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GREY POWER: Just what the doctor ordered for the lackluster celebrity turnout at the Italian shows: Patrick Dempsey, star of “Grey’s Anatomy” and Donatella Versace’s spring men’s wear campaign, is slated to be in her front row on Thursday night and has been a guest of the designer at the Versace villa in Como.
FIRST LADY: Plucked from relative obscurity to star in Ang Lee’s erotic thriller “Lust, Caution,” Chinese actress Tang Wei made her fashion debut by attending Salvatore Ferragamo’s show Tuesday. “It was the first time I’ve watched a show,” said the 28-year-old, who also was in Milan for the first time. “It reminded me of when I used to be a model part time.” Wei is keeping her fingers crossed for another chance to work with the acclaimed director of “Brokeback Mountain” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” “I’m hoping. My company is still in discussions but they haven’t decided,” she said. Wei also has her eyes on another first: fronting an ad campaign for Ferragamo or another luxury brand. Cue tall, blue-eyed Roberto Bolle, La Scala’s principal dancer and Ferragamo’s new face, who was mobbed by paparazzi.
“You are one of the few who attract both men and women,” said Ferragamo chief Michele Norsa with a laugh. Bolle will be the star attraction at the brand’s 80th anniversary celebrations in Shanghai at the end of March. “I will dance to a mix of Mozart and a modern electronic piece together with Greta Hodgkinson,” revealed Bolle, who is currently engaged with “Romeo and Juliet” at La Scala.
THRILL A MINUTE: South Korean movie star Ha Ji Won is quite the fashion chameleon. For her most recent role, she wore a traditional Korean costume, albeit “a little bit Japanese geisha,” she said with a giggle at the Moschino show Tuesday morning. Next up for the 29-year-old is a science-fiction thriller. “It’s a kind of blockbuster,” Won said, describing her role as “a kind of Angelina Jolie à la ‘Tomb Raider.'”
CRASH LANDING: The Italian shows ran extra late on Tuesday after the platform for photographers gave way at Sportmax, the second show in the lineup. The incident echoed a similar collapses at Fendi and Dsquared two years ago; however, nobody was injured. “Our safety is always the last to be taken into consideration,” grumbled one snapper. The show went on, with the photographers positioning themselves near the runway.
This story first appeared in the February 20, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
AUCTION PARTNERS: Yves Saint Laurent dean Pierre Bergé has signed an agreement with Phillips de Pury auction house to stage jewelry auctions together in Geneva. Bergé’s own Paris-based auction house has carved out a niche in the marketplace with its jewelry department. Bergé said the first auction with de Pury would be later this spring.
FAMILY AFFAIR: It was a meeting of the voices at Blumarine. The Indonesian singer Anggun and the Israeli Noa improvised a brief duet before the show, egged on by a journalist. The two had never sung together, but both said they “would love to.” Anggun has other priorities now, though, as she is still breast-feeding her three-month-old daughter, Kirana. “I’m her slave,” Anggun sighed. “I do sing her to sleep, but I’m not sure she really likes it….” Besides those private performances, Anggun, who is based in Paris, is working on a new album. Meanwhile, Noa’s latest album, “Genes and Jeans,” is ready to go and the performer will kick off her tour at the end of March. “The idea is to look at my Yemenite roots, contrasting with my American upbringing,” she said. Noa even tapped her grandmother to perform on one of the singles.
NAUTICA CLOSING BELL: Nautica rang in not only its 25th anniversary and the launch of nautica.com, but also the New York Stock Exchange’s closing bell Tuesday. Denise Seegal, president and chief executive officer of Nautica parent VF Sportswear, performed the symbolic act alongside Nautica-bedecked male models.
JOIN THE CLUB: Florence will have its first Four Seasons Hotel in May, in the 16th century Palazzo della Gherardesca, owned by former Calvin Klein licensee Fingen SpA. At the same time, Fingen’s real estate division, RDM, is developing Italy’s first private residence club in Florence: Club Tornabuoni, in the heart of the city, will stretch an entire block between Via Tornabuoni and Via Strozzi, and contain 36 apartments for 288 members in a historical palazzo that once belonged to the Medicis. “This is all about luxury lifestyle, connected to wine tasting, cooking lessons, exclusive cultural excursions, shopping and traditional craftsmanship,” said Jacopo Mazzei, chairman and chief executive officer of RDM. Noting the apartments will be furnished with the best of Made in Italy design, such as Boffi kitchens, Mazzei said that, for added service, the club will be managed by the Four Seasons. The residences will be ready in the fall. “Thirty percent of the memberships have already been sold,” said Mazzei.
DANCE PARTY: Sportswomen Kristi Yamaguchi and Monica Seles have no qualms about appearing under dressed when they compete. That should serve them well when they compete next month for the first time on “Dancing With the Stars” Each is known to have a penchant for designer labels, which could be used to their advantage should either hold on until the finals. Nearly 25 million viewers tuned in last time.
ON A HIGH NOTE: The Isaac Mizrahi-Mark Morris designer-choreographer combo strikes again. The designer will suit up Morris’ dance group for Henry Purcell’s new production of King Arthur at New York City Opera. The duo will serve as co-chairs of the spring gala on March 5, which will honor City Opera’s board member Edmée de M. Firth.
won and sportmax PHOTOs BY STEPHANE FEUGERE