MUGLER MOVES: A flurry of speculation on both sides of the Atlantic indicates that parent Clarins is in the process of restructuring and jiggling the management of its troubled Thierry Mugler Fashion and Fragrance division. The talk was stirred up by a report on the wire service Agence France Presse. No Clarins or Mugler executives could be reached for comment at press time.
This story first appeared in the December 18, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
DIET RIOT: It looks like thin is already in. Sizing up the 100 or so women and men who lined up Tuesday at Galeries Lafayette in Paris to have Karl Lagerfeld autograph his diet book “3D,” it was clear most came for stargazing — not low-cal recipes. “I’m just dying to meet him,” enthused Pierrette Reste, a slight woman who, with her daughter Isabelle, a budding fashion designer, traveled from the southwestern city of Toulouse. Although in no need of dieting herself, Reste gave Lagerfeld’s pencil-slim look a stamp of approval. “It suits him,” she said. “He looks younger.” Lagerfeld famously shed more than 90 pounds in 13 months with guidance from French physician Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret, the book’s co-author. More than 80,000 copies have already sold in France. Brigitte Bossu, a German national who lives in France, said the book impressed her, too. “I’m from Hamburg, like Karl,” she said. “All of the food he ate when he was young brought back memories of my childhood.” But while waiting in line, some Parisians commented that Lagerfeld could afford to fatten up a bit. “I wonder if he hasn’t gone a little overboard,” mused Elaine Ferrand. “Elegance doesn’t always mean youth,” Muriel Degianni agreed. “I liked his look better before,” she said. “He looked more distinguished. But he’s still amazing.”
ANOTHER SONG: Opera plans to form a second investment fund earlier next year, WWD has learned. Bulgari, which already has a 12 percent stake in Opera, will also have a stake in the new fund. Sources close to the companies said the new fund, which will start with capital of about $300 million, expects to draw a larger number of foreign investments, especially French, than the original fund, with the goal to invest in brands that represent the Italian lifestyle.
THE COST OF GUEST RELATIONS: Washington’s Four Seasons Hotel picked up the tab recently to keep its guests happy during the Kennedy Center Honors Gala. While tending to the needs of honorees Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Simon, the hotel inadvertently lost a garment bag including ball gowns for three nights of partying belonging to Marvin Hamlisch’s wife, Terre Blair. “They gave my bag to the wrong person and now it’s in New York,” said Blair who showed up at the white tie Symphony Ball, hosted by socialite Mary Ourisman, in a new, off the rack, low cut, black velvet Ralph Lauren gown. “The Four Seasons bought me this dress, new shoes and even my jewelry,” said Blair, noting that a first call to Neiman Marcus flopped. “They had nothing left because everyone had bought all their gowns for the Honors gala. So we found this at the Ralph Lauren shop.”
“It was an expensive mistake,’’ said one Four Seasons executive, putting the price tag at slightly under $10,000. The garment bag made it back to D.C. in time for the last two balls. “When they treat you like that, you can’t be upset,” Blair said.
ROUGH RYDER: Ted Hartley, RKO Pictures chairman and ceo, didn’t sound too hopeful about the cinematic future of convicted shoplifter Winona Ryder, chatting at a recent Kennedy Center Honors Gala luncheon. “She goes from being an actress to being a celebrity like Robert Downey Jr.,’’ he said, giving his wife, Dina Merrill, RKO’s vice chairman, something to frown about.
“I don’t agree with that,’’ said the former actress. “You don’t want to hire her because she’s a shoplifter, but because she’s a good actress.’’
Hartley, who is busy with remakes of “Shade,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Melanie Griffith, Hitchcock’s 1941 thriller “Suspicion” and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,” took another approach. “The joke going around Hollywood,” he quipped, “is to look out when you have Winona on the set, that she doesn’t steal the coffee pot.”
So would they hire Ryder for any of their upcoming remakes? On this, the couple seemed to agree, shaking their heads in the negative. “Everyone is waiting to see who makes the first move,” Hartley said.
Glenn Close also offered words of concern for Ryder the next night at the State Department dinner. “Poor Winona. It’s like what happened to Robert Downey Jr. I just hope she finds what she needs to make her feel good about herself,” Close said.