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Bunnies Take a Hop Onto the Catwalk

September 22, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

NEW YORK — The only thing that could have made Betsey Johnson's Playboy Bunny fashion show wilder would have been Hef himself sitting in the front row. The kooky redheaded designer, who went public with her battle against breast cancer last week, eschewed traditional models, choosing to have her spring line modeled by Playboy Playmates in a show Tuesday that resembled a rollicking, silicone-charged "Valley of the Dolls."

Month by month, 23 busty, lusty pinups in plush pink bunny ears hippity-hopped down the runway in outfits that were really no more skimpy than the transparent looks many designers have been trotting out all week. At times, it seemed as if the clothes were merely an accessory to the women's natural (and unnatural) assets. Still, it was refreshing to see real women (well, mostly real) on the runway, cellulite and all.

Front-row guests with their tongues hanging out included musician Steven Tyler and real estate honcho Donald Trump, who watched February's Nicole Dahm strut out in a Valentine-red rhinestone "heart tart" bikini, followed later in the show by May's Brooke Berry in a "Neon Bouquet" silk blouson palazzo suit. June's Victoria Silvstedt was transformed into a "bunny bride," with a white satin merry widow, the bustier trimmed in silk flowers. August's Brittany York hammed it up in a crystal tulle ball gown with a bulbous skirt.

"I was nervous at first, but then I talked to Paulina Porizkova," York said after the show. "She said that most models don't smile and are just paid to be there, but that we should just go out there and have fun. It's nice that Betsey didn't want us to be perfect. She wanted us to be ourselves."

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"Sex and the City" siren Sarah Jessica Parker turned up in the front row at Oscar de la Renta's runway show Tuesday with long, platinum-blond locks. The actress sat next to stylist Patricia Field, nudging her when an overgrown bloom turned up on one of the designer's pieces. "Your flowers!" she whispered to Field. Parker was also eyeing the evening dresses, which made ample use of ostrich feathers. (At the Emmys, recall, she wore a pink Oscar de la Renta couture gown with an ostrich feather skirt. She may have spent the better part of the evening molting, but she sure looked great.)

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InStyle magazine held a bash at the downtown club Lotus on Tuesday night for makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin and his new book, "Face Forward" (Little, Brown). For the book, he gathered some of the world's most famous faces and made them up to look like . . . other famous faces.

Cosmetic wizardry transforms Susan Sarandon into Bette Davis, Martha Stewart into Veronica Lake (excuse me?), Hilary Swank into Raquel Welch, Amber Valetta into both Clark Gable and Carole Lombard and Gwyneth Paltrow into James Dean and Faye Dunaway. It's all a bit spooky, really.

"It's not just about slapping stuff on someone's face," he said at the party, where he held court at a booth with Cher and Julianne Moore. "It's about getting inside of their soul."

I asked who I would be, adding, "And it better not be Tipper Gore." After a few seconds of hemming and hawing, Aucoin said, "But I like Tipper Gore."

Harumph.

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