SHOW TIME: John Galliano had showgirl types on his couture runway in July. Now the fashion flock can see the real thing: excerpts from the “C’est Magique” show at the Lido, where Christian Dior is hosting the launch party for Addict fragrance tonight. The dress code? “Admit It.” Huh? That’s the new name for the clothing and accessories line formerly known as Addict. Turns out Dior cannot use Addict for the fashion category for legal reasons. Meanwhile, celebrities galore are expected in Dior’s front row. Word has it expected guests include Penélope Cruz, Christina Ricci, Claire Danes, Rosanna Arquette, Anna Kournikova and Laura Dern.
BLONDE AMBITION: Narciso Rodriguez was the surprise guest at Donatella Versace’s post-show party Tuesday night in Milan. Could the New York designer be trolling for backers? “Wait and see,” a coy Rodriguez quipped when questioned about his presence in Milan. Meanwhile, the guest of honor, Britney Spears, proved she could teach P. Diddy a thing or two about bodyguard management — even within the confines of her new buddy Donatella’s place. When a male model asked her to dance, the mountainous men in black hovered not so discretely at the edge of the dance floor.
A LA TOMMY: Calvin Klein, in Paris to fete his new boutique, isn’t the only American in town on Avenue Montaigne. Tommy Hilfiger turned up Wednesday night at the cocktail to fete the new Gucci boutique on the tony strip. Hilfiger didn’t bring a tape measure, but the designer said he is scouting space in Paris for a Tommy Hilfiger flagship. “It all depends if I can get the right location,” he said. But don’t expect him at any shows. Hilfiger said he’s all business this trip.
VERSACE VISION: We all know that Donatella Versace is a woman in charge, and now she can even call herself editor in chief of the house — publishing house, that is — of Versace. To celebrate her spring runway show, Donatella unveiled her new biannual magazine Tuesday night in Milan. The cover model? You guessed it: Ms. D herself, in all her blond brilliance. In her editor’s note, Donatella says that she saw the magazine as a “chance to show the inspirations and aspirations behind the vibrance and urban sophistication that Versace is all about.” The 96-page, oversized glossy features photo spreads by Marilyn Minter and Jack Pierson, Q&As with Madonna and Britney Spears and party coverage of Versace bashes. The company printed 15,000 magazines to be distributed to Versace boutiques, specialty fashion retailers, global hotels, select newsstands and top Versace customers. The second issue comes out next spring.
PARIS LOGJAM: If you get blocked in major traffic snarls on your way between fashion shows in Paris today, don’t fret — you’re not the only one. Tens of thousands of union members are expected to throng the streets in a massive protest march, throwing traffic into a tailspin. They have a bone to pick with Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, whose rightist government has proposed legislation to overhaul the country’s massive public service sector. Union members from the state-controlled gas and electric company, EDF-GDF, Air France, the post office and the SNCF train service are among those expected to march.
THEY’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS: They could have been joined at birth. Philip Miller surprised Burt Tansky last Thursday by showing up at the Neiman Marcus gala opening in Coral Gables, Fla., and next week they rendezvous in Paris, when the two retail veterans receive the historic Legion of Honor. First conceived to recognize war heroes in the early 1800s, the award has grown to recognize many walks of life — even retailers that promote French designers.
“We’ve got a lot of history too,” said Miller, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue. “Burt and I go back 30 years. I was the divisional of cosmetics and accessories at Filene’s and he managed the Filene’s in Peabody, Mass. He was as funny then as he is now.”
They also worked together at Saks, both reporting in to the late Mel Jacobs, before becoming friendly rivals, when Tansky headed up Bergdorf Goodman and Miller succeeded Jacobs as ceo of Saks. Tansky is currently chairman and chief executive of The Neiman Marcus Group, and Miller heads up Philip B. Millers Associates consulting.
The Legion of Honor will be bestowed in a precedent-setting joint ceremony for Tansky and Miller at the Carousel du Louvre. They’ll be decorated by France’s minister of industry, Madame Nicole Fontaine, followed by a cocktail reception for hundreds of guests. They are also both planning to attend each other’s dinners being held in their honor in Paris.
“I feel very honored by this recognition,” Miller said. “Members of †he Legion are remarkable people.”
“I am looking forward to receiving the award,” Tansky said. “France has been a very important part of our designer mix at Neiman’s. French design brings so much elegance, style, quality and specialness to our assortments. For many years, we have been building our business with the French designers. We think it’s a continuing opportunity.”
Meanwhile, in a tilt to France, Christian Lacroix was to receive his Legion of Honor Wednesday night.
LE GRAND DIVERTISSEMENT, PART DEUX? Almost 29 years have passed since the groundbreaking Versailles fashion show, at which a handful of American designers upstaged their French competitors and turned the fashion world on its ear. While it might not be on quite the same scale, New York Fashion International is staging a Paris show for six designers who produce half or more of their clothing in New York. Rubin Chapelle, Victor de Souza, Vilma Mare, David Rodriguez, Alice Roi and Gaelyn & Cianfarani will each show six looks from their spring collections in an informal presentation at the American Consulate in Paris on Wednesday.
New York garment workers have been hard-hit in the past year, as the slowdown of the U.S. economy forced plants to close. New York Fashion International is a joint program of the Garment Industry Development Corp., the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Elle magazine is sponsoring the show. “This industry has had a really tough year since Sept. 11, and yet there are still a lot of great ideas coming out of New York,” said Linda Dworak, president of GIDC. “We’ve got over 50,000 workers here, many of whom are very skilled craftspeople, and they make a lot of high-end fashion in New York. We want to show that ‘Made in New York’ is about quality and design and creativity.”