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Paparazzi's Paradise: Clothes Take Backseat To Celebrity Photo Ops

The debate over whether front-row celebrities are good or bad for designers continues, as well as whether there are enough A-listers to keep the buzz.

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So far, it has been up to Marc Jacobs to produce the most impressive lineup, though. His front row had Lil' Kim, Lindsay Lohan, Uma Thurman, Selma Blair, Diddy, Blige, Maria Sharapova, and, again, Longoria.

Even some celebrities seem to be getting fed up with the hoopla (although they're not skipping any events). After the Luca Luca show, Blige said, "The worst part [about the shows] is people don't have any manners. It's push, push, push and no one says, 'Excuse me.'"

Amerie agreed, "Sometimes people tend to forget decorum."

Speaking of decorum, throughout the week, Paris Hilton — who is beginning to seem as ubiquitous as Fern Mallis — has been seen at shows twirling her gigantic engagement ring as if bored, using her purse as a mirror to touch up her mascara, texting messages and even speaking on her cell phone as models stride by.

Which raises a question: is it as important for Paris to be photographed at shows as it is for the designers to have her there? After all, she has her own products to hawk now, too.

"It's a way for celebrities to feel like they augmented their profile in a meaningful way," Doonan noted. "Interestingly, the ones that get the most attention are the ones where you think, 'Wait, what did she do?' Paris and Lindsay are the biggest paparazzi draw but their list of accomplishments is infinitesimally small. My dog is more accomplished."

The week already has resulted in some odd front-row couplings. Kenneth Cole, for instance, seated "American Idol" winner Clay Aiken beside country star Lee Ann Womack, and observers noted they barely spoke.

A spokeswoman for Cole said of the Womack-Aiken pairing, "We placed them together because they were both singers. Clay is so young and she is so established that we felt he would love sitting next to her and talk shop.

"It does heighten the press coverage," the spokeswoman conceded. "In a public relations sense, I would be happier to have a celebrity shot in our clothing. That's the best p.r. you can get. When Britney Spears wore one of our spring handbags, we could not keep the bag in the stores."
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