With Deborah Schoeneman
How do you get Linda Evangelista to dress like a clown? If you’re downtown designers Michael and Hushi, you produce a line inspired by Evangelista and Ronald McDonald, then for months after showing the line, you stalk the supermodel at every possible fashion shoot. In September, the first model to strut down the Michael and Hushi catwalk during their spring 2003 show wore a yellow-and-red leather ensemble and a wig reminiscent of Evangelista’s famed short bright-red hair, which became her signature do in the early nineties. The model also had an uncanny physical resemblance to the supermodel. Since then, whenever stylists have called the fashion house for clothes for an Evangelista shoot, the designers have sent along the outfit and begged stylists to let Evangelista know that she was part of their inspiration (along with Ronald, of course). Various stylists pulled the outfit for her, including Patti Wilson for Italian Vogue, Joe Zee for W, and Jason Farrer for V, but Farrer finally got her to put on the gimmicky getup when Steven Meisel shot her for the current Italian Vogue. Evangelista stopped short of donning the bright-red wig but accessorized the outfit with a gold Chanel necklace.
Ben Affleck’s getting close to owning a slice of southern comfort. As we first reported last year, the actor’s been house-hunting in Savannah, Georgia, since he fell for the area five years ago while filming Forces of Nature with Sandra Bullock (she bought a $3.8 million beachfront compound there in 2001). Sources say Affleck and fiancée J.Lo were spotted brunching in the area a few weeks ago, just around the time when Affleck is rumored to have made an offer to buy a $3.45 million house on East Gordon Street. “It’s Charlestonian,” says broker B. Moody of Cora Bett Thomas Realty, who’s shown the four-bedroom home. “It has a guest house and beautiful side gardens.” But Affleck may have some competition from John Mellencamp, who checked out the estate himself after a recommendation from his friend, the photographer Bruce Weber. Two years ago, the singer almost bought the nearby Mercer House, the brick mansion showcased in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was listed at $8.5 million but has since been pulled off the market. Affleck, meanwhile, owns a Tribeca loft and a three-story Hollywood Hills home that he briefly put on the market in 2001 for $2.3 million.
Ever since Eminem made his big-screen debut in the semi-autobiographical 8 Mile, he’s insisted he doesn’t know what his next acting project will be. He’s gone so far as to say he may never do another movie. However, a well-placed source tells us that he already has a project in the works at Imagine Entertainment with 8 Mile producer Brian Grazer. Eminem wants to star in the movie adaptation of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist H. G. Bissinger’s 1990 best-seller about the overzealous world of high-school football in Odessa, Texas. Imagine has had the rights to the book for four years; Imagine president Michael Rosenberg insists that while Grazer and his team talk to Eminem “all the time,” they have not had any specific conversations about Friday Night Lights: “We’ve had a couple of scripts that haven’t worked out, but no one is attached right now.” Eminem’s rep, however, says Imagine has approached him about the movie, but no decisions have been made.
Top billing in Seriously Dude, Where’s My Car? isn’t the only thing young Hollywood hunks Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott have shared. We hear Scott recently had a fling with January Jones, whom Kutcher had dated for three years. Scott and Jones, we’re told, hooked up soon after shooting began on American Wedding, the third installment of the American Pie franchise, in which they play love interests. The real-life romance, however, was short-lived. The ten-week shoot doesn’t end until sometime this week, but they’ve already called it quits. “Somehow,” our source adds, “the cast and crew never found out about it.” Scott’s rep says the two never dated. Jones’s rep didn’t comment.
Is Martha Stewart thinking about hanging on to her pad in the Richard Meier building on Perry Street? A source reports that Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, and architect Walter Chatham have made several visits to the place in the past few weeks. Buzz has it that Alexis will take up residence in the tony building—where Nicole Kidman and Calvin Klein also own apartments. The domestic diva put the place on the market for $8 million in August, shortly after the ImClone insider-trading scandal exploded, but brokers say she pulled it off the market about six weeks ago. Stewart bought the unfinished condo, which she hired Chatham to design, in 2000 for just over $6 million. Maybe Stewart wants to focus more on sprucing up her Bedford, New York, home. We hear she’s ordered a ton of cabinetry from Long Island’s Reilly WoodWorks, but owner Michael Reilly would say only, “She’s been a real sweetheart to me.” Stewart’s rep declined to comment.
Eric Fischl’s new show was slated for March 8 to April 26 at Boone’s Chelsea gallery—but it’s just going up this week. Fischl, whose sculpture of a woman plunging to her death from the World Trade Center was yanked from Rockefeller Center last fall amid public outcry, says the new exhibit is delayed but not canceled. The holdup: He’s been busy working on a large project for a German museum, part of which will be featured in the Boone show. “I’m not as far along as I hoped I would be,” Fischl says. “I felt very insecure about showing the work.” How did Boone react? “She was taken aback,” the artist admits. “This was the first time I had ever postponed anything in twenty years. We’re still on good terms. It’s just one of those things where the creative stuff isn’t in sync exactly with the commercial side of the business.” Boone chalks up the delay to the artistic process. “We opted for maintaining a creative standard rather than keeping to the schedule, at the artist’s wishes,” says Boone, who picked up Fischl’s paintings last Friday. Unfortunately, Fischl didn’t alert all his friends that the opening was delayed, and plenty showed up for the “opening” after receiving invites. “There’s been awkward moments,” concedes Fischl. “It’s embarrassing.”
MTV’s Real World first invaded New York when the reality show debuted from a Soho loft in 1992. A few years later, another Real World cast and crew were camped out in the Village. Now the music network is hitting the Village again, for Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’s reality show, Making the Band 2 (shooting started last week). Sources say that MTV recently rented two adjoining townhouses and a carriage house on Charles Street, near Seventh Avenue, for a whopping $40,000 a month. The 8,000-square-foot space features six bedrooms, two libraries, four terraces, nine fireplaces, and 54 windows. The townhouses were up for sale by the owner, real-estate developer Daniel Kohs, and he had two offers close to the asking price of $9.85 million, but he opted to go with MTV. Broker James Lansill of the Sunshine Group declined to comment.
If Kirstie Alley’s acting career doesn’t pick up, she may want to consider leaving Hollywood for a department-store makeup counter. During a recent flight from Atlanta to L.A., Alley was approached by a makeup artist who said she was a big fan and that she’d love to do her face someday. Alley was flattered but then turned things around. The makeup artist wound up getting glammed up by Alley, right on the spot. By the end of the flight, Alley had done several other passengers, including Rebecca Cole—fashionista Robert Verdi’s co-host on the Discovery Channel’s Surprise by Designi—and some of the flight attendants. One passenger who took a pass on Alley’s offer was Sheryl Crow, who slept through most of the flight. When the peace-preaching rocker woke up, however, she did accept a gift from Verdi—a T-shirt designed for him by Noir, emblazoned with the decree MAKE FASHION NOT WAR.
Fresh off a jail stint, besieged club king Peter Gatien is trying to get back in the nightlife scene. His daughter, Jennifer, a screenwriter, tells us she’s teaming up with her dad to throw a huge party in the spring to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Club USA. “We sent someone down to Miami for the Winter Music Conference to talk to D.J.’s,” she says, mentioning Danny Tenaglia and Junior Vasquez as potential headliners for the 4,000-person fête. “We’re looking for D.J.’s who have a personal liking for my dad and what he did for New York nightlife to do it as a personal favor.” Meanwhile, Pangaea owner Michael Ault is opening a new downtown club next fall called Nocturne. “It will be a wacky dream world, kind of Gothic,” says Ault, whojust signed a lease for a 5,000-square-foot space in the Village.
ALMOST FAMOUS: We hear Disney has optioned the movie rights to Über–magazine writers Karen Robinovitz and Melissa de la Cruz,’s still-to-be-published book, How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less, in a deal that could bring the authors up to $400,000. The book, set to hit stores in July, stems from their Marie Claire article last year in which the two competed to see who could become more famous in just two weeks.