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FROM LEGEND TO LEGEND: Ralph Lauren, who’s receiving an American Fashion Legend Award at this year’s Council of Fashion Designers of America’s 2007 Fashion Awards, will have the honor bestowed upon him by a legend in her own right. Oprah Winfrey will present the special award to the designer, who is celebrating his 40th anniversary in business this year. It will be Winfrey’s first time at the event, which takes place June 4 at the New York Public Library. Winfrey, who has her own Legends Ball to honor African-American women, has featured designers on her show in recent seasons. Could an Oprah special on Ralph be far behind?
COCO JOVO: Karl Lagerfeld continues to populate Chanel campaigns with famous women. The designer has selected model-actress-designer Milla Jovovich to pose for the brand’s fall-winter handbag and accessories campaign. Diane Kruger is featured in Chanel’s current campaign.
PUCCI’S RECRUIT?: Could colorful swirls be in Delphine Arnault‘s future? Speculation is mounting that Bernard Arnault‘s daughter could join the LVMH-owned Pucci brand in a top position. A spokesman for LVMH declined to comment. This year marks Pucci’s 60th anniversary and the company will celebrate on May 19 and 20 in Florence with a retrospective installation at Palazzo Pucci and a party. Last month, Didier Drouet was appointed chief executive at the fashion house, replacing Catherine Vautrin, who is expected to be back on the scene in September.
AZZARO’S NEW BAG: Azzaro designer Vanessa Seward, who arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday for her annual spring sojourn to the West Coast and a dinner party hosted by Cameron Silver at Sunset Tower Thursday, revealed that the French house, now owned by the Spanish private equity firm Reig Capital, has inked a deal to produce handbags with Judith Lieber for spring 2008. “They won’t be your typical jeweled minaudière, though both Azzaro and Lieber are known for their sparkle,” said Seward, decked out in a new copper silk jersey cocktail dress with twisted gold lamé straps. “I think I have found a way to do a bag that is uniquely Azzaro.” Though she remained coy, Seward dropped some clues about her next clothing collection: “I will be using some chiffon, and doing some minidresses and bohemian shapes. One of my inspirations is ‘Sweet Charity,’ with a bit of danger, of course.” The evening was a typical Continental-meets-Hollywood affair: actresses Julie Delpy, Radha Mitchell and Angie Harmon and stylists Tanya Gill and Tara Swennen sipped aperitifs and lounged on the terrace sofas overlooking the Los Angeles lights. “There is nothing subtle about me right now,” joked Harmon, who wore a floor-length navy jeweled gown. “I am even wearing blue eye shadow to match my dress!”
JOYCE’S WAY: The invitation might have read “cocktail” dress, but nearly everyone turned up in Yohji Yamamoto. The event was a private dinner hosted by fashion maven Joyce Ma to kick off a series of celebrations marking the reopening and expansion of the Joyce flagship in Hong Kong, as well as the debut of Joyce in Shanghai. Fashion designer John Rocha, who flew in from Dublin with his wife and business partner, Odette Gleeson, put it best when he said: “It’s Joyce. We’re happy to come whenever she asks for anything.”
Rocha wasn’t the only name jetting to Hong Kong and on to Shanghai for the festivities. The biggest star was Yohji Yamamoto himself, who attended the dinner with his mother, Fumi. Also on hand were handbag designer and former model Celestina Ocampo; Korean makeup legend Kyung Min, whose Vidi Vici cosmetics are a hit in Asia; Santiago Gonzalez, whose mother, designer Nancy Gonzalez, flew in from Columbia for the openings, and senior management from more than 20 fashion houses, including those of John Galliano, Hugo Boss, Jil Sander, Oscar de la Renta and Dries Van Noten.
Ma’s glamorous sister, Bonnie Gokson, orchestrated the dinner, including booking Grissini at the Grand Hyatt, and convincing chefs from two restaurants to collaborate on a unique East-meets-West menu, which featured Chinese roasted duck and red wine risotto. Gokson also was behind one of the highlights of the evening when opera singers disguised as waitstaff suddenly broke into song, serenading famous guests with famous arias.
Joyce’s daughter, Adrienne Ma, who is president of the company, said she tried to keep her speech short, but the list of people to thank for traveling so far was overwhelming. She described the new stores as “our little splendors.” Joyce Ma herself, glamorous in Yohji and diamonds, talked about the 37-year evolution her vision has undergone. “The store represents my passion and my curiosity. If nothing else, it is my way to say thank you to Hong Kong,” she said.
LIM’S LONDON: “It’s like a little fashion show!” said designer Phillip Lim, casting his eye around the dining room, where guests were wearing his delicately embellished dresses. Lim was the guest of honor at a dinner in London thrown by Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-a-porter, to mark the third season of 3.1 Phillip Lim at the online store. Guests in the private dining room at Home House included Melissa Odabash, Elizabeth Saltzman and Kirsty Young, who dined on grilled fish, followed by sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Lim has just as loyal a following in London as he has in New York, which is why his business partner, Wen Zhou, said she was planning to scout for possible store locations in London. Lim’s first stand-alone store is set to open in New York in July.
SNAP HAPPY: A fashion-heavy crowd showed up at Allure’s party for photographer Patrick Demarchelier at the Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted by editor in chief Linda Wells. Among those in attendance were Diane von Furstenberg, André Leon Talley, Michael Kors, Amy Astley and Rachel Zoe, all of whom said they loved the photographer, even if they cannot understand half of what comes out of his mouth. “He speaks his own language,” said Kors. Lowell called it “Franglish.” “I understand every third word,” said Wells. “The rule of the conversation is: Keep it simple,” advised Astley.
Further down on Park Avenue, Arie and Coco Kopelman were honoring their daughter, Jill Kargman, and her new novel, “Momzillas.” The scene was practically a chapter come to life, with Manhattan mummies Jennifer Creel, Celerie Kemble, Helen Schifter and Muffie Potter Aston in attendanc.