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Lunch: Special Fashion Week Edition

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— DIANE CLEHANE

These days, you just never know who you’re going to meet on Wednesdays at Michael’s. If we’d come yesterday, we would have been able to chat with Willem Dafoe. Oh well. This being New York Fashion Week, I was thrilled when Donna Karan came in. I was happy to catch up with my former boss (I once toiled as her flack during her heyday at Anne Klein) and add to the praise she’s been getting for her show earlier this week. When I asked her if she’s seen the glowing review Cathy Horyn wrote in this morning’s Times, she replied with a smile. “That was a surprise!” Not to her most fervent fans, though. Donna’s gorgeous jackets and draped skirts that are sure to be on plenty of well-dressed city gals come next fall hearkened back to her 80s heyday without looking at all retro. While everyone else is referencing the decade of giant shoulder pads (Is anyone really going to wear them again?) and DayGlo brights, Donna has managed to make everything look thoroughly modern and beautiful. Bravo!

I was lunching at the bar with fellow People scribe and soul sister Natasha Stoynoff when Ed Victor came up for a chat. Our favorite uber agent told us he was meeting Fugees producer/rapper John Forte and his lawyer Aarti Tandon. Here’s a tantalizing tale: John was one of 14 people who got a presidential pardon from departing President George W. Bush. John received a 14-year sentence in 2000 for drug trafficking when he was caught with two suitcases of liquid cocaine worth $1.4 million in Newark Airport. Carly Simon and Senator Orrin Hatch (now there’s an odd couple) both championed his release, says Ed. Now, he’s blogging about his experiences for Tina Brown on The Daily Beast, and Ed is shopping a book about his adventures in and out of jail. Sounds like a page-turner to us…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Bonnie Timmerman and Richard Belzer

2. Peter Brown and a young bespectacled gent

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Dorothy Kallins

4. My pal, Inside Edition anchor Deborah Norville and CBS Television’s Bob Madden. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Deb, so I went over to chat, and we laughed about how busy the dining room is despite empty tables all over town. “This place is the cafeteria for the LinkedIn set,” she laughed. So true ….


5. Edgar Bronfman Jr..

6. David Corvo

7. Carl Spielvogel

8. Linda Janklow, who was scribbling furiously while awaiting the arrival of her lunch date.

9. Public relations princess Susan Magrino

11. Lynn Goldberg

12. My pal producer Francine LeFrak, who was nice enough to introduce me to Crystle Stewart, Miss USA, and Shawn McClain, business development manager of the Miss Universe Organization. The stunning Crystle, who hails from Texas but is living in Gotham during her reign, chatted with me about her ‘platform’ (All beauty queens champion a cause near and dear to their hearts during their time as title holders, in case you were wondering). Crystle has wisely chosen to work on spreading awareness for breast and ovarian cancer. I suggested she meet the tireless Evelyn Lauder, who happened to be seated directly behind her, as it would be difficult to find anyone who has done more to champion all kinds of women’s health issues. It was Evelyn, along with the editors of Self, way back when that created the now-ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign.

14. Sara Moss and Evelyn Lauder, who received big hellos from everyone in the dining room.

16. Ed Victor with John Forte and Aarti Tandon

17. Doug Steiner and Jane Steiner of Steiner Studios

18. Nielsen’s Gerry Byrne with Fox 5′s (and fellow Marine) Greg Kelly.

19. Hearst’s publicity maven Deb Shriver looking totally mod in a Lisa Perry dress (which, coincidentally, was also being sported by Lynn Goldberg — Deb was wearing the sleeveless version while Lynn was all covered up) with her “mentor” Barbara Lee Diamondstein Spielvogel

20. Chris Taylor and Silda Wall Spitzer. I couldn’t help but wonder what Silda thought about the coverage Ashley Dupre received from sitting in the front row of Yigal Azrouel’s show at Fashion Week. Yikes! Word is the designer was none too pleased about her surprise appearance. All we know is that publicist Kelly Cutrone, who gave the former call girl the seat, is no longer working for the designer.

21. The early bird special: Twitter queen Bonnie Fuller, who has been regaling us with tales from Fashion Week practically every half hour, with Ari Bourkoff. Laurel Touby and I chatted with Bonnie before she sat down and asked her about her stylish ensemble. Here’s the full rundown: Tory Burch tote, orange Versace skirt (“I just felt like I needed some color”) and, she admitted, Easy Spirit pumps (“Because I have to run around.”) Bonnie told me she’ll be doing “insta” analysis of Oscar’s red carpet for The Huffington Post. Kate Winslet, you’ve been warned … Second seating: Pat Mitchell with Donna Karan and two unidentified black-clad fashionistas.

22. Brad Wechsler

23. Steve Abramson

24. mediabistro.com’s founder Laurel Touby with Mike Vorhaus, Metacafe’s Jack Rotherham and Polaris Venture Partners’ Larry Kramer, who told us he’s just been named to AMI’s board. Check out Laurel’s video of the lunch on FishbowlNY.

25. Parade‘s Ira Yoffe

26. Democratic booster Robert Zimmerman with a handsome young gent we would have loved to have met ….

27. Tivo’s Tom Rogers

28. Betsy Perry and her uncle, so we’re told…

29. Portfolio‘s Joanne Lipman (who arrived with a recent issue of the mag tucked under her arm) with MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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