BETSEY GOES MOTEL: Being the nice mom she is, Betsey Johnson has given her Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment to her daughter Lulu and will now stay in swanky boutique hotels around Manhattan for the two or three days she’s in the city.
This story first appeared in the August 23, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For now, she’s chosen 60 Thompson St., because she “loves the area, it’s close to NoLIta and her favorite shops” and she likes the vibe on the hotel’s rooftop. “I thought I’d never stay in a modern place, but it’s minimal and modern and sleek, which is a nice relief from my house which is filled with memories and claustrophobic,” said Johnson from her country home in the Hamptons, where she works most of the week.
The designer, who celebrated her 60th birthday this month, said, “I don’t like the idea of getting older and condensing, and I think hotels keep you alive. I just love people watching and running into people and it makes me feel like I am still a New Yorker.”
As far as her penthouse, Johnson is pretty sure Lulu will soon be redecorating. “Lulu hates my lavender and yellow walls; it’s an unreal color. She’s going for hardwood floors and off-white walls, and the glass area upstairs will be her gymnasium. She’s much more social than me, and always has dinner parties. I’d love to see the place used more.”
Meanwhile, Johnson is looking forward to being able to pick and choose her hotels. “Should I do east side, west side? Well, I’ve always wanted to stay here or there. And there’s nothing wrong with maid service and traveling with an extra shirt. I don’t need more clothes. Go check in a hotel.”
GEM, SET AND MATCH: Tennis fans will get some extra sparkle during the U.S. Open tournament which starts on Monday. Serena Williams is slated to pay a visit to Harry Winston on Fifth Avenue to pick up her new Twelve to Twilight diamond tennis bracelet this afternoon. The number-one seeded player is planning to wear the $29,000 bracelet, with a total of nine carats of colorless diamonds set in platinum, on and off the court during the U.S. Open.
Unlike a traditional tennis bracelet — a term coined when Chris Everett’s diamond row bracelet fell to the ground during a match at the U.S. Open — Winston’s has a floral motif, and the jeweler added an extra safety clasp to make sure the flexible and fluid piece will be secure during Williams’ powerful serve. Let’s hope Open security is as tight.
Meanwhile, the Fresh Air fund also arranged for Williams to meet three young tennis fans — Naomi and Shadyea Adams, 10 and 11 respectively, and Victoria Ortiz, 10 — and hopefully give them some ace advice at the boutique.
FATAL ATTRACTION: Equity, the British actors’ union, has decided enough is enough with Americans treading the boards in London. The group has asked for a meeting with the Royal National Theatre — which operates three state-subsidized theaters in London — to discuss the issue.
Americans — including Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Matt Damon, Summer Phoenix and Kyle MacLachlan — have been flocking to London over the past year, but what really raised Equity’s hackles was news that Glenn Close would play the lead in an upcoming production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre.
Equity shouldn’t get its hopes up, though. A spokeswoman for the Royal National Theatre said: “London actors and London as a whole love to watch American actors.” Referring to the cast of “Streetcar,” she said: “They were the best actors for the role, and we followed all the correct procedures.”
Meanwhile, Texan Jerry Hall will return to the London stage — after a stint as Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” — to play a starlet reunited with her two ex-husbands on a park bench. “Benchmark,” directed by Michael Rudman, opens on Sept. 11 at the New End Theatre in Hampstead.
MUSIC AND MAGS: Levi’s is linking up with The Fader Magazine to host a post-MTV Video Music Awards party Thursday at Manhattan’s Milk Studios entitled “Lowlife,” a pun on the current Levi’s “Dangerously Low” campaign. The invite-only event will feature performances by The Strokes, Mos Def, and The Realistics, as well as DJ sets by Arthur Baker, Larry Tee, Rich Medina, Metro Area, Stretch Armstrong, DJ Language, Greg Poole and Max Glazer.