WITH SPENCER MORGAN
April 12, 2004
If the Bush administration was ever in fashion, it may not be for long. Jonathan (son of George) Soros, Moby, and MoveOn.org’s Laura Dawn are helping Bush Out of Fashion— a consortium of designers including Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari, Andrew Rosen of Theory, and Stacey Bendet of alice + olivia—create clothing with anti-Bush slogans and longer political messages. (Donna Karan and Kimora Lee and Russell Simmons may also join.) The clothes will be sold in stores, proceeds will be donated to the Democratic campaign, and the designers plan to stage a fashion show in the middle of the Republican National Convention in September.
Jewels Et Kim: Two-Ring Circus
Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin’s ugly divorce and custody battle may have an upside for at least one unrelated, but perhaps karmically appropriate party: abused circus animals. Basinger recently put up for auction four pieces of jewelry at Christie’s upcoming Magnificent Jewels sale. Proceeds will go to the Performing Animal Welfare Society, which is currently constructing 2,300 acres of sanctuary in San Andreas, California, where captive elephants, lions, and bears can live in peace. Among the items from the “Collection of Kim Basinger” are a diamond bracelet, a diamond “eternity” band, and a multi-gem necklace. But perhaps the most impressive item is her extravagant Tiffany engagement ring, which has an estimated value of $30,000 to $40,000. The L.A. Confidential star’s rep Annett Wolf insists that Basinger, who has a much publicized, if somewhat bizarre, fondness for elephants, is not selling the jewelry to spite Baldwin. “This is her way of giving to a cause that is deeply important to her.”
Barry’s Blues: Oh, Deer!
Director Barry Sonnenfeld scored big last fall by selling his Amagansett manse with the urinal in the master bathroom to financier roy furman and downsizing to a $1.995 million house in North Haven. Now the Men in Black director is selling again after buying another home in East Hampton. Sonnenfeld’s waterfront North Haven spread, now on the market for $3 million, is said to be located on wetlands (which Sonnenfeld denies) and attracting the area’s notoriously dense deer population, which Alec Baldwin once tried to prevent being darted with birth-control drugs. The Sonnenfelds’ apparent inability to walk out of the house without bumping into a deer was reportedly a factor in their decision to move. The director says he plans to move to Telluride in three years and that the renovations he’d envisioned for the North Haven property would take too long and are no longer practical. “The deer problem is not nearly the problem that lack of parking at Citarella is,” jokes Sonnenfeld, who says he enjoys watching his dog chase the deer. “I have a very sort of zeta dog, the opposite of an alpha dog, but he gets very manly around the deer, so that gives me joy,” he adds. “For me, every time I see my dog with his tail up, growling as he races toward our property line to get the deer off it, it makes me feel like I’m a homesteader in the 1800s.”
Moving Out: Diane Sells Up
When she’s not trying to think up anti-Bush slogans, Diane von Furstenberg is busy trying to sell her combined twin townhouses on West 12th Street, between Washington and the river, for $30 million. The loft-like white interior, plastered with Warhols, comprises her store, showroom, office, pool, and home and was also the backdrop for her impromptu wedding party to billionaire mogul Barry Diller three years ago. DVF bought the houses seven years ago for $5.7 million and transformed them into her party and fashion HQ. “This place is so special,” she says, adding mysteriously, “But there is another piece of property nearby that would be even better for me …”
“He looks like a high-school kid who has some kind of hideous glandular problem that has promoted advanced aging.”
—Simon Doonan, on John Kerry’s extreme-sports look.
Look Hughes Talking: Harper’s Bizarre
The April issue of Harper’s Bazaar contains an interview with erstwhile queen of buzz and Talk founding editor Tina Brown, written by one “Abigail Hughes.” The profile by the previously unheard-of Hughes describes Brown as “svelte and coiffed” and is accompanied by Patrick Demarchelier photos, including one of Tina sitting casually on her desk, supposedly “reading her column in the Washington Post”—which Harper’s Bazaar apparently thinks is on the front page. In between Tina’s aphorisms (“Orange is the new red”), an uncannily intimate dialogue develops. “At Vanity Fair you helped usher in a new brand of celebrity journalism,” says the mysterious new writer, who conspicuously fails to ask the de rigueur Tina Brown interview question about why Talk failed. If the tone seems suspiciously familiar and intimate, it’s because “Abigail Hughes” is actually Maer Roshan, former editorial director of now-defunct Talk and a good friend of Brown’s. “Maer did a whole interview about my career and my life,” says Brown. “And Harper’s Bazaar asked him to ask about my shoes and bags and face creams! In the interest of both our journalism careers, I thought he should take his name off it.” “Abigail Hughes is, uuuh, my maiden name,” said Roshan.
Family Feud: Prize Pritzker
The three scions of the obsessively private Pritzker family of Chicago—the Hyatt Hotel heirs who are currently embroiled in a $6 billion inheritance lawsuit with Columbia student Liesel Pritzker—made a semi-public appearance at Forbes magazine’s downtown office last Monday afternoon for a “townhouse lunch” with top brass tim and steve forbes and a few editors. A source says tom, nick, and penny Pritzker were “diplomatic” but raised concerns over being cast in an unfavorable light compared with Liesel, a pretty young actress who appeared in A Little Princess and Air Force One. The November cover story about Liesel, by Stephane Fitch, described the heiress as “all ingenue” and painted her as the martyr in the family battle she started: “This is the last thing I wanted to do,” Liesel says in the piece. “The family came in for an off-the-record shoot-the-shit,” says a source. “The issue of the coverage they’re getting was definitely raised.”
Dangerous Curves: Royal Flush
The theme of this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala will be “Dangerous Liaisons,” which is perhaps indicative of the event planners’ keen eye for trendspotting (witness Madonna as Marie Antoinette promoting her new tour). Anna Wintour, Renée Zellweger, Jude Law, Glenn Close, and other attendees will be wearing eighteenth-century-inspired clothing to complete the party atmosphere. Post-Janet nightmares of wardrobes malfunctioning, however, have made the corsets-and-cleavage dress code seem more risqué than originally intended. Since the invites went out, the Costume Institute has been been deluged with questions from guests about just how much powder they need apply, how much décolletage they ought to expose, and which designers they should ask to properly frame their busts. “A lot of the questions have centered on the bust,” confirmed the museum’s rep. Ever mindful of potential embarrassment, society ladies have even been asking staffers for door measurements lest their gigantic gowns leave them permanently wedged mid-entrance or exit. Wardrobe-related spectacles aside, the event will also include performances by Hugh Jackman and by N.E.R.D with Pharrell.