THE EMPEROR CHATS: Continuing his publicity blitz for “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary on the designer’s career and final collection, Valentino stopped by “The Martha Stewart Show” on Tuesday to talk up the film with Stewart, who has been a friend since the pair met at a New York party a decade ago. “We both love gardens, fashion, pets (especially dogs) and great beauty,” she e-mailed before the show, which airs Friday.
Indeed, the duo discussed dogs (“I always have a big passion for pugs,” Valentino said), and the designer’s American introduction: “Jackie Kennedy made me famous in the United States,” he told Stewart. “She was really the most important woman in my life.” While Valentino mentioned on the show that his plans to design the costumes for the Moscow Opera’s 2010 production of “La Traviata” have been postponed due to a lack of funding, afterward he shot down rumors that he had a hand in his namesake line’s recent collection. “No, not at all,” he said. “Very far from the truth. I don’t think about it. I wish my assistants to do the best. It’s a big job, though, and to know my name goes on the designs, I want them to do the best.” In fact, the economy has left him somewhat relieved to be out of the game. “Sometimes I am very egoist, and I am very glad that I left when I did,” he said. “To see the buyers, they love your things but they don’t buy, that would be very hard.” His advice to young designers who are still working? “Continue to do beautiful things,” Valentino said. “I don’t know if I would tell them to be careful. People are very down, so cheer up people with something beautiful.”
This story first appeared in the March 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
STAR ATTRACTION: “My favorite thing about parties is the gift bags,” said Avril Lavigne before the fete she hosted at London’s Punk club wound down Tuesday evening. Chances are the Canadian chanteuse was particularly partial to the ones handed out at the soiree, since they included bottles of Black Star, her debut fragrance concocted with Procter & Gamble Prestige Products. The scent, which includes notes of pink hibiscus, black plum and dark chocolate, will launch in July.
WHEN ZUCCHELLI MET KELLY: Saks Fifth Avenue on Wednesday hosted a small dinner to toast its new soft shop for Calvin Klein Collection men’s and honor Italo Zucchelli, creative director of the collection. Sales in the shop exceeded plans for February and are on track for March. Suits, lightweight fabrics and color have been selling best. Remember the startling neon-red suit Zucchelli showed for spring? A Saks shopper nearing his 40th birthday reportedly insisted on buying the sample off a mannequin. (And a few more of the red suits have flown off the racks at Calvin Klein’s Madison Avenue store. The blinding yellow one, alas, was not produced.)
Actor Michael Kelly was the wild card among Saks’ dinner guests, the rest of whom were editors or members of the Saks and Calvin Klein teams. Kelly, who had an arc on the “Sopranos” and played the good detective in “The Changeling,” has two films in the works now — one with Russell Crowe and one with Woody Harrelson.
TOMMY’S AID: Tommy Hilfiger is once again lending a helping hand to the non-profit organization Breast Health International, this time with the help of Helena Christensen. On April 1, Hilfiger will launch his third limited edition bag, which will be sold in select European boutiques. The bag will go for 349 euros, or $452, half of which will be donated to the Fund for Living – created to support women diagnosed with breast cancer. Last year Hilfiger, together with Sotheby’s and French First Lady Carla Bruni, raised 113,000 euros, or $146,000, for the non-profit through the sale of a one-of-a-kind bag and auction. The April event will take place in the Tommy Hilfiger store in Piazza Oberdan, Milan. Sotheby’s will also conduct an auction of art photography, musical memorabilia and vintage Tommy Hilfiger furniture, all to benefit the fund.
A NEW BOSS: After 15 years with Hugo Boss, Katja Douedari, the company’s U.S. vice-president of marketing and public relations, exited the firm in early March. “I felt it was the right time to move on and do something different,” said Douedari. Her immediate plans are to give birth to twins, a boy and a girl, who are due in about two weeks. Hugo Boss is currently in the process of recruiting a new head of marketing and p.r. for the U.S., and hopes to have the process complete by June, according to Philipp Wolff, director of worldwide communications at the Metzingen, Germany-based company.