Smith couldn't be reached for comment (his cell and home phones aren't accepting any more messages) and the five participants are out more than $5,000 each. According to one, Vengsarkar Budhu, an FIT graduate who was awarded "Designer of the Year" and the Reem Acra Critics' Award, as well as the Saks Fifth Avenue women's wear award upon his graduation last year, he gave Smith $5,500 to participate in the show, and had spent almost $10,000 in total on silks, pleating, beads and fabrics. He said he received Smith's e-mail on Saturday that the show was cancelled, and has been unable to get in touch with him. He said he got the feeling something was up when he went for the fittings, and Smith didn't show up.
"The hotel said he booked the space and never paid for it," said Budhu. A spokeswoman for the Hudson didn't return a call seeking comment. "I spent the last three months making these clothes," said Budhu, who works part-time at FIT. "I don't have a company, but if I got an order, I would make it."
WELL SHOD: Giving those standees at the Bryant Park tents something to look at while waiting to go into the shows, the fountain display has always been prime real estate for accessories. This time the Italian Trade Commission bought the whole kit and caboodle to remind us that Italian shoes are the gold standard. ITC Commissioner Aniello Musella said business for Italian shoe exports has been great this past year, rising 11 percent, or about $600 million, so it was time to celebrate. Shoe giants such as Rossimoda, Vicini, Ballin and Rodo are displaying their goods through Wednesday.
INCH BY INCH: At Alberta Ferretti's Philosophy presentation Monday, Padma Lakshmi said she was on the hunt for on-air attire for "Top Chef" and would also cruise by Marc Bouwer and Marc Jacobs. Some wanted to know how the former model keeps the extra pounds at bay. "I tell people that I really exercise a lot. It's not easy to do that. I box, roller skate and lift weights. Even if I have only have half an hour, I will go on the treadmill. I also keep a jump rope in my suitcase," she said.