Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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Celebs on hand for handbag auction

Donato Sardella,, via P.S. Arts

Smile! Zooey Deschanel, left, donated a bag. Reese Witherspoon eyed bags and rings.

By Sharon Knolle, Special for USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES -- How hot is the P.S. Arts Bag Lunch?

So hot that Kerry Washington dashed over to the Bel-Air estate of hostess Colleen Bell on her 45-minute lunch break from doing press for I Think I Love My Wife, her film opening March 16.

"Next year, I think I'm going to hire a proxy and have them call me like they do at Sotheby's," she said with a laugh.

The event, now in its fourth year, is a benefit for P.S. Arts, which finances arts programs at public schools in Los Angeles.

Women bid, at up to 60% off retail, on bags by the likes of Puma, Cole Haan and Prive in a silent auction and enjoy a bag lunch on the lawn. Each bag, thanks to Lancome, comes stocked with goodies such as the new Color Fever lipgloss.

"I bought a really expensive Chanel camera bag last year," co-host Kristin Davis said. "I'd always wanted one, and I felt really good writing that check." She wasn't planning on bidding this year: "It's not really a shopping event for me. It's more a cupcake-eating, saying 'hello' kind of event." But later she got into a bidding war over a cream-colored, crocheted Ferragamo bag and ended up losing out.

Davis said the Sex and the City movie looks like a go again, and she's not accepting other job offers until it jells. "It's the most talked-about, non-greenlit movie ever. The second we're in preproduction, I'll be sending out invitations to the first day of shooting." She said writer/director Michael Patrick King has crafted the film's updated story lines.

Newly single Reese Witherspoon arrived with her mother, Betty. She checked out the handbags and some rings by Martin Katz, and sampled one of the mini-cupcakes Davis raved about.

Zooey Deschanel, who'll star as Dorothy in Sci Fi Channel's Tin Man miniseries expected in December, didn't buy a bag -- she brought one. The actress donated a silver Tod's bag. She had to ask her stylist, George Kotsiopoulos, one of the event's organizers, its price (around $1,500). "I don't know what anything costs," she confessed. "I usually shop vintage."

Joely Fisher, who just wrapped shooting Season 1 of Fox's 'Til Death, took a shine to a hot purple bag by Luella and was carrying it around so no one else would outbid her.

"I might start a fight over the bag. I'm willing to do it, I'll throwdown," she joked. "Whatever price I need to pay for a bag today, I'm going to buy one. And hopefully, lots of children will be able to continue to do art and music and drama because of it."

Posted March 7, 2007


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