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FANTASY ISLAND: Tapping into a growing mood for escapism, new offerings from Dior’s “Coffret de Victoire,” featuring one-of-a-kind pieces designed by Victoire de Castellane, include six oversize bracelets inspired by the idea of a lovesick traveler collecting souvenirs for his sweetheart on a trip around the world. The treasures will be presented in a giant Dior-gray jewelry box at the house’s Paris headquarters March 9, a spokeswoman confirmed.
FIRST, HE TAKES MANHATTAN: It turns out that the Bryant Park tents don’t have a monopoly on rowdy mobs this week. Hundreds of ticket holders pushed and shoved their way into the Beacon Theatre on Thursday night for Leonard Cohen’s sold-out concert. It was the first time the legendary musician had played in the U.S. in 15 years. “Since then, I’ve had a lot of Prozac, Wellbutrin, Ritalin, Tylenol extra-strength,” Cohen deadpanned. “I studied the philosophies, but cheerfulness kept breaking through.” Who would have guessed that the melancholic sound man had a sense of humor? He even skipped on- and offstage during his three-hour set. It seems the meds must be working.
Cohen will tour the U.S. starting with a show in Austin on April 2 and stopping in Oakland, Calif.; Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Indio, Calif., for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
MILLA’S MAN: Roberto Cavalli has asked the much-hyphenated model-actress-designer-singer Milla Jovovich to be the godmother at the gala dinner and party he will be throwing in Milan on Sunday to mark the launch of his first MasterCard. Elizabeth Hurley will also be a guest at the bash, to be held the evening of Cavalli’s show during Milan Fashion Week.
RUSSIAN VIEW: Though their economy seems to lose a billionaire a day, Russian retailers were still on the show circuit, albeit with an adjusted perspective. “It’s not easy. We are, of course in a very difficult situation,” said Alla Verber, vice president of Mercury Distribution, which franchises designer boutiques in Russia, from Ralph Rucci’s front row. “The crisis here came to our country, too, but we started with a very strong spring. Sales are fine, but we have to be more careful.” While Verber said cutting back on designers is crucial, she named Ralph Rucci and J.Mendel as favorites and expressed increased interest in the contemporary and young designer market, with an eye toward Jason Wu. “I want to do a big story with Michelle Obama and new designers,” said Verber. “I met [Wu] and I want to do a story with him and windows.”
CROSS STITCH: The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid to its lowest level in six years Friday morning, but Thursday night the fashion flock toasted the opening of the optimistically monikered The Smile, a boutique and cafe on Bond Street. Also being feted was Wool & the Gang, a knitting collective and clothing line founded by Lisa Sabrier, Carolyn Main and Nadège Winter. Guests including Mary-Kate Olsen, Michael Stipe, Chiara Clemente, Waris Ahluwalia and Eleanor Ylvisaker perused the knitting kits and were given wool headbands and roses. “I actually don’t know how to knit,” said Erin Wasson, who will soon be headed to reprise her RVCA presentation in London.
“I prefer cross-stitching — you can do so much more. My mom taught me how to do it.” Meanwhile, designers Maria Cornejo, Thakoon Panichgul, John Whitledge, Jeff Halmos and Sam Shipley checked out The Smile’s two-level brick-walled space. The concept store was founded by Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman and features a cafe and bar run by Melia Marden (daughter of Brice). According to Quirarte, the store will feature exclusive and limited edition items from the likes of Adam Kimmel and Earnest Sewn.
“It’s all just friends,” explained Quirarte, who happened upon the landmarked 1830s location after the restaurant Double Crown opted not to use it. After cocktails, partygoers like Vladimir Roitfeld, Tatiana Santo Domingo and Andrea Casiraghi and Lily Donaldson thronged the second floor of the Bowery Hotel, where Matt Creed DJ’d and the band Chief performed.
LONDON SHOWS’ NEW HOME: London Fashion Week is heading to the bright lights of central London. After being held at the British Fashion Council’s tents at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington for four years, the London shows will move to Somerset House, an 18th-century neoclassical museum and cultural space near Covent Garden, in September. “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Somerset House to develop London Fashion Week’s profile and…utilize the architecturally interesting spaces to make the venue our new home,” said Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council. London Fashion Week’s move to Somerset House will also coincide with an exhibition staged by photographer Nick Knight’s multimedia Web site SHOWstudio, which will be held there from Sept. 18 through Dec. 20.
VENETIAN KINDS: Get ready for gondola chic. Karl Lagerfeld is already thinking about his cruise collection for Chanel, and plans to show it May 14 in Venice, on the famous Lido Beach.
HYERES TODAY: Belgian Kris Van Assche will preside over the jury at the 24th International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères, France in late April. The designer, who is also Dior Homme’s artistic director, will be joined on the jury by actress and filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes, photographer Nan Goldin and Dazed & Confused’s editor in chief Jefferson Hack. Their task will be to select a winner from among 10 budding designers. Talents discovered at the festival in the past include Viktor & Rolf and Gaspard Yurkievich.