Haute List

May 24, 2007 -- Plaid girls, whatcha gonna do?

BE there and be square. Anglomaniacs, tablecloth fetishists and Catholic school dropouts will be pleased to know that plaid is back, giving eyelet and gingham a run for hottest dress of the summer.

"When I think of plaid, I think of Vivienne Westwood. She took it and turned it around from something classic and traditional," says designer Alice Ritter, who uses plaid fabrics liberally in her spring collection. "I love plaid all season - I don't think there is a reason not to wear it." Our favorites:

- Topaz plaid minidress, $199 at Entree, 11 Main St., Port Washington, L.I.; (516) 767-0316. Lucilla -Pessoa shoes, $295, at Intermix, 1003 Madison Ave.
-Alice Ritter's "Everly Plaid," $338, at Albertine, 13 Christopher St.; (212) 924-8515
-Rojas buffalo plaid dress, $128, next month at rojasonline.com
-Nili Lotan's hooded zip-up plaid mini, $285, at Barney's, 660 Madison Ave.; (212) 826-8900

Sense of face
FOURTEENFACED: What do Amanda Bynes, Kelsey Grammer and Ali Larter have in common? They've all had their faces stroked and scrutinized by Dermalogica-trained aestheticians as part of the cult skin-care company's signature Face Mapping service.

According to the company's experts, the face can be divided into 14 zones, with each zone causing problems - breakouts, clogged pores - for different reasons.

For example, while zits in Zones 1 and 3 might be attributed to shampoo residue, the same problem in other zones could be due to irritation and dehydration. Armed with a fully mapped face, customers can be sure that the products they buy are tailored to their exact needs.

Appointments for Dermalogica Face Mapping can be booked at Oasis Day Spa (1 Park Ave.; [212] 254-7722) and Eden Day Spa (388 Broadway; [212] 225-0515).

Obsessions of the week
* Cheap and cheerful: Just when it seems like you couldn't possibly find a decent spring bag for anything less than $1,000, we found two gorgeous leather options - each for less than $200:
Liz Claiborne's "Broadway" soft-frame zip-top bag, $178, at liz.com and
Kipling's salmon "Sofie" bag, $198, at Macy's Herald Square.
* Brace yourself: Stop a fashion editor on the street and ask about her elaborate, chunky cocktail ring - there's a good chance that it's from Lia Sophia, the fashion-forward jewelry line that offers surprisingly well-priced collector-worthy pieces. Lindsay Lohan and "Grey's Anatomy" ex Kate Walsh both recently picked up these crystal stretch buckle bracelets ($375, at liasophia.com).
* Espadrilles gone wild: It appears the classic summer shoe has gone all Frankenshow on us - this season is the first time we've seen espadrille-style high-tops (sizzle-stripe razzeteurs, $86, at quelobject.com) and boots (Rubber Duck, $60, at Urban Outfitters). Bananas, we know.
* Hello, sailor! Just in time for Fleet Week, we love these anchor-print frocks. Lindsay Lohan picked up this strappy baby-doll number from Primp ($153, at karmaloop.com) last week. And we're crazy about this "Veronica" dress, which, at $78, is a snip at sailorjerry.com.

Fat Chance

FOR $50 A MONTH, AND WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION, ALLI PROMISES TO HELP YOU DROP POUNDS FAST. MEET THE PILL THAT MAY ALTER DIETING FOREVER

by DANICA LO

May 22, 2007 -- HOW you diet is about to change - radically.

Starting June 15, Alli - the first FDA-approved over-the-counter weight-loss pill - will be available in stores. Today, the company behind it, GlaxoSmithKline, opens a storefront in Union Square to teach consumers about the drug. (As if people need to be sold on dropping pounds by swallowing a capsule.)

But Alli is only the first of what promises to be a deluge of clinically-proven “miracle” diet pills. Pharma giant Pfizer spent millions to research the appetite-suppressing properties of a rare South African plant. And it’s rumored that Merck has tweaked a mouse so that, no matter how much it eats, it will never get fat.

There’s nothing small about drugs and dieting. Nearly every pharmaceutical company hopes to hit it big with what experts estimate could potentially be a $50 billion-a-year cash cow.

What makes these new drugs so interesting is that experts say they actually work - albeit with side effects. While supplements like the highly-regulated ephedrine may have helped the odd customer shed a few unwanted pounds, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never approved a over-the-counter weight-loss drug - until now.

Alli (pronounced AL-eye, like a “partner” in weight loss), is marketed with an accompanying diet book (“The Alli Diet Plan” by Dr. Caroline Apovian), and a pamphlet full of promises (“Are You Losing It?” is $5.99 at myalli.com). The pamphlet includes a tantalizing statistic: a claim that Alli helps users lose 50 percent more weight than dieting alone (i.e. instead of losing 10 pounds, Alli users lose 15).

The active ingredient in Alli, 60 milligrams of orlistat, is the same found in Xenical (orlistat 120 mg), a prescription-only drug that has been available in this country since 1999. Unlike existing diet supplements, instead of controlling appetite, Alli blocks the digestion of approximately 25 percent of total consumed fat, thereby reducing the total number of calories absorbed.

Currently available for pre-order at drugstore.com, Alli is priced from $50 for 60 doses, or a month’s supply.
Sounds good, huh? Well, we haven’t gotten to the side effects (stop reading if you’re eating breakfast).

“I’d caution people who are taking this to not wear white after Memorial Day,” says Dr. Stuart Fischer, founder and director of the Park Avenue Diet Center. “Anything that is fat is going to go right through you, [resulting in] oily gas and uncontrolled bowel movements.

“If you should avail yourself of the salad bar over the summer, please don’t use oily dressings,” Fischer continues. “And as for the food that people are most likely to misbehave with - pizza, cheeseburgers, french fries - there can be quite a bit of ‘side effect.’ Remember Olestra?”

And while GSK is clear about the potential for bowel irregularities in its literature - advising customers to stick to meals that contain less than 15 grams of total fat - Fischer points out that the typical Alli customer may not have the willpower to heed this advice.

Like Xenical, “it’s [for] a patient who is looking for an easy fix to a difficult problem - someone who has uncontrollable eating habits,” Fischer says. “I believe that people have to make comprehensive lifestyle changes in order to ensure permanent weight loss.”

And, as we all know, lifestyle and willpower don’t come in pill form.

Instead, “people who are buying it may think it can empty their innards in some painless way - that they’ll go from overweight to bathing-suit ready,” Fischer says. “But when have people limited anything?”

In addition to bigger laundry bills, Alli users - like their Xenical-popping predecessors - can expect a rash of vitamin deficiencies, which could lead to potentially life-threatening diseases. (In this regard, the drug’s informational Web site simply states that “Alli can reduce the absorption of some vitamins.”)

“By the nature of what they do, Alli and Xenical cause nutritional deficiencies of vitamins A, D, E and K,” Fischer says. “Loss of vitamin D leads to osteoporosis. I’ve seen cases of people taking this medicine with increased fractures and more brittle bones - particularly in women in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

“They won’t lose 40 or 50 pounds on these medicines - and while there’s some benefit in blood pressure, cholesterol or sense of well-being, why would someone substitute one diseased state for another?”

Critics aside, clinical studies indicate that Alli users can expect to lose 5 to 10 pounds over six months. And, if the myalli.com message boards are any indication, consumers can’t wait to get their hands on the little teal capsule.

My book in Polish!

Picture 4

Obsession of the week

Mika's third single, "Big Girl"

Haute List

May 17, 2007 -- A head of the pack

L.A. girls like Mischa Barton, the Olsen twins and Lindsay Lohan are losing their heads for one of summer's hottest accessories - the headband.

Perfect for a beachside stroll - like Nicole Richie at Bondi Beach in Sydney last month - or to cover up pimples - like Lindsay for a dinner at Il Sole earlier this month - this season's incarnation is part hippie, part Axl Rose and part functional.
"Take the same headband or scarf that you had and put it across your forehead," advises Jaye Hersch, owner of trendy L.A. boutique Intuition (shopintuition.com).

"I think it's very Bohemian, retro, back to the '60s. And now they're all doing it. They're always looking for ways to stand out, and to solve the whole bad-hair-day problem, too."

Hersch says Eva Longoria was recently in her boutique and bought six floral Voom headbands ($40). And last week Vanessa Minnillo bought a black turban-style band, as well as a floral one.

"It's just another way to decorate your body, a way to show your style and get another pop of color," Hersch says, "especially for the girls who veer towards all black."

Mary-Kate Olsen (top) wears an Intuition turban headband, $105; Nicole Richie wears an Echo striped headband, $20. Mischa Barton improvised her own.

STYLE PROFILE: SoKo

"I hate myself today, I don't know what's happening to me, I hate my face today, I think I look so sh---y."

That's MySpace star SoKo, singing in her French-accented little-girl lilt. "My hair is crazy, I look disgusting. My eyes are glued, my lips are chapped, my legs are prickling and plus I'm stinking today."

"Not Sokute," SoKo's just-released debut EP - available only at myspace.com/thesokos - is a compilation of five songs devoted to women's obsession with their looks and corresponding relationship paranoia.

Despite her unsigned status, SoKo has already garnered a following of young fashion-industry types - and she's already touring cities throughout Europe.

Perhaps her fans identify with the quiet angst in her lyrics - like the track "Sh---y Day" in which she avows that her boyfriend is going to dump her because she's not perfect-looking. On "Dandy Cowboys," she sings about matching hats and boots, and on her cult hit "I'll Kill Her" she bitterly predicts that her ex's new girlfriend - "that bitch blond girl" - will dump him for a male model named Brendan.

We're crazy about SoKo's sophisticated-but-quirky style, her perfectly unkempt hair, and her knack for looking fantastic in the way only young Parisian girls can.

Here, according to SoKo herself, are the five most important pieces in her closet right now:
1. "My old pair of brown boots I found in a flea market three years ago."
2. "My Beach Boys T-shirt, which is so big I wear it like a dress."
3. "A large black waistcoat - it's so old, large and ugly, with holes in it, but it's so soft."
4. "My huge silver bracelet with turquoise in it that I wear every day. Turquoise is supposed to bring luck."
5. "My very long necklace with little silver and black wooden beads that I got from my mom."

Obsessions of the week

* Fendi for yourself: Because we know that bigger is always better, we're intrigued by Fendi's WWF championship belt-size logo buckle ($420) on the pink "Maxi Forever" ($615) belt. With a buckle this big our waists will surely look smaller, right?

* Lady in red: The perfect red lipstick - formulated to the precise hue of the Target logo - is now available packaged in a special, limited-edition scarlet version of the iconic L'Oreal lipstick tube. $5.99 at Target stores nationwide.

* Naughty or nice: Look like a badass - even in ballerina flats. Repetto and Comme des Garcons continue their collaboration this season with dainty bowed skimmers topped with biker-worthy studs and rivets. They're $455 and available in black and white at Comme des Garcons (520 W. 22nd St.; [212] 604-9200).

* Tennis anyone? Even though we can't serve to save our lives, we agree that Lydia Hearst's Puma Lydia bag is aces.
On Tuesday, the sometimes model/socialite/Darfur activist launches her limited-edition collection of tennis bags co-designed by Heatherette's Richie Rich and Traver Raines at Puma's Black Store, 421 W. 14th St.; (212) 206-0109.
The bags are $725 and come in pink, metallic bronze and a black, silver and red patent-leather combo. We hear the waiting list is already filling up.

* Pretty, pretty palettes: Like all beauty junkies, we're suckers for good packaging. This time, though, it's not about the outside - it's what's inside that counts for the prettiest spring colors:

* Physicians Formula Bronze Gems Matte, $12.95 at Duane Reade stores
* Clinique Fresh Bloom Allover Color, $29.50 at clinique.com
* Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzer, $28.50 at Sephora stores
* Chantecaille Coral Compact, $69 at Bergdorf Goodman, (212) 753-7300
* YSL Mosaic Sun Powder Palette, $57 at Henri Bendel, (212) 247-1100

Haute List

May 10, 2007 -- Trendy without doing time

LUCKY Paris Hilton.

There's been no better season in recent fashion memory to be thrown in the slammer than this summer.

While serving a 45-day sentence for driving when she shouldn't have been (aka listening to Elliot Mintz; aka illiteracy), her regulation-issue L.A. County Jail jumpsuit and slip-ons will keep her perfectly in tune with what's happening beyond the prison gates - as onesies, rompers and jumpsuits are all the rage in non-felon-wear this season.

First developed for skydiving purposes, the jumpsuit - one-piece dressing with sleeves and legs - acquired its fashion cachet in the 1960s. Jumpsuits have been famously worn in concert by celebs including Elvis Presley, Britney Spears, Madonna and Slipknot. Vintage Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler and Norma Kamali jumpsuits are fashion collectors' holy grails.

Right now, jumpsuits can be had in all different shapes, sizes, lengths, patterns and styles. So while we're placing international orders for Topshop's basic-black industrial-strength boiler suit in black and yellow ($100 at topshop.com), ladies who prefer more ladylike onesies can opt for a gorgeous Lewis Cho kimono-style suit ($207 at nordstrom.com), some Mara Hoffman creations in seersucker ($275 at activeendeavors.com) or silk charmeuse (right, $460 at Dernier Cri; [212] 242-6061), cutesy Tart Coco button-front jumpers (near left, $140) and strapless Cleo jumpers (far left, $140 at shopintuition.com), or a smart tailored empire-waist denim look from Odyn ($204 at Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Ave.; [212] 247-1100).

Gathering Moss

More than 100 impeccably groomed girls waited outside Barneys' Madison Avenue flagship yesterday for the first stateside look at Kate Moss for Topshop, the supermodel's first line - of fashion, anyway.

"I love, love everything she wears, and this stuff is so similar," said 19-year-old Brittney Hershkowitz, who dragged her mom, Terri (pictured), and 16-year-old sister, Dani, out at 6:30 a.m. so they could be the first people in line. "I'm really looking for the bondage dress, the jeans, the blazers and the tattoo dress."

After a couple of hours of standing outside, Hershkowitz traded her Chloe heels for Chanel ballet flats, depositing the blister-causing pair neatly in her Chanel bag. "I love Kate Moss. I think she's pretty and I love her style. The whole look, the way she puts it together," gushed Dani, who cut school to take part in the mayhem.

Inside, Topshop owner Sir Philip Green surveyed the women fighting over $120 pansy-print dresses - the first item to sell out - and dismembered, naked mannequins stripped of the popular black bondage dress and denim hot pants.
By 11 a.m. all that was left were racks of tank tops. No word on when or if anything will be restocked.

Obsessions of the week
* Birthday Bartsch: Our favorite resident fashion dandy Patrick McDonald celebrates his birthday tonight at Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny's Kino 41 with a V2 Vodka open bar from 11 p.m. to midnight, music by Larry Tee, and a show by world-famous burlesque sensation Dirty Martini. Admission is free, doors open at 10:30 p.m. Kino 41 at 135 W. 41st St.
* Rumeur has it: "A rumor is something that reflects what life is all about today: media, press, rumors, tabloids, right, wrong, Internet," Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz (pictured) told us at Saks about Rumeur, the fragrance that takes the name of one of the fashion house's most beloved fragrances first developed and sold in 1934. While its predecessor was discontinued in 1971, relaunched in 1979 and shelved again in 1982, we have a notion that this new incarnation, an easy floral amber, will have staying power. Eau de parfum, $85 for 3.3 ounces at Saks.
- Serena French
* Get your nails did: Or, do them yourself. Think of YSL's Sun Line Nail Touch ($23 at Henri Bendel) as nail polish for dummies - the color comes packaged in an easy-to-apply paintbrush pen.
* Male call: Hey, guys - up your game with got2b's brand-new Magnetik pheromone-laced hairstyling product line. Gel, $6, and pomade, $6, at drugstores. Or fight wrinkles without sacrificing your masculinity with Lancome's new line of men's grooming products. Don't worry, the packaging is all very manly and black. Try Renergy 3D ($52), a lifting, anti-wrinkle firming cream, and Age Fight ($42), an anti-age perfecting fluid. For the entire Lancome Men's range, check out the brand's UWS Boutique, 201 Columbus Ave.; (212) 362-4858.

More Kate TK

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Didn't get your Kate Moss for Topshop fix yesterday? There's still time. Worth Global Style Network is reporting this morning that Barneys plans to continue carrying the Kate Moss for Topshop line in future seasons, as Topshop plans to turn the line into a long-term global brand.

In the meantime, if you missed the first shipment, which sold out early on at Barneys 61st St. and Barneys in Beverly Hills, you can still buy the pieces at Barneys Coops around New York, at Opening Ceremony's Soho and L.A. stores, and online at barneys.com and barneyscoop.com.

"Everyone is asking for more denim," says Topshop PR rep Andrew Leahy about the upcoming Kate Moss Topshop collection for fall, "but for us I think it's more interesting to do more design-specific pieces and I think that will come through. I think it will grow. She has one more week and then she has her own [Topshop] office.

"For autumn, I know it's going to be really special one-off things. The limited-edition things will go up -- we have these limited-edition dresses here -- ten of some, 30 of others -- but I think that the main thing is that she'll understand the way Topshop works in a fast fashion sense and I think she'll get more into that thing."

F*ck off, I'm with the band!

Click on the photos to see the full spread:

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SHE'S WITH THE BAND

FOUR ACTS, FOUR SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS - SIX ROCKIN' LOOKS

By DANICA LO

OZZFEST
Monster band Lordi stepped into the limelight at last year's Eurovision Song Contest. As the musical ambassadors representing Finland, the hard-rockers won with the highest number of votes ever recorded in the contest's 50-year history. New to our shores with their debut American release, "The Arockalypse," Lordi plays Ozzfest in Holmdel, N.J., on Aug. 16. Tickets are free; check ozzfest.com for more info.

The look: Kara Janx dress, $318, at searlenyc.com; stilettos, $560, at D&G (434 W. Broadway; [212] 965-8000); earrings, $8, at aldoshoes.com

WARPED TOUR
Metalcore band As I Lay Dying has been touring nearly nonstop since they signed to Metal Blade records in 2003. Currently at work on their sixth album, the band is playing Warped Tour (warpedtour.com) on Aug. 4 at Nassau Coliseum. Tickets are $35 at ticketmaster.com.

The look: Sequin tank, $39.50, at Express; Rebecca Beeson mesh tank, $72, at tee-zone.com; pants, $520, at Costume National ([212] 431-1530); Brian Atwood pumps, $530, at Saks.com; Bulga bag, $795, at bagshop.com; jewelry, from $6.80, at forever21.com. Tee, $60, at Buckler ([212] 255-1596); shorts, $34.50, at ae.com; Hosiery and arm-warmers, from $7 at Ricky's NYC; socks, $15, at americanapparelstore.com; shoes, $45, at vans.com.

HIGHLINE FESTIVAL
Brandon Curtis and Josh Garza are progressive-rock duo the Secret Machines. The pair are one of six bands handpicked by David Bowie to perform at this year's H&M High Line Festival (highline-festival.com), a 10-day music, comedy, film and art extravaganza named for the elevated rail structure that runs through the Meatpacking District and west Chelsea. The band has released two albums: "Now Here is Nowhere," their first full-length album, in 2004, and "Ten Silver Drops," last year. They've toured with groups such as Muse, Foo Fighters, Interpol and Oasis. The Secret Machines play a sold-out show at the HighLine Ballroom on May 19.

The look: Ever T-shirt, $136, at ronherman.com; Mike & Chris "Truman" waistcoat, $610, at activeendeavors.com; gold shorts, $165, at Alice & Olivia ([212] 840-1155); Yves Saint Laurent platform sandals, $630, at Chuckies (1169 Madison Ave.; [212] 249-2254); gold-painted "Easy Rider" bag, $295, at zadig-et-voltaire.com; jewelry, from $6.80, at forever21.com.

BROOKLYN HIP-HOP FESTIVAL
Consequence may have only just released his debut full-length album, "Don't Quit Your Day Job" this spring, but that doesn't mean he's new to the industry. The Queens native has made frequent appearances on other artists' tracks and has worked with A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West and Talib Kweli. He, along with other luminaries like Ghostface, Dres, Skillz and Emily King, will perform at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on June 23. Tickets and more info at brooklynbodega.com/festivalcalendar.htm

The look: Silk tunic dress, $480, at robertocavalli.com; "Sandalo" slingbacks, $560, at Costume National (108 Wooster St.; [212] 431-1530). Black silk jumpsuit, $1,030, and lionhead belt, $650, at Temperley New York (453 Broome St.; [212] 219-2929).

Photoshooting all week

Sorry for the silence, but I've been on crazy celebrity photoshoots all week! Story coming on Monday. Watch this space.

"Observe Everything. Always think for yourself. Never let other people make important decisions for you." — from Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn