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KENNETH COLE 24/7: Showgoers were thinking about more than just fall trends during New York Fashion Week, thanks to the always provocative Kenneth Cole. According to surveys Cole took at the Bryant Park tents last week, 43 percent of the fashion set thinks model weight should be regulated (another 26 percent said the idea makes them want to throw up), and almost half said they don't care what week New York holds its shows, "as long as I get a front row seat" (the other half were almost equally divided between the first and second weeks of February and September). And who do fashionistas think America is most inclined to accept as its next president? Twenty-eight percent said a woman, 36 percent said an African-American, 10 percent said Oprah Winfrey and 26 percent said "a Caucasian billionaire mayor." The full results of the survey will appear on Cole's social awareness blog, alternately kennethcoleblog.com and awarenessblog.com, which launches Monday. "It's an idea that has been 25 years in the making," said the designer of the blog.
Of course, when Cole started his eponymous line a quarter century ago, computers were still a novel concept and there was no such thing as a blog, but he has always dedicated himself to stirring dialogue about issues of public concern — a cause he hopes the blog will further. The Web site won't be a destination for musings on heel height or hem length, but rather on social rights (illustrated with a gay rights flag), hard times (homelessness and poverty), the political landscape (namely war) and well-being (prominently AIDS and HIV). Fashion fans need not feel totally isolated: Cole will file a weekly column under "Clothes Mindedness." Cole is also enlisting famous friends — including Natasha Richardson, Alan Cumming and Mario Cantone — to blog about social issues that are important to them. "There are all these people out there looking for an opportunity to express their personal passions, and they are often absent of a platform," Cole said. "As a designer, I create content. This creates context."
— Whitney Beckett
SHOPPING GUIDE: The boys at Burton in New York's SoHo were hoping for a 30-minute meal cooked by Rachael Ray when the crew from her daytime television show ascended on the store to film a segment Thursday morning. Instead they had to go hungry, and Ty Pennington, host of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," perused snowboard goods with customers to tape a segment on extreme gift makeovers. Pennington's piece for an upcoming Rachael Ray show is about giving help to the gift-giving challenged and included stops along several stores in downtown Manhattan. The segment is scheduled to air sometime in March.
— Stephanie D. Smith