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''House of Style'' hunts for a new Cindy Crawford

”House of Style” hunts for a new Cindy Crawford — Kate Moss passed on the offer, and now Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow fight for the star-making job

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”House of Style” hunts for a new Cindy Crawford

Now that MTV’s Venus-with-a-mole Cindy Crawford has moved out of her House of Style, the fashion world’s wondering who will fill her towering heels. Not that there is any shortage of high-cheekboned beauties clamoring to replace her. Although superwaif Kate Moss was offered the job, she balked at making a three-year commitment. Meanwhile, everyone from former Mick Jagger fling Carla Bruni and squeaky-voiced Linda Evangelista to up-and-comers Michele Hicks and Kirsty Hume has auditioned to be the next Style maven, a job that helped catapult Crawford into her rarefied status as the industry’s highest-paid supermodel.

According to one MTV source, models Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow are vying for the lead. ”They are not the only people being considered,” insists Alisa Bellettini, House of Style‘s executive producer. ”We’re taking our time to make the right choice.”

At first glance, the two best friends — Harlow was Valletta’s maid of honor last year — look mighty attractive. Harlow, a 21-year-old Canadian, was named female model of the year at VH1’s Fashion & Music Awards last month. Meanwhile Valletta, 21, who rode in from Oklahoma on the waif trend five years ago, ascended to modeldom’s top ranks as the centerpiece of Gucci’s highly visible 1995 ad campaign.

But despite being the current darlings of the fashion world, neither Valletta nor Harlow has Crawford’s widespread guy appeal, an important concern for a show whose audience is 50 percent male. Bellettini is counting on House, now in its seventh season, to create that recognition for its new tenant. ”We’re looking for somebody who is not quite as glamorous as Cindy, because fashion isn’t as glamorous as it was. Looks are more casual,” says Bellettini, who also plans to showcase more alternative rock on the show this season. ”We’d just be shooting ourselves in the foot if we tried to replace Cindy with a fake Cindy.”