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ABSENT FRIENDS: Giorgio Armani on Thursday hosted street artist Richard Hambleton’s first European solo exhibition since 1985, but the guest of honor missed the party. Clive Owen, Roberta Armani, Mario Testino, Tatiana Santo Domingo and Rachel Zoe were among the crowd who turned out for the opening at the Armani Teatro in Milan. Curators Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld and Andy Valmorbida explained that Hambleton, who returned to the art scene last year after a 25-year absence, rarely leaves his Lower East Side home. “He is very elusive,” said Valmorbida. The two are attempting to make a documentary about the artist with Oscar-nominated director Oren Jacoby, but that is also proving a challenge. “He’s such a difficult character to grab and to work with that it takes a lot of time,” said Restoin Roitfeld. Still, they are planning another show of Hambleton’s work in the fall — this time in Beijing.
Giorgio Armani revealed he was feeling nervous about the upcoming launch of his hotel in the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, though not because of any financial market jitters. “I’ve been working on this for five years. I’m finally going to see what I designed, and it’s a bit nerve-racking to think that what I liked five years ago might look old now,” he explained.
Owen, meanwhile, was enjoying some time off after completing the filming of “Trust,” a feature written and directed by former “Friends” star David Schwimmer. “I’m not sure what I’m doing next,” he mused, saying he was considering several projects.
SINGING FOR HER SUPPER: Although recovering from a cold, British singer Pixie Lott was diligently rehearsing before the Cheap and Chic show under the tent set up outside the new Maison Moschino hotel in Milan. “I love fashion and music — they go hand in hand. You can express yourself with both,” said the artist, who was due to perform after the show on Thursday. Lott, who has worn Moschino on several occasions and defined the brand as “cute and classy,” has been dabbling with design herself, with a Pixie for Lipsy collection for Topshop, a dress with British designer Kate Halfpenny and a charity T-shirt with Moschino for the Perthes disease association. Lott is due to kick off her tour with Rihanna in May and her own later this year, but she’s got another engagement to attend to first. “I’m flying home tomorrow because I’m a bridesmaid at a family wedding and I’m expected to sing,” said Lott.
GREEN DAY: Ashley Greene, who plays Alice Cullen in the “Twilight” film series, is expected at the Dolce & Gabbana show Sunday, together with an all-Italian group of actresses, ranging from Margareth Madé, who stars in Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baaria,” to former Bond Girl Caterina Murino and Martina Stella, from Rob Marshall’s “Nine.”
ANOTHER LINE?: Stylist Lori Goldstein, who works with Carolina Herrera and Vera Wang as well as Italian Vogue and W, had another sellout of her Instant Chic collection on QVC earlier this week and now might be eyeing expansion. Goldstein is said to be in talks with a major national retailer to do a collection under her own name. Goldstein, whose Instant Chic is available exclusively on QVC and is made by Regatta USA, could not be reached for comment.
FIVE ALIVE: A 1932 drop-waist ivory beaded Chanel dress, which is expected to fetch up to 10,000 euros, or around $14,000 at current exchange, is among 800 Chanel pieces being auctioned at a two-day sale ending in Paris today at the Drouot auction house. The sprawling lot, which includes Chanel accessories, jewelry, ready-to-wear and couture pieces spanning from 1910 to 2009, hails from several private collections.
FOR PETE’S SAKE: Set to add a rock ’n’ roll edge to Paris Fashion Week, Kate Moss’ notorious former flame, Pete Doherty, is booked to entertain guests on March 8 at an event at the Joseph store on Avenue Montaigne, while British electro-rock act Chew Lips on March 5 will play at the opening of a new store for French denim label Le Temps des Cerises, situated at 7 Rue des Rosier in the city’s Marais district.
NEW GIRL IN TOWN: It didn’t take Ellen Tracy long to feel at home in its new digs. Macy’s Herald Square had an extremely low-key unveiling Thursday of a 2,600-square-foot Ellen Tracy shop at 3 p.m. on the better floor, between Michael Michael Kors and Lauren by Ralph Lauren. Long an anchor bridge resource in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s and Lord & Taylor, Ellen Tracy decided last fall to move to the better area and forged an exclusive strategic alliance with Macy’s. The line is expected to go into 105 Macy’s doors by the middle of next month. Macy’s is planning a series of events to mark Ellen Tracy’s arrival in May.
MACHINE AGE: Berlinomat, the seven-year-old sales and promotional platform for Berlin fashion, interior and product design, has just unveiled an original new point of sale. The first bright yellow Berlinomat Design Gift Automat went into action in Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, where it offers travelers the opportunity to bring home a fun little piece of Berlin-based design for from 7.50 euros, or about $10 at current exchange, to 49.90 euros, or $67. The interactive vending machine, outfitted with the newest generation of touch screens and featuring product animation films, stocks 42 items, from Berlin TV towers and Brandenburg Gate cookie cutters from Phil Goods to animal-shaped heat cushions by Kazik and a selection of Huftgold scarves. Two more automats will be installed in Tegel Airport and Galeries Lafayette soon, with a national and possible international rollout to follow. “When it’s successful, as it’s on wheels, the automat can literally be rolled to where demand is,” noted Berlinomat founder Jörg Wichmann. The project will need to attract 10 to 20 paying customers a day to break even in two to three years, which is the “normal amortization time for a vending machine in the prototype stage,” Wichmann pointed out.
JUST A SQUEEZE: At the opening in San Francisco of a Kiton men’s wear shop inside Neiman Marcus, no detail seemed to be overlooked, down to the bowls of lemons requested by shoemaker Bruno La Montagna, who uses the juice to give leather a matte finish. La Montagna was among Kiton workers who joined their U.S. chairman Massimo Bizzocchi and chief executive officer Antonio De Matteis to showcase the Napolitano fashion house’s all-handmade production.
OFF THE WALL: For Sigerson Morrison the writing isn’t solely on the wall — it’s all over their shoes and bags. On Tuesday evening [eds: March 2] The New York accessories firm will unveil its first art exhibition at the firm’s East 71st Street boutique, with an installation by Dan Funderburgh. The artist will be there to present his large-scale wall covering, limited edition prints and accessories at the opening. The boutique, which the company refers to affectionately as “The Laboratory” will now serve as a venue for small shows and exhibitions for working artists. The store also carries stationery, jewelry, books candles and other esoteric items along with their signature shoes and accessories. “Here, we are an independent voice in a heavily branded neighborhood,” said co-designer Miranda Morrison. “[It’s] a little bit of a find for the curious or intrepid shopper.”
Sigerson Morrison’s 71st Street Laboratory featuring the work of Dan Funderburgh.