GOLD DIGGER: “I still consider myself an L.A. designer,” said Jared Gold, enjoying a homecoming of sorts last week at the Aero & Co. boutique on trendy Third Street in Los Angeles. Fighting a flu, Gold was in town for an event that attracted about 125 people and heralded what’s to come from this designer known for his offbeat sensibility. Gold, who skipped a couple of seasons and moved to Salt Lake City, is now chief executive officer and head designer of a publicly traded firm called Dark Dynamite, parent to his Black Chandelier collection, his new children’s Pink Chandelier line and his new home product offering, The Genevieve. Black Chandelier was on display for spring, with tank tops adorned with foiled moths, long-sleeve shirts with appliqués and stretch cotton skirts with colorful prints. Gold said his big fall splash will occur with an off-site fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Culver City, hopefully coinciding with the debut of his third store in the L.A. area. He has a store in Salt Lake City and another is planned to open in Seattle by March 3. Don’t expect him to move back to L.A. anytime soon, though. “When you get up out of bed in the morning and see those mountains, it’s hard to find that creative inspiration elsewhere,” Gold said.

SURF DIVA: Ocean Pacific, a division of Warnaco Group, appointed Stefanie DiRienzo as vice president of design services, overseeing all men’s and women’s apparel and accessories development. In the new position, DiRienzo will work with the company’s in-house design staff and more than 20 licensees to present a cohesive brand image for Op’s products and packaging, including its juniors relaunch for spring 2006. She will report to Op president Richard Baker. DiRienzo is a 12-year veteran of the apparel industry, with senior-level merchandising and design positions at Guess, French Connection and Limited Brands Inc. Most recently, she served as director of retail at Lucky Brand Jeans, which counts 90 stores.

STALLED SALE: The $135 million sale of the California Market Center to Los Angeles-based Jamison Properties, which had been expected to wrap up by the end of January, is now projected to close by the end of February or March, said Ben Lee, leasing manager for Jamison’s West Los Angeles portfolio. “At this point, everyone doesn’t have a clear understanding of things, and we just need to work on coming to terms and we’ll be right there,” Lee said. In December, Jamison issued a 60-day employment notice under the Warren Act, alerting market center workers that their jobs might be cut. So far, Yvette Beltran, textile show manager, and Celeste Lee, who served in retail relations, have resigned from the market center.

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