CIAO, OSCAR: He mamboed with Gwyneth, cha-chaed with Anna and rumbaed with Salma downtown Tuesday night, then got up and did his runway show for the ladies Wednesday. What next? By Thursday afternoon, Oscar de la Renta had split New York and was already sailing off the Italian coast on Gianni Agnelli’s yacht.
UNITE TO MAKE HAY AT STELLA’S: The fashion herd is in for something of a surprise at tonight’s opening party for Stella McCartney’s store on West 14th Street. About 10 head of cattle — or at least 10 human protesters dressed as cows — from an organization calling itself “Animals for the Ethical Treatment of People” are expected to show up outside the shop to protest the treatment of workers at subsidiaries of French conglomerate Pinault Printemps-Redoute, which owns a majority stake in Gucci, which in turn owns half of McCartney’s company.
AETP is a fictitious alliance dreamed up by the folks at UNITE, who are hoping to catch the attention of the vegetarian McCartney, a long-time supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“Stella, you’ve done a great job on protecting animal rights. Will you do the same for human rights?” asked Mary Kay Devine, a field director with the union, which has been fighting to organize the Indianapolis distribution center of PPR-owned Brylane. “Stella McCartney is one of the newest Gucci designers. Our ongoing hope is that Gucci will use its power and influence within PPR to end the use of sweatshop labor.”
While the cow protest will likely catch some moo-vers and shakers off guard, the question remains as to how safe a bovine herd will be outside the store, which is, after all, in New York’s Meatpacking district.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Sandra Bullock showed up at Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein this week and many an astute fashion observer noted that she’s looking particularly radiant. “You would, too, if you were dating a 21-year-old,” said one obviously jaded fashionista.
BILL’S WILL: Gloria Vanderbilt is among the recipients of personal bequests from Bill Blass, according to the late designer’s will. Blass bequeathed her $250,000 and the same amount for Michael McMannus; John Richardson; Steven Kaufman; Paul Ambler; Helen O’Hagan and Melissa Bancroft, and three god-children, Jenny, John and Thomas Bancroft.
Three individuals were each bequeathed $500,000: friend Robin Richardson, niece Barbara Camp and nephew William Camp. Thomas H. Fallon, a friend and Blass’ right-hand man for decades at the company, was left $100,000. Three employees — his butler Al McGloin, Ermalinda Riordan and Ruth Vincent — were each left $50,000, and a former chauffeur, Charles Seigel, will receive $25,000. McGloin inherited Barnaby, Blass’ 12-year-old retriever, and received an additional $50,000 for the dog’s care.
The designer was generous to his favorite charities and institutions, leaving instructions that the remainder of his $67 million estate be divided equally between The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Society of New York Hospital Fund Inc., specifically for the use of its AIDS Care Center.
PUPPY LOVE: Natalie Portman brought the perfect companion to Zac Posen’s show Thursday (her first fashion show): her tiny terrier, Charlie, who cuddled in her lap. “Someone told me the music might be too loud for my dog,” she said, sitting in the front row with Julianne Moore, Barbara Bush, Ellen Barkin and Jamie King. “I just hope he doesn’t wake up!” Of all the looks that paraded down Posen’s runway, Portman went mad for his green shimmering fairy dress. Perhaps for the next “Star Wars” premiere in May?
MID-WEEK UPDATE: For those who have struggled with the schedule crunch this week, relief is on the way. Stan Herman, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said Thursday that next September, things in New York will return to the normal Sunday-through-Friday fashion week.
“The shows are too bunched up,” Herman said at the tents. “Yesterday, I had two shows at the same time [3 p.m.], both by good friends of mine — John Varvatos and Tracy Reese — and I had to choose one. I went to John Varvatos, but I felt terrible not to go to Tracy’s show.” Next year’s dates have yet to be set, but Sept. 7-12 or 14-19 would be the likely scenarios.
WHAT WOULD MADONNA DO?: In response to the “Imitation of Heatherette” hoax of earlier this week, co-designer Richie Rich asked, “What would Madonna do?” referring to The Material Girl’s penchant for finding herself in the center of media storms. “We’re relatively new to fashion and have a tight group of friends who help us with the collection,” Rich said. “They would all attest that we’re nice guys. So if these people want to be ‘Imitation of Heatherette’ that’s great. We support the arts.” Friend and muse Amanda LaPour agreed. “They’re just jealous,” she purred. As for the impostor’s claim that Rich somehow manages to pay for designer clothes but not his bills, Rich retorted with a grin, “I’m lucky — I get it all for free.”
TOUCHING UP: It’s getting so that the girls in the front row have to look as good — or better — than those on the catwalk. Take Alicia Silverstone, front and center at Anne Klein Thursday morning: before venturing to her seat, she snuck backstage to be powdered and primped by MAC’s makeup crew.
DRIVE, SHE SAID: Tag Heuer is putting the pedal to the metal in its quest to broaden its appeal to women. Next Friday, the Swiss watch firm, owned by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will put 21-year-old American race-car driver Sarah Fisher behind the wheel of a Formula One car for a demonstration run. Fisher, who competes on the U.S. stockcar circuit, will become the first woman in 10 years to pilot a Formula One car.
THAT GIRL, THAT BAG: Marisa Berenson made a Pucci handbag famous by slinging three of them over her shoulder in a memorable photo by Bert Stern that ran in Vogue in 1965. In December, the Florentine house plans to reissue the $570 velvet number, having had strong demand for reissued styles favored by Marilyn Monroe from the Fifties and Sixties.
SAY CHEESE: Mario Testino can’t help attracting A-list crowds. After a party in London, where a mix of Buckingham Palace-meets-Hollywood celebs feted his “Portraits” exhibition, the Peruvian-born photographer is poised to stir things up in Milan as well, where his jumbo-sized photos will be on display at the Palazzo Reale Wednesday through Oct. 27.
Scheduled to attend an opening-eve gala Tuesday are Queen Rania of Jordan, Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, Donna Karan, Naomi Campbell, Michel Comte and Princess Alessandra Borghese.
STARING TRUSSARDI: After years of being the face of Trussardi Sport and Trussardi Jeans ad campaigns, Gaia Trussardi is now turning to the big screen. The youngest daughter of the Trussardi family will debut in “Square of the Five Moons.” The film, in which Trussardi plays an Italian terrorist, follows the movements and motivations behind the Red Brigade, a Seventies European terrorist organization. Directed by Renzo Martinelli and also starring Donald Sutherland, the film is set to come out next spring.
DISASTER AVERTED: It probably should have occurred to someone at the Behnaz Sarafpour show that the body makeup used on the girls might just rub off on the clothes. But the dressers at the show found a quick fix for the problem: MAC’s makeup remover, which removed the stains without ruining the clothes.
DOWNHILL RACER: Willy Bogner, president of the skiwear company that bears his name, will help make German history. In honor of German Reunification Day Oct. 3, he will draw the curtains, so to speak, on the renovated Berlin Brandenburg Gate, which for 40 years symbolized the division of East and West Germany and is now the symbol of a united Germany. Bill Clinton, German chancellor Gerhard Schroder and president Johannes Rau are expected to be on hand.
Bogner will be lowered on a trapeze from a blimp to unzip the gigantic B-zipper on the pillowy Christo-type wrapping around the structure. The 60-year-old former Olympic skier, who has made 36 movies about snow sports and has worked on James Bond films, will wear a microphone and helmet with a video camera.