Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 13 News List

Planet Pop

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Kevin Federline, aka K-Fed and Mr. Britney Spears, is more than just a rapper, dancer and famous father.

He's also a fashion model.

Federline has been tapped again to be the face of Five Star Vintage clothing, company spokesman Kenneth Loo said last week. Federline -- who one US newspaper noted is "known for displaying the tawdry, laconic demeanor of a pimp on weed" -- made his modeling debut with the company over the summer. His latest ads, showcasing the company's holiday line, will begin appearing next month.

The company chose Britney's boy again because of his "renegade style," Loo said, and because it nearly sold out of each outfit Federline modeled.

"He is a maverick, making his own choices when it comes to his music, his fashion and his celebrity," Loo said. "He is constantly in the public eye, which makes him a good spokesman for our line."

The ads show Federline wearing sunglasses, a white tank top and two different jackets from the company's holiday line.

Elsewhere in fashion, Italian designer Giorgio Armani blamed stylists and the media for the fashion industry's obsession with ultra-thin women.

In London last week to host a music and fashion extravaganza with stars Beyonce, 50 Cent and Bono, Armani said no girl needed to be anorexic to be fashionable.

A debate about models' weight has shaken the fashion world in recent days since Madrid banned excessively thin women from its catwalks after accusations their appearance may cause eating disorders in young women.

"I have never wanted to use girls that are too skinny. I prefer girls that show off my clothes in the best way," Armani told reporters after the show last week.

"Unfortunately though, the stylists and also the media have interfered and they now want models that are incredibly thin."

Armani, whose client list spans Hollywood to high finance, is a bellwether for the industry and the most powerful fashion insider yet to speak out on the weight debate.

"No one thinks that for a girl to be fashionable she needs to be anorexic, that she must not eat. I will only take on healthy girls," he said.

Also getting the red carpet treatment was a mature, modest and (nearly) scandal-free George Michael, who took the stage in his first solo concert in 15 years, singing his greatest hits to 18,000 fans packed into Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi arena.

The British pop icon kicked off his 25 Live European tour, which will touch down in 28 cities before Dec. 15, with a concert Saturday night that may well have been subtitled "the best of George Michael." With no new album to promote, the concert indulged an audience of mostly long-time fans with favorites like Faith, Father Figure and Too Funky, while also including newer hits.

The only envelope-pushing moment of the show came at the end of the first set, when Michael sang his 2002 controversial anti-Bush song Shoot the Dog. During the song, an enormous balloon depicting a cartoon-ish US President George W. Bush rose out of center stage, drawing whoops and yells from the crowd. But the real surprise came when Michael leaned down to unzip the balloon's trousers, and out popped a British bulldog draped with the Union Jack. The dog was stuck to the balloon's inflated crotch, wagging its tail.

In February 2005 Michael announced the end of his pop career to the international media, and the irony that less than two years later he's here back on the stage, singing all his pop standards once again, was not lost on him. The fans, however, aren't holding any grudges for what Michael has dubbed his "being such a tease." They clapped, cheered, swayed and sang their way through two-and-a-half-hours of ballads, covers and dance tunes.

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