HAVE GOWN, WILL TRAVEL: It looks like the July couture shows will be a movable fashion feast. Not only is Valentino inviting the high-fashion flock to Rome for his 45th anniversary blowout on July 7, word has it John Galliano will show at Versailles for Christian Dior’s 60th anniversary festivities on July 2 — the Orangerie, to be exact. Models have already been instructed to arrive as much as eight hours in advance of the spectacle. Dior is no stranger to Versailles, having staged its landmark “Matrix” couture show at the Orangerie in 1999.
CAMERA READY: For the 2007 CFDA Fashion Awards coming Monday, several of the films prefacing the awards were made by such high-profile names they could give this year’s Cannes entries a run for their money. Photographer Nick Knight created the short for the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, re-creating a fashion shoot with model Agyness Deyn wearing one look each from nominees Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler. He filmed the sequence on a Webcam to live feed it to his Web site Showstudio.com. Art photographer Ryan McGinley, meanwhile, shot the movie for this year’s Swarovski nominees, combining photographs and an on-location shoot in Woodstock, N.Y., with a cast of people. But the pièce de résistance could well be Mike Figgis’ film introducing Patrick Demarchelier, this year’s Eleanor Lambert Award recipient. Figgis, who directed movies like “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Timecode,” filmed the photographer on a shoot with Uma Thurman. Figgis captured their banter, as well as Thurman’s anecdotes of working with Demarchelier, who shot her for the first time when she was 15.
GOT YOUR BACK: The pre-crowning ousting of Miss Mexico in Sunday’s Miss Universe pageant caused the Mexico City crowd to get so riled up that bodyguards were said to have been brought in for Michelle Kwan, Marc Bouwer, Nina Garcia and the other judges. The fact that Miss USA Rachel Smith took a tumble helped ease the tension, but the home crowd still booed her. Bouwer suited up mistress of ceremonies Vanessa Minnillo, but the event’s winner, Miss Japan Riyo Mori, went home with a Tadashi wardrobe. Before the show, several contestants were said to have thrown caution to the wind, drinking the water for diuretic purposes to assure they fit into their evening gowns.
WESTWOOD, OH!: She was the first fashion type to take the stage at the annual Hay Festival of Literature in Wales — and boy did Dame Vivienne Westwood give her listeners an earful. Much to the packed audience’s dismay, the punk princess turned political activist didn’t want to talk fashion at all. Instead, she laid out a “cultural manifesto,” weaving together elements from “Alice in Wonderland,” “Pinocchio” and Greek philosophy into a diatribe about what art is — or maybe isn’t. Whatever it was, it was hard to follow — even for an audience used to sitting through some heavy-duty political, scientific and cultural debate. Actress Diana Quick, who was moderating the event, tried in vain to steer the conversation back toward frocks, but Westwood insisted that subject bored her. Some people marched out of the tent, those who didn’t were left bewildered. And — true to form — Westwood succeeded in becoming the talking point (so far) of the weeklong festival, which runs until June 3. One audience member was overheard calling Westwood “mental” — and that certainly wouldn’t have been the first time the word was used to describe fashion’s flame-haired enigma. For those who missed it, there is more to come: Dame Vivienne plans to publish the manifesto on her Web site, and — get ready — Brian Grazer has recently bought the rights to her life story.
MEDAL WORKS: Floriane de Saint Pierre, one of Paris’s top fashion recruiters, has been named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. François-Henri Pinault is set to decorate her with the French award of merit at a ceremony in Paris during couture week.
HAT IN HAND: What to wear to a British wedding? That was one of the topics discussed at a lunch at Michael’s last Wednesday to celebrate Cosmopolitan editor in chief Kate White’s latest novel, “Lethally Blonde.” Author Linda Fairstein hosted the event, which drew Kim Cattrall, Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View,” Lesley Stahl, former “Apprentice” judge Carolyn Kepcher, Hilary Gumbel and Joan Carl, president of D. Porthault (one brunette party crasher not allowed was Hearst executive vice president Michael Clinton, whom White had to shoo away — lightheartedly — from the ladies’ lunch). White admitted she was perplexed at whether or not to wear a hat to an upcoming wedding in London. Carl, who has a home there, insisted she do so and choose a topper from her collection of 80 hats. White also got a helpful tip from Cattrall, who was born in the U.K. — in case it’s a windy day, pin the hat to your head with bobby pins. “Lethally Blonde” arrived in bookstores last week.
SHOE STOPPER: Those heading out to the Hamptons this summer will be in for a treat if they take an en route break in Bellport. “Beth Levine: From Farm To Fashion” opens at the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society on June 2, and will showcase many of the original works of the legendary footwear designer, who died last September. The displayed shoes will be presented alongside photographs and other objets that chronicle her life, from her Patchogue, N.Y., childhood to the years in which she shaped American shoe trends. Levine is often credited with having invented the pointed-toe shoe and high-heel backless mule, and her designs often graced the feet of Hollywood types such as Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Cher and Ava Gardner. The exhibit will be open through Labor Day.
GETTING AN A: Martine Sitbon, who returned to the Paris runway last season, is the guest editor of the new edition of Belgium’s A magazine, the twice yearly book that has also been guest edited by the likes of Yohji Yamamoto and Haider Ackermann. Nick Knight and Craig McDean are among the fashion lensmen who lent their talent to the magazine, which has been art directed by Sitbon’s husband, Marc Ascoli. Director Sofia Coppola, artist Jim Dine, actress Tilda Swinton and punk impresario Malcolm McLaren, who interviewed Sitbon, are among the other collaborators on the issue, which will be launched in Paris June 15.
CULTURED CLUB: Gemesis, the Florida-based producer of lab-grown diamonds, is out to woo the London market with its look-alike gems. This week Joan Parker, the former De Beers spokeswoman-turned-Gemesis ambassador, swooped into town to show off jewels made with a mix of cultured yellow diamonds and mined white diamonds. The Gemesis rocks, which take four to five days to form inside a special machine that replicates the high pressures and temperatures of the Earth’s core, cost one-third the real thing. The company has been making only fancy yellow stones so far, but plans are to move into pinks and other fancy colors. Ever the public relations rep, Parker said she doesn’t see any conflict — so to speak — between these diamonds and the real McCoy. “It’s a totally different market — and cultured and mined diamonds can happily coexist,” she said.