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PRADA EXIT?: There appears to be another high-level departure at a luxury group — and, no, it isn’t Gucci. Reports swirled around Milan late Thursday that Riccardo Stilli, Prada’s longtime group chief financial officer, is heading for the door. Stilli declined comment, while Prada executives could not be reached for comment. Stilli’s departure comes as Prada continues to pay down its debt and to prepare for its long-delayed initial public offering. If he does go, it would be the second exit of a senior executive of a luxury group in a week. As noted, Giacomo Santucci was “terminated” on Wednesday as chief executive officer of Gucci by its parent, Pinault-Printemps-Redoute.
BENVENUTO EDMUNDO: It appears Edmundo Castillo will start consulting for Sergio Rossi, the footwear company under the Gucci Group umbrella. According to a source close to the accessories designer, Castillo is at the Sergio Rossi headquarters, in the Marche region, to finalize a contract for a creative collaboration. Rossi himself will continue to be creative director.
SIGHTSEEING: Tourists soaking up the splendor of Place Vendôme in Paris encountered an extra attraction on Thursday: Karl Lagerfeld. The designer was there with his entourage shooting the spring 2005 Chanel campaign with model Daria Werbowy — along with dozens of curious onlookers. Lagerfeld said he was then moving on to other locations where there are Chanel boutiques, including Avenue Montaigne and Faubourg Saint-Honore. And while at first glance it might seem the advertising theme is a departure from Lagerfeld’s runway show, a paparazzi frenzy complete with supermodels and Nicole Kidman, Amanda Harlech begged to differ. Watching Werbowy pose with the Ritz Hotel and a cloud-flecked blue sky in the background, she observed: “Paris is the red carpet.”
SCHRAGER’S NEW DIGS: Ian Schrager is taking a bigger bite out of Manhattan with three new commercial and residential projects. In January 2006, he plans to open a hotel and adjoining residential apartments on Gramercy Park North. The hotel, which will be known as the Gramercy Park Hotel, will have 185 rooms. Next door, there will be 23 apartments with 14-foot-high ceilings — and all of the hotel amenities. Both buildings will be designed by the London-based architect John Pawson. “I see the residential apartments as a new genre, something that blurs the distinction between a hotel and apartments,” said Schrager, who passed through London earlier this week to check out his Sanderson and Saint Martin’s Lane hotels. “It’s not going to be John Pawson minimal either — you can’t really pigeon-hole the style. The style is going to be very special.” Schrager also plans to open another residence on Bond Street, between Lafayette and the Bowery, in NoLIta, which will feature five town houses with private backyards. That residence also will have hotel services, and will open in July 2006. That project will be designed by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.
FERRAGAMO’S OLD FLAMES: Designers too young to remember are inspired by Fifties and Sixties film stars such as Sophia Loren, Kim Novak and Audrey Hepburn. Salvatore Ferragamo was actually there, designing shoes for some of those leading ladies. The company Ferragamo founded is now celebrating the style of the decade with “Sirens of the Sixties,” a photography exhibition on the women who lived la dolce vita. The work of international Italian photographers such as Angelo Frontoni, Gian Paolo Barbieri, Tazio Secchiaroli, Pierluigi Praturlon and Chiara Samugheo is featured in the show at the Ferragamo gallery at the Fifth Avenue flagship through Feb. 1. The images range from the stark black-and-white profile of Caterina Spaak smoking a cigarette to a soft color portrait of Ursula Andress standing by a window.