wednesday. In a story covering the Atlanta Braves’ victory over the Mets on September 21, sportswriter David Waldstein gave credit to a good play by Braves first baseman Randall Simon. But his name was reported in the paper as “Random Simian”–a most unfortunate typo for the African-American player. A call to Post editor Ken Chandler was returned by Pat Smith at Rubenstein Associates, who explains that the reporter was filing on deadline via a laptop from Atlanta, “and it happened. It’s regrettable.” The real problem, Smith reports, is with “Word 97 spell-check: Simon goes to Simian.” Waldstein explains that his computer glitched and put in the spell-check corrections instead of the proper name. The next day, Braves second baseman Bret Boone became Bert Bone. “I caught that one in time,” reports Waldstein.

Another presidential campaign season, another round of rumors about retired general Colin Powell. The nation’s favorite nonpolitician is being touted as the leading candidate to be secretary of State in the event of a George W. Bush administration. You’ll remember that he got the same treatment from both Bob Dole and Bill Clinton. This time around, the word is that Bush is planning to announce his Cabinet early on, according to a political insider close to the Democrats. “The one certain thing is going to be Colin Powell as secretary of State,” reports this source, who adds that Bush’s people already asked Powell, who accepted. But Powell spokesman Colonel Bill Smullen insists that the former general hasn’t yet been approached. “It’s unreasonable to think that such an announcement would be made at this point in time,” says Smullen, adding that “it would be premature.” Is Powell planning to campaign for George W.? It’s “not anticipated at this point,” replies Smullen. “But again, he has not been asked, and it’s premature, it seems to me.” Bush’s spokeswoman agrees, saying that the discussion is “premature” and that “the governor right now is focused on winning the GOP nomination.” Stay tuned.

While people are already buzzing about the upcoming Jersey Films production Peppermint Lounge, based on the iconic nightclub of the fifties and sixties, the real drama is going on behind the scenes. Along with Jersey’s Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, and Stacey Sher, another of the film’s producers will be Rick Yorn, a partner of Michael Ovitz in the AMG management company. Yorn, it just so happens, lived with Sher for three years until they split up last year. While Hollywood insiders say Yorn and Sher aren’t exactly lunching together at the Grill on a regular basis, they are forced to be in close contact thanks to the project, which was conceived while they were involved but has gone into high gear now that Oscar-nominated scribe Richard LaGravenese has started writing the script. Says one film insider, “Stacey has produced over ten films, including Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, and Out of Sight. This is Rick’s first production credit. The dynamic should be interesting.” Yorn could not be reached, and Sher delicately declined to comment on the situation.

The epic battle between Edward Hayes and the Andy Warhol Foundation may be almost over. The case has been heard by a variety of judges and courts since Hayes first filed suit in 1992 demanding a fee of $12 million–which would have added just over $7 million to the $4.85 million he’d already been paid for his legal work. Instead, he was ordered to repay $1.35 million to the foundation by a state appeals court in 1996; six months later, Hayes filed a Chapter 11 petition to reorganize his finances. The foundation quickly sued to ensure that Hayes’s debt to it wouldn’t be excused–a case it lost in bankruptcy court and on appeal. But the last round recently went to the Warhol Foundation, when the lower courts’ rulings were reversed in federal appeals court. In fact, not only does Hayes have to repay the $1.35 million, but he also owes 9 percent interest for three years. Foundation lawyer Thomas Schwarz says he intends to collect the judgment, although he sounds surprisingly mellow after the long war. “If Mr. Hayes now wants to try to resolve what he should have tried to resolve a long time ago, certainly the foundation would listen to a reasonable offer,” he says. Hayes, who insists that he always intended to settle his debts, calls the Warhol Foundation’s new board “very responsible.” Adds the dapper attorney: “Both sides are more rational now.”

Is Peter Gatien about to let go of the Limelight? Sources say the Canadian-born impresario, serving time on Rikers Island for tax evasion, is preparing to sell his Sixth Avenue nightclub to a trio of investors, including Monica Michaels, who is currently the club’s events coordinator. According to a financial-world insider, the group, which hopes to purchase the club and its name for $4 million, also plans to start a Limelight fashion line. The new management team reportedly wants to have the club redesigned and running by New Year’s Eve, about the time Gatien might begin paying off $1 million in back taxes he owes New York State. Gatien’s wife, Alessandra, insists the report is absolutely untrue: “Peter and I are not in a position to sell the Limelight right now. But we are definitely going to be open on New Year’s Eve.”

Mark Green is determined to move up the political ladder one way or another. According to political insiders, the peripatetic public advocate –who will automatically become mayor if Rudy Giuliani wins the Senate race–is quietly planning a Senate run himself if Hillary Clinton drops out. “It would be a win-win for Green,” says a source. “If he loses, he’s mayor; if he wins, he’s senator.” Green couldn’t be reached for comment, but a Green spokesperson snipped, “As far as Mark’s concerned, Hillary is not dropping out of the race, and she will be the next senator from New York.”

Additional reporting by David Amsden and Eric Trump.

October 4, 1999