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.EXHIBITIONISTS: Stilettos may be suitable for a front-row perch, but art aficionados might want to slip on sneakers to make a cultural run during fashion week. A much talked about exhibition at the Picasso Museum explores the artist's Cubist period and commemorates the anniversaries of his legendary canvases "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," 1907, and "Guernica," 1937. At the Grand Palais, a presentation called "Design Against Design" traces domestic design from the industrial revolution until modern day. Starting Oct. 2, the Musée du quai Branly regroups works by various artists inspired by exile and life outside of their home country, such as John Galliano's Massaï dresses for Christian Dior. Meanwhile, carte blanche was given to Ugo Rondinone at the Palais de Tokyo. Dubbed "The Third Mind," his show assembles works of 31 artists and ultimately constitutes its own work of art. At the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint-Laurent Foundation, a presentation titled "Théâtre, Cinéma, Music-Hall, Ballet" will open Oct. 3. At smaller galleries, Yvon Lambert has a show featuring Scottish artist Douglas Gordon. Works by legendary lensman Albert Watson will dot the walls of the Acte2galerie, while David Lynch lent his photographic skills to feature shoes by Christian Louboutin on display at the Pierre Passebon gallery. Fatigued fashionistas should make the Kreo Gallery their last stop, which has a selection of 23 stools by designers such as François Azambourg, Konstantin Grcic and Hella Jongerius.

PITCH PERFECT: While burly rugby pros battle for the World Cup title in Paris, fans are having a more chic face off as scores of fashion and beauty labels launch limited edition rugby-inspired collections and products. Boucheron, for example, created an exclusive jewelry line in homage to the sport. The sporty baubles, which include a Diablotine women's ring in pink gold and green tourmaline redesigned in the shape of a rugby ball, are on display at the Hotel de Crillon and will be auctioned off for charity Oct. 18. Meanwhile, Chanel is already scrambling to stock more of it rubber rugby balls that retail for 130 euros, or $183. Even contemporary brands are playing the field. Zadig & Voltaire gave its best-selling T-shirt a rugby twist by printing the first names of the French team members on the back of the shirt. At Galeries Lafayette, rugby shirts by Canterbury of New Zealand were revisited by designers such as On Aura Tu Vu, Filippa K and Marithé & François Girbaud and are on display until Oct. 6. Sportier fans meanwhile, can pick rugby-inspired bags by Onitsuka Tiger for 50 euros ($70) or limited edition All Black rugby shirts at the Adidas store.TOP NOSH: Those seeking an eatery far from the madding crowd should check out Cheri Bibi, one of the city's hippest new culinary addresses, situated at the foot of Montmartre. Thirtysomething owners Raphael Ozanne and Yannig Samot scoured Europe for the decor of groovy Seventies plaid chairs and retro Scandinavian furniture. Specializing in bistro cuisine, grilled fish, yummy homemade terrines and waist-friendly fruit desserts are among the standouts. On Sunday afternoons, guests can order a traditional English lunch, including roast beef and fish and chips.
Cheri Bibi, 15 Rue André del Sarte, 18th; tel.: +33-1-42-54-88-96

WINE GUY: Enrico Bernardo, who won the title of the world's best sommelier a few years back, has opened his own restaurant, a 40-seat eatery on the Left Bank. As is fitting an oenophile, Bernardo decorated around the wine, with the modern dinning room lending a dramatic view of the cellar. Though the wine is the star, Bernardo has cooked up a fun concept, with several tasting menus, including one that comes with exceptional vintage wines — and an exceptional price tag of 1,000 euros ($1,400). Easier on the pocketbook is a glass of a scrupulously selected wine with one of the chef's daily specials.
Il Vino d'Enrico Bernardo, 13 Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg 75007;
tel.: +33-1-44-11-72-00

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Nested on a quiet Montmartre street, Hôtel Particulier is a peaceful haven for art lovers. The boutique hotel features five spacious rooms, each decorated by a different artist with a unique and surprising ambience. Ask for the Poems and Hat room, decorated with surrealistic panache by fashion curator Olivier Saillard. The hotel boasts a dining room where private dinners can be organized. Prices range from 290 to 590 euros ($408 to $831) a night.
Hôtel Particulier, 23 Avenue Junot, 75018; tel.: +33-1-53-41-81-40

PARIS-JAPAN: The owners of fashionable sushi perennial Kinugawa have opened Hanawa, a Japanese restaurant just steps away from Avenue Montaigne's luxury shops. The three-level eatery is a contemporary and classy setting for a large variety of sushis and sashimis. For those looking for French food with a Japanese twist, Teppanyaki, a second restaurant from the same owners, is located in the basement.
Hanawa, 26 Rue Bayard, 75008;
tel.: +33-1-56-62-70-70
ROUGH AND TUMBLE: Retired French rugby star Philippe Sella has teamed up with Alain Dutournier, the two-star chef of Paris' Carré des Feuillants, to open Sydr, a cavernous restaurant near the Arc de Triomphe. A convivial, Hispanic-themed atmosphere reigns for diners picking at tapas and hearty meat dishes served in a minimalist decor. Spanish ham tarts, cod fish omelets and roast chicken round out the menu.
Sydr, 6 Rue de Tilsitt, 75008;
tel.: +33-1-45-72-41-32

SITTING PRETTY: Trendy Jousse Enterprise art gallery will show 16 furniture pieces by Rick Owens, from Oct. 2 to Nov. 3. "Some [pieces are] a lot bigger and some a lot smaller," explained Owens, adding that he's ditched skulls for nobler matter such as marble, bronze and fur. Throw in the odd piece of concrete and it's typical of Owens' industrial aesthetic. Some lucky collector will take home his cashmere sofa, which the designer has nicknamed "the planet." Why? Owens didn't say. But anyone with a cashmere sofa may feel like the king of the universe.

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