Fashion Scoops: To Russia with Love … Buying and Selling … Active Apparel …

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE: Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the U.S.S.R., glided into a downstairs conference room at the Regent Hotel on Wall Street Wednesday to accept a 9/11-inspired mural on behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Moscow and...

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE: Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the U.S.S.R., glided into a downstairs conference room at the Regent Hotel on Wall Street Wednesday to accept a 9/11-inspired mural on behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Moscow and then grabbed a folding chair for a quick powwow with Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.).

This story first appeared in the November 22, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Gorbachev first admired the “We Will Never Forget” mural, the work of six artists, at the Grant Gallery in SoHo in March. Through a translator, he said, “Globally, culture was lost for a while and now it’s being found. We need to work to preserve culture and peace. It doesn’t matter if you’re Russian or American. The global culture is what’s important.”

During the visit, Weldon urged Gorbachev to get involved with his U.S.-Russia relations initiative. But Gorbachev was swift to point out his dance card is full. He has been busy inviting Bill Clinton and other former and current world leaders to sign on for the World Political Forum, a group of 50 he hopes to set up by February.

“We don’t want to be authors of programs that are not implemented. We want to offer more strength than just whistle. We should actually make this train move,” Gorbachev said.

The former president showed he already has more than a hand in the current political landscape. When his cell phone rang, one of Weldon’s aides joked, “It’s [Russian president Vladimir] Putin,” and Gorbachev’s translator offered, “Putin’s office called this morning.”

BUYING AND SELLING: Shaw-Lan Wang is consolidating her control of Lanvin, the Paris fashion house she acquired with two other partners from L’Oréal last year. Wang, a Taiwanese entrepreneur with extensive media holdings, is buying out her two minority shareholders: Chantal Merieux and Annie Young. The transactions have fueled speculation in Paris that Wang might be preparing to put the house on the block. But Lanvin president Jacques Levy insists Wang has no intention of selling. “She is very committed to the brand,” he said. “We’ve woken up the sleeping beauty and now we need more capital to grow.” Among Wang’s first moves was installing Alber Elbaz to design women’s ready-to-wear, which now accounts for 30 percent of total turnover, up from 10 percent a year ago, according to Levy.

ACTIVE APPAREL: Reebok’s after-party for Shakira’s concert Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden turned into a high-wattage affair. In addition to the petite blonde one herself, the soiree, held at Suede, drew the likes of Sean Combs, Eve, Steve Stoute (president of Interscope Records and partner in Arnell Group, Reebok’s ad agency of record), Nicky Hilton and MTV’s Brian McFadden, Ivana and Ivanka Trump, Patricia Field, Joey Fatone, NBC’s Janice Huff and members of Pay the Girl, Shakira’s opening act. Reebok is a presenting sponsor of Shakira’s “Tour of the Mongoose” as part of its recently inked megadeal with the Colombian songstress. The company even made up a few of Shakira’s onstage looks, including a floor-length black lace wrap. The international tour kicked off on Nov. 8 in San Diego and runs through next summer.

RETAIL PARTNERSHIP BREWING?: After shutting its Southampton shop last August, the Peter Elliot specialty chain is looking to build up again. Among the options, a shop in Greenwich, Conn., or Bronxville, N.Y., or possibly partnering with Kiton, the Naples, Italy-based supplier of handmade and handfinished clothing. Kiton bought a building on 54th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues to put up its first store in America, and Elliot Rabin, owner of Peter Elliot, could be the one to run it. Sources said he’s had talks with Kiton president Ciro Paone. “They’ve had very light discussions. Nothing official or unofficial has transpired,” said a source. Rabin couldn’t be reached for comment. There’s a cluster of three Peter Elliot shops, for men, women and young boys, on Madison Avenue close to 81st Street, and Kiton is among its best-selling adult brands.

MONACO’S MURALS: Instead of stuffing their windows full of the traditional trappings of Christmas, Club Monaco has opted for an artistic take on the holidays. The company has commissioned fashion illustrations by artist Mats Gustafson. The windows, which will be completed today, display Gustafson’s large sketches of Club Monaco’s holiday silhouettes which include velvet knickers paired with a sequin cardigan and tuxedo pants with a voluminous chiffon blouse. It sure beats pairing red and green velvets.