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Sheer Insanity

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IN SOME WAYS IT WAS A MARRIAGE made in Seventh (Avenue) heaven as fashionistas flocked to New York City’s annual 7th on Sixth spring shows. The runways offered something old (Diane Von Furstenberg’s ’70s wrap dress in splashy ’90s prints), something new (Calvin Klein’s drawstring-hemmed skirts and dresses), something borrowed (Mark Eisen’s Helmut Lang-inspired layered shirts and skirts) and something blue (eye-poppingly sheer creations by everyone). “We wear underwear in Chicago,” said Broadway’s Bebe Neuwirth before the Badgley Mischka show, comparing her skimpy but unadorned stage attire with the week’s sexily scanty designs.

Not all the models dared to bare. “I’m 16, so I think it would look silly if I walked out there basically half-naked,” said Ivanka Trump, who strutted for Betsey Johnson, among others. But, cheered on by her parents, she remained undaunted. “This is what I love to do, what I want,” she told PEOPLE. “I’m starting to love my dream.”

For the throng, though, the week-long presentations were a logistical nightmare, with 32 designers showing at the downtown Chelsea Piers sports complex and more than 25 in other, far-flung Manhattan zip codes. But even chronic cab-lessness couldn’t keep the stars away. Sharon Stone, who swept in just before showtime with her sister Kelly for Zang Toi’s new line, “loved the evening sweaters,” the designer said. Susan Sarandon, a devotee of Todd Oldham (and decked out in the same tiger-stripe jacket she wore to last year’s event), turned up with companion Tim Robbins and current costar Julia Roberts after the two women spent the day in New Jersey filming an as yet untitled drama. Marc Jacobs lured Madonna (with Ingrid Casares in tow), while Claire Danes, in town to host Saturday Night Live, joined Mad About You’s Helen Hunt for Calvin Klein’s latest. “This is my first show of the week,” said Danes, 18.

Kathie Lee Gifford had her own premiere event. Looking nervous but pleased, the talk show host made her catwalk debut for Donald Deal in a black crepe sleeveless dress. “She’s a pro at everything,” observed husband Frank. Deal also sent Debbie Matenopoulos, one of the five hosts of ABC’s daytime chat show The View, down the runway in three gowns. “Why am I so scared?” said Matenopoulos, who had to tone down her bouncy stride for the show, which was attended by her co-stars. “Because I’m not a model! I’m a real person.”

Actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies), casually clad in denim overalls, could relate. After taking in Jill Stuart’s sensuous collection, she sighed: “Hard to imagine anyone coming down the street in them, y’know?”