LIV’S BEST MAN: For her very hushed wedding to rocker Royston Langdon last week, Liv Tyler turned to none other than her main man, Alexander McQueen, who has dressed Tyler for many a glamorous occasion lately. Before the star left for Barbados, where the wedding was held, McQueen sent seamstresses to New York to fit Tyler’s custom gown.
But while McQueen’s creation was lovely, to be sure, the ceremony itself was kept so low-key that no one can yet confirm whether the barefoot bride actually donned McQueen’s gown for her wedding march down the beach.
(For more on Liv, see Suzy, page 20.)
GUYS AND DOLLS: It looks like the Paris house of Guy Laroche and its designer of three seasons, Laetitia Hecht, will bid each other adieu. The house declined comment, but Hecht and Laroche are believed to be wrangling over terms of her dismissal. When Laroche hired Hecht, it also purchased the designer’s signature brand, which was phased out. Laroche has had difficulty finding the right designer since the 1998 departure of Alber Elbaz, who earned kudos for his feminine designs. Designers Ronald van der Kemp, Sophie Sitbon and Mei Zaio Zhou all preceded Hecht. Rech International, managed by the Geneva-based private equity firm Leman Capital, purchased Laroche from French pen and razor giant Bic two years ago.
ELECTRIFYING SPEECH: Sherron Watkins, Enron whistle-blower and one of Time magazine’s persons of the year for 2002, sounded off about corporate corruption Wednesday night while plugging her new book, “Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron,” at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Unlike most of the students in the crowd, who looked like they were lobbying for National Denim Day, Watkins turned out in brown wool pants and a sweater set. She postulated that the trouble really began in the Oval Office. “Bill Clinton started this with what he defined as sexual relations. That told everyone in this country, ‘Your real actions don’t matter. It’s how you define them.” But she wasn’t towing party lines. Earlier in her speech, she lambasted Congress for not going after Enron executives more aggressively from the get-go, speculating on the reason: that they were big campaign contributors.
IF THE SHOE FITS: Charles Jourdan, soon to unveil its first complete collection by designer Patrick Cox, isn’t the only French shoe firm kicking up its heels with new creative talent. Up-and-coming footwear designer Michel Vivien confirmed he is in talks to head the design studio at Robert Clergerie. Meanwhile, over at Stephane Kélian, the house is said to be negotiating to bring Alain Tondowski on board as its new creative director. Kélian was purchased last year by upstart luxury conglomerate France Luxury Group, owned by Alain Dumenil.
COMING TO AMERICA: Ungaro’s coming to Los Angeles for the house’s first big Hollywood fashion show next week —and Barneys New York is rolling out the red carpet. Howard Socol, Barneys’ chief, and its creative director, Simon Doonan, will host a dinner for Ungaro designer Giambattista Valli, who’s never been to L.A., at the Beverly Hills store’s Barney Greengrass restaurant next Wednesday. Expected guests include Anjelica Huston and Robert Graham, Dennis and Victoria Hopper, Eric and Lisa Eisner, Liz Goldwyn, Ridley Scott, Arianne Phillips, Cameron Silver, Jamie and Steve Tisch, Tracee Ellis Ross, Shiva Rose McDermott, Jacqui and Peter Getty and Kelly Lynch. Of course, the windows will bear Doonan’s touch for the occasion. On Thursday, about 350 guests will witness Ungaro’s debut American runway show, which will benefit the Rape Treatment Fund, at the Santa Monica home of Heather Thomas and Skip Brittenham. A trunk show follows next Friday at Barneys.
AND THE WINNER IS: Sotheby’s scored a coup Thursday when the executors of Bill Blass’ estate signed with the auction house, which will preside over the sale of the contents of the late designer’s apartment and Connecticut estate, which is under contract for sale. The auction is scheduled for October. Among the more anticipated objets to hit the block will be Blass’ collection of antique English furniture.
LEATHER MAN: Mario Batali and Coach are bedfellows in more way than one. Not only is the top chef married to Susi Cahn, daughter of Coach Leatherware founders Miles and Lillian Cahn, but Coach’s Reed Krakoff has designed exclusive embossed mahogany leather menus, wine lists and check holders for Batali’s restaurant Babbo that will appear on tabletops this spring.
It isn’t the first time Batali has relied on Coach products, either. The only American cheese he incorporates into his menu is Coach Farm goat cheese, straight from the Hudson Valley dairy farm the Cahns also founded.