Narciso Rodriguez, the designer of sexy minimalist frocks like Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's wedding dress, is one of the darlings of the close-knit fashion community. And it's a good thing: When Rodriguez faced bankruptcy last fall, instead of shuttering his studio he called Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Anna Wintour and Jessica Seinfeld.
The result was an acquisition, today, by the Liz Claiborne company, itself in dire straits due to a lack of cutting-edge clothing. The match made in heaven was, in fact, initially viewed with misgivings by both parties. But eventually Bill McComb, Claiborne's CEO, was able to woo Rodriguez with brown-bag lunches and assurance of full creative control.