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ART NOUVEAU: Forget about martial arts: Lucy Liu is wielding a paintbrush and turning out large-scale canvases. “I have an exhibit opening in Munich on May 8,” Liu said at the Christian Dior show on Monday. “I have been painting ever since I was 18.” Also quite the Francophile, Liu said she was taking intensive French classes. “I work a lot with UNICEF, and I want to be able to not use a translator,” she said. Clotilde Courau is likewise adding another string to her bow. The French actress has penned a musical show called “En Douce,” featuring tracks by Serge Gainsbourg and with herself in the starring role. It will make its debut in the fall. French actress Marina Hands next month starts filming “Le Code a Changé,” directed by Danièle Thompson, alongside Emmanuelle Seigner. Back in the third row at Dior, with a big smile, was Italian designer Anna Molinari, a big fan of the house, it turns out. “I think [John] Galliano is the best designer in the world. After that, there’s Anna Molinari,” she said with a laugh. The designer said she just bought an apartment in Paris for her daughter, Rossella Tarabini, in Saint Germain des Prés that boasts a view of the Deux Magots cafe.
Penélope Cruz’s little sister, Mónica, who sat front row, said she’d taken time off from shooting her latest flick, “Love My Mum,” to see the show. “We’re filming between Spain and Morocco,” she said, adding that, aside from her gig for Spanish retailer Mango, she just shot an ad campaign for the Japanese leather goods brand Samantha Thavasa.
GET UP AND GO: Karl Lagerfeld just goes with the flow, which, in his case, is a torrent of collections and shows, including ones for Chanel, his signature label and a special Fendi presentation this week. “I live in my own little world, sketching and drawing. I’m told what to do every day. I didn’t even know where this [party] was till I came here,” he said Sunday night upon arrival at the Mini Palais restaurant, site of an event toasting the European launch of T Magazine, hosted by Suzy Menkes and Stefano Tonchi, and the International Herald Tribune’s Stephen Dunbar-Johnson. Other designers were feeling the pressure. “We have to get back to the studio to go over makeup,” said Viktor & Rolf’s Rolf Snoeren, looking a tad tense, while Jean Paul Gaultier said he was going to have to pull a Cinderella to manage a late night. Lagerfeld muse Amanda Harlech said she’s been researching a book project for the designer. “It’s about a fictional character, born in 1919, who marries five times,” she said. Colette’s Sarah Lerfel, who turns to Coca-Cola to keep her energy levels up, disclosed that Juergen Teller would be coming to the store today to sign his new photo tome based on the Vivienne Westwood campaign. Smokers held court on a packed pavilion outside. “It gives you a good excuse to leave a room,” deadpanned Jarvis Cocker of Paris’ new smoking ban. The lanky Britpop singer hinted at a project for an upcoming Wes Anderson film.
ON THE RECORD: Spinning some records seems to be the favorite way for designers to blow off steam these days. Gareth Pugh is slated to hit the decks tonight at a party hosted by Richard Mortimer of Boombox fame, while YSL’s Stefano Pilati and actress-designer Chloë Sevigny are in the lineup for Saturday’s Colette/Self Service bash at Le Lup.
SNAP HAPPY: Dutch model Iekeliene Stange is doing double duty at the Paris shows. During lulls between getting her hair and makeup done at Dior on Monday, she shot black-and-white photos of backstage goings-on — “from my perspective,” she said. Stange said she plans to mount an exhibition in London of numerous seasons worth of fashion. Already her images have had exposure in publications such as Muse, The Room, Madame Figaro and Japanese Harper’s Bazaar.