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One of the most remarkable looks was a two-piece dress made of ivory silk faille and with a feminine peplum around the hips that also featured a top layer of a latex flower appliques that could have been the icing on the most delicious cake.

Leather has been a staple of this round of previews for editors, stylists and retailers, but de la Renta took the risk with latex, which actually seemed even lighter and more supple than the buttery leathers the crowd has seen.


Like a proud grandfather, de la Renta beamed Wednesday as bite-size models showed off his first full children’s collection for spring, a garden party of floral and lace party dresses for girls and classic layered looks for boys.

One lucky little model hitched a ride in a wagon painted in a blue petal design to complement her red dress in the same print. Two boys toted skateboards for their strut down the runway and two others glided on scooters.

Some had their end-of-runway pause before the cameras down like the bigger pros _ and all wore huge smiles.

De la Renta launched a small collection of kidswear for spring of this year. Generally, de la Renta children’s party dresses last season didn’t exceed $350 _ far from the priciest in the lucrative toddler-with-bucks market.


Betsey Johnson threw herself a big, crazy 70th birthday party with pal Cyndi Lauper belting “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and confetti-slinging models prancing decade-by-decade down a runway in her wild clothes, including one clutching a not-happy-looking baby pig.

Johnson’s grown daughter Lulu popped out of a huge faux birthday cake on stage and watched with her two young kids as grandma performed her signature cartwheel and splits.

If anybody deserves a night out, it’s the flamboyant Johnson, a breast cancer survivor who lost control of her signature boutiques after Betsey Johnson LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

The brand will continue on a wholesale basis and online, with moderately priced clothing sold in department stores, along with accessories and other licenses.

So why not celebrate? Huge video displays offered glimpses of her rock roots in the swinging `60s, as models held up glitter-lettered signs marking the decades, culminating in new clothes for spring with a princess theme.

Johnson’s actual birthday is Aug. 10, 1942, but who’s counting.


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