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A Declining Face Value

THE SPRING COLLECTIONS / New York

November 02, 1995|MIMI AVINS

NEW YORK — The buzz here was that the super-models had become too old, expensive, difficult and overexposed for a lot of designers to deal with. The meanest gossips even said that a number of the models who go last-nameless had gotten fat. But then more than a baker's dozen of the most celebrated models in the business, from Cindy Crawford to Veronica Webb, lent an air of electricity to Todd Oldham's Halloween night show. Despite that dazzling mass appearance, the cry has arisen for fresh faces. Maybe that explains the model in the Jill Stuart show, a dead ringer for Jodie Foster in "Taxi Driver," who looked not a day over 12.

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Celebrity Sightings: Oldham's show also filled the celebrity quota more than any other presentation so far. Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins with Susan Sarandon, Matt Dillon, RuPaul, Ricki Lake and Sofia Coppola were all in the audience. Liza Minnelli and Brandi came to see DKNY on Sunday night. Daisy Fuentes and Goldie Hawn turned out for Mark Eisen, and Dillon for Marc Jacobs. But the absence of both real star power and celebrities in packs suggests the designers aren't drawing household names the way they once did. At Versus, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle, Tim Hutton and a quartet from the cast of "Central Park West" appeared. But most of the flashbulbs that evening popped in the faces of Donald and Marla Trump, who were accompanied by his 14-year old daughter, Ivanka, who is hoping for a modeling career. Maybe the next trend will be for actresses and pop stars to work the runways. Deborah Harry, game but no longer blond, opened the Matsuda show at the Ace Gallery in SoHo and Nicole Miller used a number of young actresses, including Jill Hennessy ("Law and Order"), Maxine Bahns ("The Brothers McMullen") and Gina Gershon ("Showgirls") in her show.

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Alex Knows Everybody: A cocktail party for 83-year-old fashion photographer Alexander Liberman, marking the publication of his book "Then," brought a mixed-media crowd Monday to the restaurant of Barneys on Madison Avenue. Among the photography lovers were Random House and Conde Nast owner Si Newhouse; Random House chief Harry Evans with his wife, New Yorker Editor Tina Brown; designers Paloma Picasso, Pauline Trigere and Romeo Gigli; writers Norman Mailer, Rona Jaffe and Patti Davis; former models Patti Hansen and Lois Chiles, and homemaking mogul Martha Stewart. The 20th-Century style icons pictured in the book, Coco Chanel, Babe Paley and others both famous and infamous, would have fit right in.

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Buy a Status Symbol: What items New York peddlers spread out on their sidewalk tables is an indication of either what's hot or what's over. At the corner of Madison Avenue and 59th Street, ersatz Prada backpacks and Chanel pearl and gold watches were being hawked. The asking price for a black nylon Prada knockoff was $75, but a tough bargainer could take one home for $50.

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