A KIDMAN COUP: Nicole Kidman will model at London Fashion Week today — although her debut will be on the big screen rather than the runway. Kidman will star in a film made by Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts to mark the 20th anniversary of their label, Antoni & Alison. Kidman models the duo’s spring collection in the 10-minute short, which will take the place of their fashion show this season. The film will be screened at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair. Industry sources say it was Kidman — who knows the duo through a mutual friend — who volunteered her services, as an anniversary present.
BONDS’ FATE: Marc Ecko has been making the rounds in New York since he bought Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home run ball on Saturday. The hip-hop mogul paid $752,467 for the ball and set up a Web site, Vote756.com, where people can vote on the ball’s fate. Ecko was on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday and on Wednesday made an appearance in Times Square. “The amount of people voting already has been tremendous. I know there’s even at least two betting lines happening in Vegas as we speak,” Ecko said just after posing for photos with the ball and prominent Times Square fixture Naked Cowboy. “I bought this ball to make a statement about democracy. People’s emotions have been running wild about where it should end up. I find the whole thing really fascinating. It’s been an exciting ride.”
Voting on the site will end on Sept. 25 at 11:59 p.m. Voters can choose whether they want to see the ball go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., want it branded with an asterisk (implying that the home run record should be viewed with skepticism in light of Bonds’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs) and then send it to the Hall of Fame, or want the ball sent into space.
FERRE TRIBUTE: Gianfranco Ferré’s hometown of Legnano, Italy, is preparing to honor its late local hero. City officials just approved a measure to name a town square after the designer, who died in June. Piazza Gianfranco Ferré will occupy a large space, formerly occupied by a cotton plant, which the city has been revitalizing. “This is a necessary recognition of a man who contributed to the success of ‘Made In Italy,'” Mayor Lorenzo Vitali said in a statement. Legnano, a small picturesque town near Milan, named Ferré a distinguished citizen in 1989.
AMBASSADOR BUNDCHEN: As Brazilian contemporary brand Colcci launches in the U.S. this fall, it has enlisted one of Brazil’s most famous faces, Gisele Bündchen. Bündchen — who is featured in Colcci’s new ad campaign — made an appearance at Bathhouse Studios in Manhattan’s Lower East Side Tuesday night to fete the line, which will wholesale at an average of $40 a piece and be carried in about 300 U.S. doors, including Fred Segal.
MAKEUP TO DO: Christina Ricci will help Calvin Klein Inc. make a splashy start with its new makeup line in Milan on Sept. 27 by hosting a party for the collection, which is being produced under license by Markwins International and is beginning its rollout now. CKI’s previous color cosmetics collection was produced under license by Unilever Cosmetics International and discontinued in 2003.
BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS: Harry Slatkin, who blended celebrity marketing with traditional candle making, also appears to have a talent in the wedding department. He and his wife, Laura, threw a cocktail party Tuesday evening in their seventh-floor townhouse on 74th Street in Manhattan for their newly married friends John and Anouschka Demsey, who had been given a nudge down the aisle by their mutual friend, Harry. “I don’t know if I played matchmaker, but I helped push,” Slatkin said, adding later that “my wife and I knew John and Anouschka separately for 20 years and did not know they knew each other.” The seriousness of their involvement sunk in when Slatkin started receiving a cross-fire of similar e-mails from the lovers while he was in London, Demsey was in Beverly Hills and Anouschka was at home in New York. Her question to Slatkin was “Do you think John is thinking when?,” the middle man recalled, noting he was getting similar queries from Demsey.
What emerged from the heat of the e-mailing was a wedding. “From carrier pigeon to BlackBerry,” said Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “It took 15 years, but we got them to say yes,” added Slatkin. “That’s what counts.”
What first looked like an intimate cocktail party of friends from beauty, fashion and the media overflowed into a crowd of about 75, including Blaine Trump, Iman, Leonard Lauder, William Lauder, Aerin Lauder-Zinterhofer, Thom Brown, Ron Frasch, Cindi Leive, Linda Wells, Bonnie Fuller and Zac Posen. Iman looked especially slim, probably from walking her new three-month-old dog Max morning and night — without any help from husband David Bowie.
LIBERTY ON SLOANE STREET: Liberty of London, the in-house accessories brand from the iconic London department store, will soon have its own home. The first Liberty of London stand-alone store will open at 197 Sloane Street in Knightsbridge, near Louis Vuitton and Alberta Ferretti, according to industry sources. The store, which is set to open in early spring, will span 1,800 square feet over two floors. The Liberty of London brand carries women’s and men’s accessories, swimwear and small leather goods.
C’EST SI BON: If there’s one woman who can jump-start the heart of an old institution, it’s Eartha Kitt. The former Catwoman performed a short cabaret act Tuesday evening to inaugurate the newly renovated Café Carlyle in Manhattan, purring her audience, which included Elaine Stritch, Regis and Joy Philbin and Joan Rivers, into submission. She kicked off her steamy set by staring down and seducing a man in the front row and it just got hotter from there. Wearing a red velvet gown with a dangerously high slit on the leg, Kitt bumped, ground and gently thrusted her way through hits like “C’est Si Bon,” “I Wanna Be Evil,” and “Where Is My Man?” The 80-year-old then tested some guests’ Spanish-language skills and even offered unsolicited beauty advice to female guests feasting on their crème brûlée. “No more sugar,” she snapped, following it with a raspy laugh.
CALIFORNIA COOL: South Coast Plaza, in Costa Mesa, Calif., offered two starkly different models of cool on Tuesday night when Justin Timberlake and Gucci hosted separate soirées. At Nordstrom, Timberlake and his design partner, Trace Ayala, greeted fans of their premium denim brand, William Rast. Jennifer Schroeder, a 29-year-old account executive from Irvine, Calif., acknowledged that celebrity trumped fashion when it came to her interest in the Los Angeles-based label. Still, she bought two pairs of jeans because “they sit pretty low, they have a good form on the leg and they fit a bigger butt girl,” she said. Ayala and Timberlake said the focus on the backside was deliberate. “Most other brands will have one fit model,” Ayala said. Timberlake added: “We actually did the opposite. We tried the jean on 10 different asses — all female.”
Though the duo won’t present their spring collection at Los Angeles Fashion Week in October, they said they’ll be back next year to show their fall 2008 lineup, which will expand into dresses and other sportswear. “We feel confident about the denim to try new things,” Timberlake said.
At the Gucci shop outside of Nordstrom, VIP customers and members of the Orange County Museum of Art donned little black dresses to celebrate the remodeling of the 11,765-square-foot shop, which includes a 4,438-foot expansion sleekly decorated with polished stainless steel, rosewood and beige lacquered panels.