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ON POINTE: Ballet flats are the must-have spring shoe, so no wonder Cole Haan is taking the style back to its roots. A leading benefactor of the American Ballet Theatre, the accessories company is introducing a limited edition collection inspired by and benefiting the ballet company. The selection includes a pale pink hobo handbag and flats, each adorned with a ballet shoe charm. Both are priced at $285 retail, and a portion of sales will be donated to the ABT. The line made its debut Monday night at the annual ABT Spring Gala at the Metropolitan Opera House. It will become available online and in 20 Cole Haan boutiques on Oct. 1.
NASTY AND NICE: Polly Mellen, Jack McCollough, Jonathan Adler, Lazaro Hernandez and Narciso Rodriguez are among the guests expected at Allure editor in chief Linda Wells‘ Upper East Side home tonight. Wells is hosting a private dinner in honor of Simon Doonan, whose new book, “Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints,” is excerpted in the May issue of Allure.
MULBERRY BRANCHES WEST: Mulberry, the English label known for its buckle and strap leather bags, paid its first visit with the collection to Los Angeles last week. The fall 2005 line was displayed throughout an airy suite at the Chateau Marmont hotel and viewed by the city’s well-known celebrity stylists, such as Deborah Waknin, who eyed a plum-colored silk dress for her client, Halle Berry. “I love L.A. and plan to keep making trips out here,” said Mulberry design director Stuart Veevers, who will also be designing Mulberry’s ready-to-wear line starting with the spring 2006 season. But it’s not all work and no play, especially while in the sunny state. Besides a string of sales meetings with Barneys New York, Ron Herman and Fred Segal Santa Monica, Veevers made time to hit some Los Angeles shops. His favorite places to go? Vintage spots, “The Paper Bag Princess, Decades and Lily et Cie. You know — the classics.”
DR. DE LA RENTA: Oscar de la Renta will pick up a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the City College of New York at its June 3 commencement ceremony. He is being honored for his professional success as well as for his humanitarian commitment, a CCNY spokesman said. De la Renta was one of the founders of Hogar del Nino, a school, day care and health care facility in the Dominican Republic that opened 21 years ago and currently helps some 1,400 children a year.
BAG PARTY: The opening party for Ghurka’s New York flagship last Wednesday night drew a slew of revelers, including co-hosts Candace Bushnell, Celerie Kemble, Mary Alice Stephenson and Amy Sacco. The preppy handbag firm opened the Madison Avenue boutique in February. Ghurka donated 10 percent of all sales from the night to Free Arts NYC, a nonprofit organization that creates programs for abused and at-risk children. Also on hand was Ricardo Antonio Chavira, whose character Carlos Solis was dumped last week on “Desperate Housewives,” although he checked out early to attend the People En Espanol Awards. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Anne V. demurely posed for photographers with a bag from the spring collection.
SEAMLESS ITALIANS: Vogue publisher Tom Florio was surprisingly pleased at the turnout for the Italian screening of “Seamless” at the Four Seasons Hotel last week in Milan. “I’m delighted to see you all here,” he said. “We weren’t quit sure if you were all showing up.” Donatella Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Anna Molinari, Ennio Capasa, Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Lawrence Steele were some of the guests who popped by for the cocktails/screening, hosted by Florio and Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani. The documentary, which tracks the daily working lives of three CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists, certainly resonated with the fashion set in Milan. “We should look at what they’ve done in the U.S. to support young design talent,” said Costume National creative director Capasa. “It’s embarrassing that myself, [Domenico] Dolce and [Stefano] Gabbana and Alessandro Dell’Acqua are still considered Italy’s ‘young’ designers.” Capasa, however, may soon be able to welcome in a new Italian guard. Vogue Italia is organizing a similar monetary award to highlight up-and-coming Italian designers. Sozzani, L’Uomo Vogue editor in chief Anna Dello Russo and Vogue European editor at large Hamish Bowles are among the eight-person jury weeding out contenders for the fund. Sozzani said three Italy-based finalists will stage runway shows during the Milan spring 2006 collections in September.