Seated between the designer and the actress, Usher discovered his head was spinning from the experience. Asked about a startling diamond pin he wore in the shape of a single quill, he had to make a call on his cell phone to find out it was from Fred Leighton. “You can’t imagine the conversation that’s going on between acting and fashion,” he said, ducking out for a moment. “I’m looking forward to using some of what I’m learning here tonight. Fashion is something that artists naturally evolve into. Acting is a priority for me right now — and making sure I’m in the right place at the right time.”
— Eric Wilson
FORD ON THE ROAD: If the Hollywood thing doesn’t work out for Tom Ford, he might consider running for office. He showed the poise of a consummate politician at the sold-out book signing in Beverly Hills for his signature tome at Barneys New York Thursday night, scrawling his John Hancock on books, Gucci handbags and YSL platforms; shaking hands and making small talk with gaga fans, even posing with a baby for snapshots by camera-phone.
And despite a dinner party at one of his favorite local haunts, La Dolce Vita, with about 60 of his famous friends and hosted by GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson, Ford stayed beyond the two-hour scheduled event at Barneys in order to meet with every last one of the 600-plus visitors. “It wouldn’t be right otherwise,” Ford said later as he nursed a vodka tonic on the rocks. “They bought the book and waited so long.”
Indeed, they began lining up as early as noon, some six hours before Ford’s prompt arrival. “Who knew?” asked a shocked Julie Gilhart, Barneys vice president and fashion director, as she scanned the scene. The Wilshire store was wiped out of its 400 regular-edition tomes within 90 minutes of the event starting at $350 a pop. More than one store rep mumbled buyers hadn’t realized the potential and could’ve sold twice that number.