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LADY BUNCH: After a busy schedule promoting “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Strangers,” Liv Tyler decided to treat her little sister, Chelsea, who’s studying music, to the couture week experience. “Tomorrow is my birthday,” said the actress at the Christian Dior show Monday. “Being together is a big celebration, and you can’t get any bigger than Paris.”
Eva Mendes said she has just finished a remake of George Cukor’s 1939 film “The Women.” “I play Joan Crawford’s character. It has a lot of fashion in it,” she said.
Janet Jackson plans to put a mix of fashions into her forthcoming lingerie collection, due for release at year’s end. “It’s classic, but modern with a bit of vintage inspiration,” she said.
Actress Jessica Chastain said she just wrapped “Tree of Life,” directed by Terrence Malick, alongside Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. The actress also presented “Jolene” at The Seattle Film Festival in June. “She won best actress,” chipped in Chastain’s beau, filmmaker Ned Benson. “I’m the promoting boyfriend,” he said.
Songbird Emmanuelle Seigneur said she’s headed to London next week to perform a duet with Suede’s Brett Anderson. Elsewhere in the front row, Suzy Menkes and Anna Wintour dodged questions about a rumored anniversary lunch with Italian Vogue’s Franca Sozzani before the show, feting 20 years in their respective positions. “It was an off-the-record lunch,” demurred Wintour.
FUNNY BUSINESS: Actress Zhang Ziyi flew into Paris Monday from London, where she’s filming a romantic comedy opposite Hugh Grant, to take in the Armani Privé show. “I play a very famous director from China,” she said. “It’s very funny.” The role gives her a chance to support some homegrown fashion talent, such as Rose Studio.
“The theatricality of the whole thing appeals to me,” was Helen Mirren’s take on couture week, her second or third appearance. The Oscar winner just finished a film directed by her husband, Taylor Hackford. “I play the madam in a brothel, and it’s set in the Seventies so I got to wear some really cool clothes,” she related, citing a black jumpsuit as one example.
“I always tell my mother that Paris can be dangerous — on the wallet,” related actress Kerry Washington, explaining that shopping would rank high on her agenda during her several days in the City of Light before returning to Los Angeles, where she’s filming “A Thousand Words,” costarring Eddie Murphy. “I’ve been working myself up to this role,” she explained. “Now I’m working with the king.”
Meanwhile, Italian actress Claudia Cardinale said she just finished shooting “Le Fil,” in Tunisia, about a Catholic girl who marries a Muslim man in the Fifties. “It’s kind of scandalous,” purred Cardinale, who added that she will be decorated with the highest grade of France’s Legion of Honor by French president Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday, the day after Giorgio Armani gets the same honor. “It will be the third president to decorate me,” she joked. “[François] Mitterrand, [Jacques] Chirac and now Sarkozy. I’m a lucky lady.”
HOT AND DUSTY: “I brought the hot weather from Texas,” sighed Houston socialite Becca Cason Thrash, fanning herself at the cocktail that Lorenz Baumer hosted for her Monday night at his Place Vendôme jewelry salon as the likes of Suzanne Saperstein and Rebecca Carcelle filed in. After hosting a big fund-raiser for the Louvre, Cason Thrash said she’s turning her attention to the home front and hosting a “huge fund-raiser” at her home for Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama. On her way over to Baumer’s showrooms, Cason Thrash said she ran into Roberto Cavalli in the elevator at the Hotel Ritz, who told her he’s opening a store in Dallas. Asked about his dust-covered boots, Cavalli explained he was just at his Rue Cambon store, now under construction. “He said, ‘My dear, I do everything,'” Cason Thrash said.
A JEWEL OF A NIGHT: Bali-based jewelry brand John Hardy hosted an exotic kick-off dinner for Paris couture week at the Four Seasons Hotel George V Sunday night. Mingling with the retailer crowd, including Linda Fargo and Ken Downing of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, respectively, designer Lars Nilsson chatted about his recent visit to the former house of Richard Avedon on New York’s 75th Street. Nilsson was shown around the space by its new owner, Charlotte Sarkozy, sister-in-law of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “I visited the atelier where he took a lot of iconic photos and there’s still the former hair and makeup room and Avedon’s darkroom,” said Nilsson. “It was such a rare opportunity.”
HEAD GAMES: It looks like Louis Vuitton is ready to take its travel theme to another new zenith. Word has it the French luxury giant is in talks to bring an Easter Island Moia to the Tuileries Gardens in Paris next year as part of its wide-ranging art initiatives. The monolithic human-shaped sculptures are carved from rock and weigh up to 75 tons.
JET SET: Attending a barbecue in honor of Corto Moltedo’s new Palais Royal gallery space Friday night, Marc Newson disclosed that he has designed a James Bond-style jetpack to be unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in September. “The idea is that you can use it to fly to your yacht,” said Newson, who is to tie the knot with his sweetheart, Charlotte Stockdale, in Hampshire, England, this week.
“[Azzedine] Alaïa has designed a dress for me and a suit for Marc,” she gushed. Designer Gabrielecorto Moltedo, meanwhile, said the brand’s space will be transformed into a boutique in time for the runway shows in October, stocking one-off designs.
THE SHOE FITS: Kanye West is very much on first-name terms with Louis Vuitton. “I’m here for Louis,” drawled the rapper at Paris’ Jardins de Bagatelle Friday, disclosing that he’s collaborating on a men’s shoes line for the brand. He’s obviously in a creative mood: West was dressed head to toe in his own designs, and said his women’s line will follow for fall.
PHOTOS BY DOMINIQUE MAITRE AND STEPHANE FEUGERE