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More NY Autumn 2003 photos -
  Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and more!







The latest gossip columnist fad is to say J Lo and Ben have knocked Jennifer and Brad off their pedestal as Hollywood's number one couple. This notion, according to the real insiders, could not veer more sharply from the truth. Brad Pitt, the unchallenged matinee idol of the world, fell deeply, madly, and truly in love with the down-to-earth, talented, and likable Aniston. It was, from the first date, an affair of the heart, and the two reputedly have the ideal marriage based on love, support, trust, and communication. One observer said, "It's almost as if they're one person. He adores and protects her, she nurtures and encourages him."

With J Lo and Ben you have a mix of attraction, a publicity bonanza, and the high spending greed that basically went out of style with the eighties. JLo was married when Ben came along and decided to help himself. She was also a bigger star than he, and that seems to be exactly what he likes. Perhaps it's because of his alcohol and gambling issues, we don't pretend to know, but for some reason Ben is that relative rarity: a man who needs a woman who outshines him. In his pictures with J Lo, he looks completely overwhelmed by her, and we hear that in person it's even more conspicuous.

This would seem to be business as usual if you consider that when Ben hooked up with Gwyneth Paltrow, she had made it into Hollywood's top tier, and he was an unknown.

We wish one and all well, but we do need to consider that the Bens are the sort of American men who appall Osama Bin Laden and his followers with the long beards and tube hats. These men look at the "Great Satan" America and feel sorry for our men, not only Ben, but the 100 million or so used-up manager-boyfriends with gelled hair who fail to get past the velvet rope on Oscar night.

The average mullah shudders over the presumed agony of these species, who are outgrowths of, they like to say, democracy, letting women walk around without veils, etc. And what about American movies? Coal Miner's Daughter comes to mind. Have you seen it? If not, rent the tape or CD or whatever to better understand what we're talking about here. It's one of many films in which the woman, let for a minute out of purdah, becomes rich and famous, and the boyfriend an empty husk, drinking, smashing vases, or impotently attempting to twiddle a knob on a recording console. A cuckold to fame, he cannot enter Balthazar and is lucky if his empress lover doesn't cancel his cell phone account.

But if Ben's relationship with J Lo works for him, why should he worry about what anyone else thinks? Except maybe his best friend, Matt Damon, whom Maggie Harbour says told Ben, "Hey, man, you're losing your identity to this woman. You're so whipped, it's not funny any more."

* * *

As usual, we found some good quotes for our quipmeister readers: "Success doesn't do anything but exacerbate your personality. People I know that are crazy as movie stars were crazy before they were." -- Julianna Moore, star of "Far From Heaven." ....Hugh Grant in Cosmo: "I've never done a film where it wasn't falsely printed that I had romantic feelings for my costar except for maybe the boy in About a Boy. And yet when I read rumors about other people, I believe them absolutely." . . . . Lauren Hutton on her new makeup line, "When I was modeling, I got tips from all the other models - those giant German girls. There were 400 Bergittas and two Astrids, and I learned from them." . . . Crown prince Haakon of Norway, re: his wife, Mette-Marit, "I don't think I have ever been so angry, adrenaline angry, with anyone as with you, as weak and strong, so filled with love as when I am together with you." He is the first Norwegian royal to marry a commoner, and she is a former waitress with an out of wedlock child. Her little boy served as ring bearer at the wedding…Rosie O'Donnell told Allure magazine she wants "to eat food with nutritional value along with the crap I normally eat." . . . the Gap's Doris Fisher, upon being told a friend wanted to replace the raincoat he bought in 1960, "What would you do that for?"

Dave Ford in the San Francisco Chronicle, re: Liza Minelli's marriage to David Gest, "Elton John . . . said his best present

to Lisa would be 'a heterosexual husband.'" Now, now, the idea of a guy hiding his sexuality by marrying a woman to boost his career is quite frankly ludicrous! (Ask any short, superfamous, recently divorced action film star.)

* * *

When the exhibition of Jacqueline Onassis's wardrobe organized by the Metropolitan Museum in New York traveled to Paris, it outdrew all the art shows combined, and the French critics kept referring to her fashion sense as an art form. The woman who elevated fashion to museum status, was, of course, Vogue's legendary Diana Vreeland. She also ushered in the era of the celeb. That's right. It didn't always exist. The daughter of wealthy New Yorkers, the lady with the black helmet hair was born in Paris but raised on the Upper East Side. Rather than marrying well after her debut, as expected, she went to work as a columnist for Harper's Bazaar and astounded readers by asking questions like, "Why don't you rinse your blonde child's hair in dead champagne to keep its gold, as they do in France?" and "Why don't you paint a map of the world on all four walls of your boys' nursery so they won't grow up with a provincial point of view?"

She resuscitated the moribund Vogue magazine in the 1960s by hiring photographers like Richard Avedon and critics to review movies, books, and performing arts.

"I want my readers to think while they're changing their clothes," she said. She once told her favorite model, Veruschka, "If somebody asks you about where you are from or where you were born, never say what is true. It's too boring. You always have to be dramatic and say, for instance, 'I was born on the borderline between Germany and Poland, near Russia.' The people have to be glued to their chairs when you talk, otherwise it's so boring. You want to do something exciting - strange." Vreeland ushered in the era of the celeb when she stated her mission for Vogue; "I want to feature personalities in the magazine - their conversation, interests, the atmosphere they create around them."

Then she proceeded to reach out to the creative people in the fashion world: the designers, writers, and photographers, along with the socialites, actresses, and others who bought the clothes. She chronicled where they went, what they ate, whom they loved and hated. In an iconoclastic spirit, she created "cafe society," and then moved on in the 70s to Andy Warhol's crowd - soulmates all.

Her friends such as Jane Gillespie (a former Paris Vogue editor) remember her exuberance and her funny remarks. When you discuss how profoundly influential she turned out to be, they say, "She had what it takes - tenacity."

* * *

When IPLL, Intense Pulsating Laser Light blossomed forth as the skin treatment of choice for those wishing to erase imperfections, we wrote about it in Fashionlines.com and pointed out all its many good qualities - painless, quick recovery, definite improvement. Now for the down side: at that point no one knew how long the good effects would last, and it turns out not very long at all. We had a series of three treatments costing $700.00 apiece and then went to Hawaii for sun and surf. Returned home looking same old, same old, the good effects of the treatment having disappeared. The dermatologist scolded that those who took their IPLL seriously - in fact were serious about their skin in general - avoided the sun by visiting New York for a vacation, or, better, foggy London. We shrugged shamefacedly but have recently learned that even the most indoorsey people imaginable lose the good effects after six months or less. Botox, collagen, IPPL - you're lucky to get six months' benefit. Some people revert in as little as three weeks. Don't blame the doctor if you are one of these. Dosages are pretty well standardized, and the difference lies in the individual. Some people absorb these treatments and lose the benefits faster than others.

If you want your treatment to have legs, you have to do a standard laser peel, which is more traumatic and risky than IPLL , plus much more expensive. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but someone has to.

* * *

Are you ready for news that we loved learning and wanted to share? Trusting you are, we will tell you that the dinosaurs who lived in Utah may have been killed by a severe drought. That's the latest thinking on the demise of these gallumping meat-eating relatives of Tyrannosaurus Rex. One thing the Utah branch of the family did was leave behind prolific fossils in the arid desert in the southern part of the state. Just thinking about it made us refill our cats' water dishes. More: Scholars believe they've found the first archaeological evidence that refers to Jesus as an actual person and identifies James, who led the first Christian church, as his brother. My last tidbit: Scientists have spotted a thousand-yard-wide asteroid that may be heading for a collision with earth in 878 years or so.

* * * *

Reading the European magazines impresses one with the long-term impact of Diana, Princess of Wales. Now continental royal princesses look sleek, chic, warm, and better, foggy London. We shrugged shamefacedly but have recently learned that even the most indoorsey people imaginable lose the good effects after six months or less. Botox, collagen, IPPL - you're lucky to get six months' benefit. Some people revert in as little as three weeks. Don't blame the doctor if you are one of these. Dosages are pretty well standardized, and the difference lies in the individual. Some people absorb these treatments and lose the benefits faster than others.

If you want your treatment to have legs, you have to do a standard laser peel, which is more traumatic and risky than IPLL , plus much more expensive. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but someone has to.

* * * *

Reading the European magazines impresses one with the long-term impact of Diana, Princess of Wales. Now continental royal princesses look sleek, chic, warm, and