MURPHY’S LAIR: Art usually imitates life, but at Henri Bendel it’s the other way around — at least this week. On Thursday morning, actress Brittany Murphy is stopping by the store to promote her film, “Uptown Girls,” and the store’s tie-in window. In the flick, the diminutive Murphy plays an heiress who loses her fortune and while down on her luck takes a job in Bendel’s imaginary home department. While they were shooting scenes at the store in the middle of the night, the inexhaustible Murphy asked if she could do some shopping — and, of course, Bendel’s obliged, giving new meaning to the term nightcap.
THE DREAM TEAM: Following earlier word that Donna Karan will be the headline honoree at the Fashion Group International’s 20th anniversary Night of Stars on Oct. 30, the organization has lined up a veritable constellation of other award winners. Dolce & Gabbana, Philip Treacy, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dries Van Noten are among the designers being honored this year, and all are expected to attend the event at Cipriani 42nd Street.
Also being honored, under the theme of “Dreamweavers: Those Who Inspire,” are architect Calvin Tsao, MAC president John Demsey and Stanislas de Quercize, president and chief executive officer of Cartier in the U.S.
LILLIAN DOES WAL-MART: Hometown Threads LLC, a franchiser with in-store shops located predominantly in Wal-Mart SuperCenters, signed an agreement with the Lillian Vernon Corp. to bring the company’s products, which include embroidered tote bags, sports bags, bath towels, traveling bags for girls and heart-shaped pillows, to the world’s largest retailer. David Hochberg, spokesman for Lillian Vernon, which was founded by his mother, could barely contain his excitement about getting the company’s foot in the Wal-Mart door. “It’s a small test, but a very exciting test,” he said of the agreement, which places Vernon’s merchandise in Hometown shops in 18 Wal-Mart units.
“The potential is tremendous for our company,” Hochberg said. “We’re hopeful that this will build into a more extensive relationship. Hometown Threads already has a strong relationship with Wal-Mart so it made sense for us to use the inroads they already had.”
Hochberg said there will be more licensing news from Lillian Vernon Corp., in the near future, but declined to be more specific.
Hometown president Howard Arnberg said the company, which custom embroiders caps, shirts, pillows and towels, approached Lillian Vernon after customers began asking for Vernon products.
LE LUNCH HOUR: The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship was literally rockin’ Tuesday afternoon during a “Le Divorce” promotion in the contemporary department on the fifth floor. As a Blink 102.7 DJ blasted music throughout the department, more than 60 women lined up to receive free Chanel makeovers. The first 100 people who arrived at noon received Chanel lipsticks, a “Le Divorce” keychain and magnet, and a 10 percent coupon off the Oasis Spa. The promotion also included a contest for prizes such as $100 electronic giftcards, Joie apparel and tickets to Aida, and featured a big drawing on Saks.com for a grand prize trip for two to Paris. And if the music was giving customers a headache, there were chairs strategically placed all over the selling floor for free back massages.