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Rehabbed Miss USA Is Too Healthy For The Catwalk

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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PERFECT STRANGERS Shoji, Conner Designer Tadashi Shoji on Sunday tackled the age-old conundrum: What the hell is the point of Miss U.S.A.? Answer: publicity, duh.

It's hard enough to get the jaded fashion community out of bed on the weekend, when smaller designers tend to show their wares and the "big editors" are firmly planted at Sant Ambroeus brunches declaring how "over it" they already are. The Sunday morning slot is an especially taxing PR dilemma, and it doesn't help when the designer at hand specializes in low-wattage evening wear. (Shoji's mid-priced, conservative creations don't exactly scream "editorial.")

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Although Shoji, the official designer for the Miss U.S.A., Miss Teen U.S.A., and Miss Universe competitions, wasn't expecting Vogue empress Anna Wintour to show up, he was able to get the gossip reporters out from under the covers with the promise that Miss U.S.A. Tara Conner and her face-sucking li'l sis, Miss Teen U.S.A. Katie Blair, would be "closing" his show.

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