Saturday 31 January 2009 | New York feed | All feeds


In the front row

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Penny Lancaster
Penny Lancaster and Rod Stewart
Penny Lancaster and Rod Stewart: on course to head down the aisle

Hilary Alexander on Joss Stone's hair, Penny Lancaster's wedding dress and Pete Doherty

What’s a girl to do when she’s made millions before she’s 21 and has time on her hands? “You’ve got to get into Crazy Colour,” said singer, Joss Stone on the fashion party circuit, as she showed off her new-look hair dyed exactly the same shade as the shocking pink tights flashing under her white micro caftan from Tashia on Walton Street. “It’s called Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink.”

• Rod Stewart played Big Daddy to daughter Kimberley at the Marc Jacobs show. “What a way to earn a living,” he said as he as and his bodyguards fought their way through throngs of paparazzi. “Penny’s at home trying on wedding dresses,” he revealed, but, although he knew his own wardrobe down to the last stitch – Dolce & Gabbana overcoat, Prada suit - he hadn’t a clue which designer she was favouring. “It’s someone from Barcelona.”

My bet is that it will be Pronovias, the upscale Spanish label, renowned for its fairytale bridal gowns. Penny spent some time at their stand when she and her mother visited the Designer Wedding Show in Battersea Park, back in November.

• Is Pete Doherty about to go all folksy on us? If the hapless rocker and on-off fiancé of Kate Moss can stay out of rehab long enough, it seems he has plans to record Bob Dylan’s soulful 1963 love ballad, Girl of the North Country, with his one-time drummer from BabyShambles, the Romanian-Canadian model, Irina Lazareanu, and Sean Lennon. “Sean’s got the rights from Bob Dylan and we’re hoping to go into a studio in London sometime around April,” Irina revealed backstage at the Luella Bartley show. Dylan reportedly wrote the song for his high school girlfriend from Hibbing, Minnesota, Echo Helstrom.

• One recording, however, which will never see the light of day, is a reprise of the songs originally released by Nico, the beautiful, blonde Russian refugee who became a 1960s rock legend and sang with the Velvet Underground. Meredith Ostrum, also beautiful and blonde and the girlfriend of Duran Duran guitarist, Nick Rhodes, plays Nico in the film, “Factory Girl”, and originally hoped her version of Nico’s songs would be on the film’s soundtrack.

“I recorded them with Nick, but sadly we couldn’t get the rights and so now it’s only my friends who will hear them,” Meredith said as she browsed the new Marchesa collection looking for a dress for the Oscars. She is far from bitter that all the publicity for the film has centred on Sienna Miller who stars as Andy Warhol muse, Edie Sedgwick. “I’m doing really well. I’m about to start work on a new film with Charlotte Rampling.”

• The London-based designer Sophia Kokosalaki is the toast of exclusive Madison Avenue store, Barneys. Her first collection for the legendary French label, Vionnet, has just gone on sale and creative director and fellow-Brit, Simon Doonan, has devoted an entire window to the Vionnet-Kokosalaki collaboration. Madelaine Vionnet of course is the couturier who invented bias-cutting – an art the fashion business could not exist without.

At the start of New York Fashion Week, Barneys CEO Howard Socol and fashion director Julie Gilhart hosted an intimate dinner for Kokosalaki in the private room upstairs at La Grenouille. Danielle Steel and both her daughters, Victoria and Vanessa Traina, were among the guests and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute supremo, Harold Koda, demonstrated Vionnet’s wizardry with draping, using a table napkin. You better have a platinum card or a sugar daddy at the ready if you want to buy into the collection, however. Prices start at $US3,000 for a black silk camisole and go up to an astonishing US$15,000 for a 1930s-style gold lame, long evening gown with knot-and-twist bodice detail.

• Britney Spears’ ex, Kevin Federline, has had an astonishing about-face in terms of public favour. Federline stars in the new Nationwide Insurance television commercial, “Life Comes at You Fast” and sends himself up as a fast food worker who day-dreams of being a super-rich tycoon with a designer label wardrobe, loads of bling and a bevy of beautiful girls. The ad was released during the Super Bowl and has become an instant hit.

• Dita Von Tease and former hubby, Marilyn Manson, who announced their separation at Christmas after just a year of marriage, are apparently at loggerheads over custody – of their two cats.

• And speaking of cats, a mysterious Eastern European brought his bodyguard, girlfriend and his cat - a gigantic, pale honey Persian called Leo – to the Marc Jacobs show. Leo, 14 years old and sporting a chic lime leather collar and leash, dozed contentedly in his owner’s arms, apparently soothed by the classical soundtrack – Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

• Marc Jacobs is half the man he used to be – well, almost. The designer has lost nearly two stone after a rigorous new lifestyle which involves gym sessions seven days a week, yoga four days a week, regular jogging, an organic diet and gallons of mineral water.”I’m really looking after myself. I’m even having manicures,” he said backstage as he invited well-wishers to test his abs and buns of steel – “not bad for 44!”

Next week, Jacobs brings his younger Marc collection to London Fashion Week to celebrate the opening of his flagship store on Mount Street. The show and store opening will end with a massive party at Claridges, Jacobs’ favourite hotel.


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