Remember Dara Torres, the 41-year-old mom who won three silver medals swimming at last month’s Olympics? Click here to see her walking down the runway of Charles’s spring show this past Sunday. I love that Newsweek led the day’s fashion coverage with this – but how could they not? Dara turns out to be about the nicest, most positive, down-to-earth woman you’ll ever meet.

Dara Torres went for fashion gold on Sunday, when she modeled two looks in Charles Nolan’s utterly charming collection. Nolan’s show is always enjoyable, thanks in part to his commitment to the inclusion of “real” people along with models on the runway. This season’s batch included a holistic healer, a grandmother, a ferry boat captain, and oh yeah, a 12-time Olympic medalist.

His inspiration was sportswear of the 1920s, with fanciful — yet eminently wearable — dropped-waist dresses, beautifully tailored topcoats, and slouchy, cropped chinos, in rich shades of olive, khaki, cream and navy, with flashes of intense turquoise and neon green for good measure.

Nolan’s line is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beachwood Place. One of the many things I like about his collection from season to season is its agelessness. Through impeccable cut and a light hand with fabrics, Nolan’s clothes look equally at home on models who range in age from 15 to 70-something.

Talk about Olympic caliber.

☞ Meanwhile, Charles’s Dalmatian-like nose and quick wit saved the day last night, in a totally unrelated incident (but since I’m bragging). We were walking on West 56th Street when Charles said he smelled something burning. I smelled it, too, once he mentioned it, but made no connection between smelling it and doing anything about it. This is New York. All kinds of smells. And fires are handled on the 11 o’clock news, by firefighters – how did this concern us?

Even so, Charles traced the smell to a pile of black plastic garbage bags outside a restaurant, more or less neatly placed next to a tower of cardboard recyclables, all awaiting the night’s garbage pickup. Someone had apparently tossed a still-lit cigarette butt onto the pile of garbage bags, and it had apparently melted through to some now-smoldering rags inside.

I was slow to grasp the potential problem (’12-alarm fire consumes midtown block; film at eleven’), but Charles ripped open the bag and flung himself atop the blaze – well, he carefully extracted the smoldering rag and stomped it out – and it was, in all, a complete non-event. But it was interesting . . . because as we were walking away, and I finally focused on the situation, I realized that within a few minutes, the smolder would likely have become a blaze, igniting the adjacent tower of cardboard, which in turn could have ignited the wooden scaffolding overhead, which in turn could have led to live coverage on Eyewitness News.


Apologies to those who saw yesterday’s link to this evening’s event for Barack Obama with Sarah Jessica Parker – by noon, the last of 400 tickets was gone.


Buy it for everyone you know – lest we make another colossal error and choose the wrong man.


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