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Fashionably frozen

The annual back-slapping event for the US fashion industry, the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, took place in a sub-zero New York last week. Imagine an outside tent with little heating and the most fashionable people in the US all vying for media attention in skimpy dresses and lightweight suits. Teeth could be heard chattering between courses, while starlets huddled underneath their gallant boyfriends' jackets. The designer Richard Tyler got some light relief when a waiter poured hot gravy all over him. It was so cold that a reporter from Fox went into Central Park with a bucket of hot water and dipped a T-shirt into it. Within seconds it had frozen solid.

The best newcomer award went to Marie-Anne Oudejans for her Tocca line; Ralph Lauren won for best womenswear designer, and Tommy Hilfiger, who is massive across the pond, won the award for menswear. Lauren Bacall received the lifetime of style award. The evening attracted a clutch of supermodels - including Helena Christiansen, pictured right - actors and fashion insiders, but the highlight must have been the end, when it was time to climb back into the heated limos and head home for a cup of cocoa.

Royally awful

Last week the Princess of Wales was spotted in the Versus department of Harvey Nichols trying on its stretch jeans. Versus, the younger, funkier line designed by Versace's sister Donatella, has been associated with the likes of 12-year-old Ivanka Trump, who sat on her daddy Donald's knee last season at the New York show, and Marisa Tomei, but never with British royalty. In fact, Versace brought the Versus show to New York last season in an attempt to capture the Miami set. Perhaps he should think of bringing his show to London and the front row could be populated by the young Brit aristos who have been joining the ranks recently. Can you imagine Sophie Rhys-Jones in an acid-bright striped shirt-dress? I can. Oh, and what did Diana buy? A pair of pale blue stretch jeans with gold monkeys all over them - a snip at pounds 170.

Bit of a bruiser

Are bruises the new hip thing? They are according to i-D magazine, whose March cover features Kristen McMenamy looking like a battered wife. McMenamy, the strangely beautiful supermodel, has been photographed by Juergen Teller standing with her fists clenched and sporting a huge bruise across one shoulder. What this image is trying to project is beyond everyone I have spoken to at this newspaper: "disgusting" seems to be the general opinion. The bruising looks like a bad joke gone very, very wrong. It is not until you reach the inside back page of the magazine that you find out the cause of this bruising - apparently "it was only a fashion accident". More like a fashion disaster.

Swimming suit

Liza Bruce, the UK-based American womenswear designer, went into voluntary liquidation with debts of pounds 250,000 last week. She has been hit by a serious of unlucky breaks since filing an alleged infringement of copyright suit against Marks & Spencer - Bruce claims the company copied one of her exclusive swimwear fabrics. The case, which has cost her pounds 30,000 so far, is expected to go to court later this year. In addition, Bruce's biggest customer, Barneys (New York's equivalent of Harvey Nichols), has gone bankrupt and owes the designer $40,000-50,000 (pounds 27,000-34,000).

Nicholas Barker, Bruce's business partner and husband, told Women's Wear Daily that the M&S case "has been very debilitating; we took our eye off the ball a bit, and the rest of the business suffered." WWD says Bruce is thinking of moving her business to New York after "feeling betrayed by the whole aspect of working in the UK."

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