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AND THE OSCAR GOES TO...: Not only are designers vying to dress Hollywood's top talent for the 81st Academy Awards Feb. 22 but a collection of seven designers are competing online to outfit the model who delivers the golden statuettes to the stage. As part of the "Oscars Designer Challenge," with online voting at oscar.com, Chicagoan Maria Pinto, known for dressing Michelle Obama on the campaign trial, will go up against fellow Chicago designer Sam Kori George, New Yorkers Moire Conroy and Nicolas Putvinski and three designers from Los Angeles, Alan Del Rosario, Marianne Kooimans and Robert Rodriguez. The winning design will be announced during "Oscar's Red Carpet 2009," the live arrivals show airing at 5 p.m. Feb. 22
G-STAR GETS BULLISH: G-Star Raw will be dispensing with the hydraulic lifts and conveyer belt catwalk that have defined its fashion shows in recent years in favor of a more traditional runway show when it unveils its fall collection Tuesday night. This doesn't mean the Dutch industrial-inspired label will abandon all signs of showmanship. Benicio Del Toro has been tapped as the latest G-Star Icon, taking over for Dennis Hopper, and will take part in the show. A grand piano will also be present on stage as part of the show's music compilation. However, there is no word on exactly who will be tickling the ivories.