MOROCCO A GO-GO: Christian Dior’s next boutique represents a homecoming of sorts for president and chief executive officer Sidney Toledano. On Dec. 10, the Casablanca-born executive is slated to unveil the first Dior boutique on the African continent in the mythic La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech. The 750-square-foot unit will sell women’s accessories and ready-to-wear. Toledano plans to host a dinner to celebrate the opening, which is bound to be star-studded: It falls during the fourth annual Marrakech film festival.
ON THE PROWL?: Now that his magic seems to be working at J. Crew — with same-store sales hitting strong double-digits — could Millard Drexler be looking to make an acquisition? Reports are that Drexler and his team are scouting to buy another brand, either to fold into J. Crew as a secondary line or to launch as a stand-alone format. Drexler could not be reached for comment and a J. Crew spokeswoman declined comment. But sources said the merchandise whiz is always eager to take on another challenge.
NO SAKS UP NORTH: Saks Fifth Avenue isn’t heading north of the border. “We have no plans,” company president Andrew Jennings told a Thursday breakfast meeting of the UJA Federation’s fashion division in Toronto, adding that the retailer has “a pretty grueling schedule for the next five years.”
Jennings is a former president of Toronto-based luxury retailer Holt Renfrew & Co. and Saks had reportedly scouted the Canadian market before deciding not to make the move. There had been speculation as recently as last spring among industry watchers that Saks was thinking of opening up a Saks Off 5th outlet in a new mall north of Toronto, but Jennings also nixed that idea. Saks recently revealed plans to shut nine of its underperforming stores and three Off 5th outlets as it focuses on upgrading its remaining stores. It is also launching a reported $150 million remodeling of its Manhattan flagship to be designed by Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry.
Meanwhile, Ali Larter and Famke Janssen helped Calvin Klein celebrate its CK relaunch at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York on Thursday. Larter was revved up going to India in January to film her next project “Marigold,” a romantic comedy about an actress who ends up in Bollywood films. “The girl is a live wire. I think only when you are in a foreign country can you break out of your own shell,” she said.
This story first appeared in the November 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
OLD HAT: When Barbara Walters took the podium at Thursday’s Citymeals-on-Wheels Power Lunch, she said it was only appropriate that the eldest start things off and then swiftly passed the mike to Gloria Steinem. Renée Zellweger, Paula Zahn, Kathleen Turner, and Anita Hill were at the Rainbow Room event to share the laugh.