- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fashion fight

Tuesday’s town-hall meeting of the Council of Fashion Designers of America took a heated turn, we hear from our colleagues at the New York Observer - and (gasp!) politics caused the drama.

The CFDA’s president, Diane von Furstenberg, assembled the gathering from the world of style’s biggest names to decide whether Fashion Week has become an all-style, no-substance affair and whether the biannual event is producing enough dividends for the designers, whose style has been cramped, as it were, by the withered economy.

The spirited conversation went something like this:

“There seems to be a disconnect,” lamented designer Jack McCollough, co-founder of the high-end fashion line Proenza Schouler. “For us, the shows have become a press thing. It’s on blogs; magazines pull straight from the runways; and by the time it’s in stores, it feels sort of old.”

“We are open, and we want to support the industry,” explained Roopal Patel, fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, “but the shows and the images are important, and they really do help things sell.”

“The consumer is completely confused, and she’s saying, ‘I’ve had enough.’ We’re spending all this money on shows, and by the time the consumer gets to it, it’s on sale,” blasted designer Donna Karan.

Then came the voice of Anna Wintour, high priestess of the fashion industry. “There’s a deep psychological block with the American consumer of just not wanting to shop, and we want them to shop again,” the American Vogue editor said.

“We are in a crisis,” DVF stated. “We spend so much money on shows, but what is it getting us?”

“Could someone lead a committee that would make ground rules for retailers of when the discounting starts, and then all the retailers can agree to it?” Ms. Wintour suggested.

“That’s illegal!” Ms. von Furstenberg said, shrieking in horror.

“Is that something we can change?” Ms. Wintour asked … and then the kicker. “We have friends in the White House now!”

Ms. von Furstenberg, using an Obamaesque line, replied, “Anything is possible.”

Draw your own conclusions, folks. But please don’t forget to shop.

Paws for the cause

Speaking of fashion, WUSA 9’s Angie Goff filled us in on the details from the 10th annual New York Paws for Style, the Manhattan version of Washington’s most popular charity fashion show, Fashion for Paws, for the local Humane Society.

Miss Goff took a bite out of the Big Apple to model, as she did in the Washington show in the spring. She tells us, “I loved representing D.C. at the show with notable guests Karina Smirnoff, Beth Ostrosky Stern and Ramona Singer of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

When she wasn’t stargazing, Miss Goff worked the runway with her fellow female reporters, including Fox’s Courtney Friel; Kimberly Guilfoyle, host of Fox’s “The Lineup”; and CNN’s Carter Evans at NYC’s M2 Ultra Lounge.

In the end, the District bested Gotham. Miss Goff tells us the event raised between $70,000 and $100,000, compared to the more than $200,000 raised by the District show at the Italian Embassy in March.

Even though the two fundraisers are “not related in any way,” according to a Humane Society rep, we’re still keeping score.

The next Washington Fashion for Paws is tentatively scheduled for April 2010.

Free State Kate?

On the heels of her estranged husband moving into a posh Upper West Side Manhattan apartment comes word that Kate Gosselin is relocating into her own luxe accommodations.

The “Jon & Kate Plus 8” star reportedly is buying a condo in Rockville, says the New York Daily News, citing a report from RadarOnline.com.

Miss Kate’s new digs will come in handy because her agreement upon separating from hubby Jon Gosselin is to take turns living in the family’s million-dollar home in Wernersville, Pa. where their eight children reside.

Coincidentally, the 34-year-old reality mom’s new abode is located one block away from the office of her bodyguard Steve Neild to whom she has been romantically linked, according to published reports. Mrs. Gosselin has denied that the two are an item.

• @To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercoverwashingtontimes.com.

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