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WHAT’S UP WITH GWEN?: Time to start jamming up the Harrison & Shriftman fax (number: 917-351-8601) with front-row requests for what could be the hottest ticket of the season: Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. For the Sept. 16 Roseland Ballroom affair, the blonde bombshell has enlisted the help of runway production magic man Alexandre de Betak, known for his fanciful presentations chez Dior, Viktor & Rolf and, last season, JLo. Backstage, Stefani will be running the show with L.A.M.B.’s head designer, Zaldy; stylist Andrea Lieberman; hair stylist Danilo, and makeup artist Kathy Jeung. On the runway, expect to see some bona fide sky-high fashion shoes — a side project she’s been working on. Also in the works for Stefani are costume jewelry — to launch fall 2006 — as well as luxury bags and fragrance, which should provide catfight fodder for the beauty giants.
DIDDY CITY: It’s not like Sean Combs is known for following tradition, but it seems odd that he’d list a string of far-flung locations on the outside of his New York boutique. Underneath the boutique’s name, Combs runs a list of trendy cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London and Tokyo. But currently, Diddy only has one boutique. A representative for the company said those cities are listed because they’re “the fashion capitals of the world.” Maybe Combs is using the list of cities as a to-do list: A store in L.A. is currently in the works.
EYE-TO-EYE: Since sexy shades are to Bono what a navy T-shirt is to Giorgio Armani, it seems natural that the rock star chose to wear a pair of vintage Emporio Armani sunglasses for U2’s Vertigo tour, including last Wednesday night’s Milan concert. Armani revised the wraparound plastic style especially for Bono and stocked him up with red, green, blue and brown versions. What’s more, to get the band to unwind after the megashow at the San Siro stadium, Armani organized a casual lunch with the rockers Thursday in his Via Borgonuovo palazzo.
FAST-TRACK FASHION: Having put financial muscle behind British labels Alexander McQueen and Boudicca, American Express is offering support to new names in the U.K. fashion industry via a new venture called Business Express. AmEx will choose a recipient each year. The first is Yong Hei Fong, a graduate of London’s Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. He will take part in a series of one-on-one mentoring sessions with leading figures in the world of retail, fashion and finance. Those mentors include Alexander McQueen, Jane Shepherdson, brand director of Topshop, and Sarah Mower, a freelance journalist at U.S. Vogue. He also will talk to strategic financial advisers at American Express. “The industry has long been crying out for this kind of support,” McQueen said in a statement. “I’m really pleased to be involved in it. Being instrumental in helping young designers build successful careers is important to me.”
D&G GETS INTO COSTUME: D&G is launching a line of costume jewelry produced and distributed by Binda SpA, the watch manufacturer that already makes hip timepieces for the brand. The collection will be available in D&G’s Italian freestanding stores starting in mid-October and will roll out to European cities such as London, Paris and Munich in 2006. A spokeswoman for D&G, the snazzy younger line designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, said the details are being ironed out as to whether the line will eventually retail in the U.S., as well as how the collection will come together in terms of design, number of styles and price range.
FOOTSTEP: Giambattista Valli is taking a step up. The former Emanuel Ungaro designer, who launched his own brand last March, has signed a license with Italy’s Roland for a shoe line. The first collection will bow for spring/summer 2006 and will consist of some 60 styles, with an emphasis on evening.