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Originally published Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Life at the end of the "Runway"

"I love to eat," says Mychael Knight, a former contestant on Bravo's "Project Runway," and so I have brought him to Etta's for grilled scallops...

Seattle Times columnist

"I love to eat," says Mychael Knight, a former contestant on Bravo's "Project Runway," and so I have brought him to Etta's for grilled scallops and crab cakes. It is the night after Valentine's Day, and Mychael — yes, he spells it with a "y" now — is talking about his favorite show, "Iron Chef," and how someone always tries to make ice cream from things like beets or broccoli.

The "Project Runway" fan favorite was in town to promote a line of T-shirts he designed for Starbucks called "My Starbucks" (available free at www.starbucks.com through Wednesday). Appropriately, when we met, he was dressed in Starbucks green, which he claims was a coincidence — green is his favorite color. He travels with diamonds in his ears and no entourage. The Hotel Monaco provided a goldfish named Will to keep him company in his room; later that evening, two separate groups of fans sent drinks to his table at Marjorie.

"I really like this city," said Mychael, who lives in Atlanta. "It is much more metropolitan than I thought it would be, but it feels really tight-knit. I can definitely tell it's a community."

Since "Project Runway," Mychael has designed a spring/summer collection (www.mychaelknight.com) and is working on a line of jewelry tentatively called Stars by Knight. He will appear on an episode of BET's "Rip the Runway" and is planning a Mother's Day promotion with Macy's that includes his mom, Pamela.

But tonight, he'll be doing what most of us are doing — sitting on the couch and playing fashion police during the Academy Awards.

"This is the time of year when I'm glued to the TV," he said. "I cook a good dinner, and E! is on the television. I love to see who's on the red carpet." ...

Some ladies who lunch came together for what was called a "Women of Influence" luncheon at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel on Valentine's Day, hosted by hotel GM Dennis Clark and myCFO managing director Debra Doran. Aren't you just a little bit curious what happens at a Luncheon of Influence? I'm told the purpose of the quarterly gatherings is to engage in a casual dialogue about issues in the community; I frankly was more interested in who makes the guest list, as my own lunch dates tend toward little consequence.

Attendees were invited by Ken Hatch, described by his wife as a "connector of people," and included REI CEO Sally Jewell; philanthropist Jane Davis; Museum of Flight president Bonnie Dunbar; Deloitte managing partner Sheryl Hildebrand; Victoria Clipper CEO Meredith Tall; and Anne Farrell, who is retired from the Seattle Foundation.

"We talked briefly about the Viaduct, of course," says Cathi Hatch, founder of Zino Society. Excellent. Did they come up with a solution? "Our group was more interested in doing a tunnel-under-the-water kind of thing, which probably won't happen." Happily, the group indulged in a bit of girl talk over crab bisque and chocolate molten cake: "Meredith is an investor in Isabella Fiore," Cathi said, "so we did have to do a little handbag talking as well." ...

Maria Elena Holly was in town last week for the 5th Avenue Theatre opening of "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," a tribute to her late husband. I stopped by a small happy-hour reception in her honor at the Sorrento Hotel's Fireside Room last weekend, where we compared cocktail rings — hers was bigger, which did not surprise me, as I have heard everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. Mrs. Holly lives in Dallas. Also on display was an old Gibson guitar once owned and played by Buddy Holly, now in the possession of Sorrento Hotel owner Michael Malone. Later, Seattle musician Billy Joe Huels of the Dusty 45s serenaded Mrs. Holly.

Note: Do you attend public "Project Runway" viewing parties in Seattle? If so, please contact us at talktous@seattletimes.com.

Girl About Town appears every Sunday in Northwest Life. Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or psitt@seattletimes.com

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