DEAR JOHN: Blowing out the last candle on an event-packed 60th anniversary year, Christian Dior will unveil a colossal Assouline coffee table tome during Paris Fashion Week. It boasts 384 pages of archival photos and sketches, plus dozens of arresting new still life photos by Laziz Hamani of the French house's couture handiwork under its celebrated designers: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré and John Galliano. Fashion historian Farid Chenoune wrote the text, while luxury titan Bernard Arnault penned the preface. "Dior is the remarkable story of a couture house born of two big bangs:...the 'New Look' of 1947 and the arrival of John Galliano at Avenue Montaigne in 1997," Arnault writes. The book, priced at 125 euros ($176), will be released Oct. 4.

CHIC AND GLITTER: She's known for her sultry evening gowns, but now Azzaro's Vanessa Seward wants to broaden her horizons. The designer is adding an accessories line for spring, including bags in collaboration with Leiber. A range of costume jewelry features four designs by the young socialite Eugenie Niarchos. But Seward's new array doesn't stop there: She'll also unveil the house's first swimwear line next week. "With Azzaro's archive of amazing necklines, it was a given to do swimwear," said Seward, who added that certain styles feature sophisticated rhinestone details.

IN THE BAG: "The idea was to personalize the bag," said Nicole Lehmann, who opened her pint-size bag store in May, peddling upscale, customizable leather goods. A former interior decorator and jewelry designer, it was a modest shopper her granny used to take to the market that inspired Lehmann's signature form. But thanks to a heady choice of hues
and skins, from shaved rabbit skin to black alligator, it's adopted a new upscale allure.
Prices range from $500 to $7,000.
Nicole Lehmann, 19 Rue de Turenne, 4th;
tel.: +33-1-42-77-57-21



ART OF SHOPPING: Galeries Lafayette hopes to lure art aficionados to its contemporary art gallery, which weaves visitors through contemporary fashion along the way. Guillaume Houzé, curator, art collector and great-grandson of Galeries founder Théophile Bader, called on the bright lights of the French scene for a show titled "Antidote," featuring sculptures, paintings and photography by artists such as Pierre Ardouvin, Tatiana Trouvé and Mathieu Mercier. Over on the Left Bank, Le Bon Marché tapped Magnum photographers for an exhibition entitled "Love Tokyo," themed around the Japanese capital.
On view are vivid street portraits, sprawling cityscapes and snapshots of traditional life by such photographers as Bruce Gilden, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Bruno Barbey, René Burri and Werner Bischof.

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