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Hilary Swank may be a high flyer in Hollywood, but the actress is yet to earn her wings. “I don’t know how to fly, but I hope to learn very shortly,” said a sinewy Swank, who was taking time out from filming “Amelia Earhart” to attend Giorgio Armani’s Prive couture show Monday night. “But I can sky dive,” she said. Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy” was feeling more grounded, to say the least. “I’m a well-paid slave, tied down to ABC,” said Pompeo, who plans to tone down her self-described “daredevil” image, due to the writers’ strike, on the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild this Sunday. The actress, who spent Tuesday going for fittings in Paris, said the current climate calls for “less bling.” Her rebellious streak may yet win through, though. “Watch me show up in McQueen – with a headdress,” she deadpanned.
Sophia Loren said she was working on her musical début themed around Federico Fellini. “I’m a professional, and all professionals can sing,” she explained. Attending her first couture show, fast-rising British actress Rebecca Hall said she just wrapped up Woody Allen’s “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” opposite Scarlett Johansson and Ron Howard’s “Frost/Nixon.”
“That’s good for fashion,” she said of the latter film. “It’s set in the Seventies and so I got to wear a lot of Halston replicas. I loved it.”
WOOED BY FASHION: Among new faces in couture’s front row this season is Jennifer Woo, president of Hong Kong-based fashion retailer Lane Crawford, who just might join the ranks of high-fashion clients soon. “Maybe. Let’s see,” she demurred. Woo and Lane Crawford’s fashion director Sarah Rutson are also here to take in the trends at couture. “It’s the essence, the top, the pinnacle of fashion and we need to make sure that’s kept alive,” said Woo, whose adventures at couture are also being documented for a feature in Vogue.
TOMB RAIDERS: A decor worthy of a “Harry Potter” film—including old tomes, skulls, stuffed owls and hunks of mineral—awaited guests at Louis Vuitton’s bash Monday night for a new fine jewelry collection by Pharrell Williams and Camille Miceli. Holding court at a private mansion on Avenue Foch, Williams welcomed the likes of Sofia Coppola, Natalia Vodianova, Audrey Marnay and Dita Von Teese. Coppola confirmed she’ll soon be back in action, currently working on a script. Elsewhere, French thespians Joanna Preiss, Elodie Bouchez and Romain Duris huddled on an old-fashioned couch discussing their precious heirlooms. “It’s from the Twenties and belonged to the grandmother of my best friend,” said Preiss of a gold chain bracelet. The actress-cum-model said she’d just shot the American Retro campaign with Terry Richardson. Freckle-faced Marnay, who stars in Cedric Klapisch’s new film, “Paris,” said she is also keeping a foot in modeling, having just shot a campaign for the French jewelry brand Fred, in which she stars with rising French indie actor Melvil Poupaud.
CONFESSIONS ON A RUNWAY: Chanel’s couture show Tuesday attracted an eclectic mix of women from film and music, including Cécile Cassel, who stars in the forthcoming British romantic comedy “My Last Five Girlfriends.” “I’m one of the five ex-girlfriends _ they’re not mine!” Cassel said. The French actress is now filming a HBO biopic about Coco Chanel, in which she plays one of the designer’s actress friends. “She was the first actress to really help Chanel,” said Cassel. Marie-Josée Croze, of “The Diving Bell And Butterfly” fame, shooed her friends away so she could promote her upcoming films to journalists. “I’m working right now,” she hollered. The Quebecois actress has two movies out this spring: “The New Protocol,” followed by “Two Days to Kill.” Marianne Faithfull said she has a new album, “Easy Come Easy Go,” coming out in September. “We recorded live in the studio in New York — the old way,” said Faithfull, who revealed she’s also been asked by Perrier-Jouet to help create a special Champagne. “The only thing is I don’t drink. I’ll have to get someone else to do the tasting.” Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi debuted a daring new pixie haircut by Kamo Katsuya – and she’s dealing with blades in her next movie, too. “I play a fighter. I love action films,” she said. French actress Clémence Poésy, however, is more lover than fighter in her next movie “It’s another love story,” said the thespian of her upcoming project, a British film dubbed “Heartless.” Madonna’s stylist, who goes by the name of B., was also in the audience. Having just wrapped up working on Madonna’s next album cover, shot by Steven Klein, the trendsetter said she was returning to London the next day to style a music video featuring Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. “Madonna’s look is going to be more edgy, more fresh—with no more disco,” she said.
BIRTHDAY GALORE: Boucheron, the jewelry house, celebrated its 150th anniversary Monday by treating its best (paying) clients and a handful of stars—Julianne Moore, Diane Kruger, Naomi Campbell and Michelle Yeoh—to a gala evening of art, jewelry and food. After a private showing of the house’s new million-dollar-plus collection of baubles against a backdrop of contemporary art—Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Maurizio Cattelan, et al, culled from PPR owner Francois Pinault’s collection – the moneyed band was whisked to the neighboring Petit Palais for dinner, where Emmanuelle Seigner belted out “Happy Birthday” in a breathy Monroe style. Americans Susan Casden, Kassidy Choi Schagrin, and Christine Suppes opted for Christian Lacroix couture, while Becca Cason Thrash wore Dior and Suzanne Sapperstein tried on Stephane Rolland. Across the room, Danielle Steel held court with daughters Samantha and Vanessa Traina. Moore, in grey Yves Saint Laurent accessorized with the obligatory Boucheron sparklers, is the house’s mascot for the anniversary year. But bling was far from the only thing on the actress’ mind. “When I asked if anyone knew who won the Packers-Giants game you could have heard a pin drop,” she laughed. “Believe me, I won’t be wearing any jewelry when I watch the SuperBowl. I’d tear it off in excitement.”
WHEN DUTY CALLS: “We were joking it should be called ‘Inheriting Duty,’” said Roberta Armani at a dinner to fete the launch of Roger Moenks’ book “Inheriting Beauty.” Many of the women featured showed up, eager to talk about various projects. British socialite Tamara Beckwith is opening a luxury boutique in London this year. “It’ll be my dream shop,” she said. “If you have to go on holiday, and all you have is a credit card, it will sell everything you need for the trip.” MB Beach Couture, the luxury beachwear line founded by Maria Buccellati, meanwhile. has collaborated with Rock & Republic on a jeans line for fall. The deal came about, said Buccellati, when Rock & Republic executives met Harrods fashion director Marigay McKee—who was sporting the label’s jeans with an MB top. The collection featuring MB’s cashmere stitching will hit stores for fall. Photographer Moenks, meanwhile, is switching direction for his next book. “It’ll be the 50 most eminent environmentalists,” he said, describing hopes to include the likes of Prince Charles and Hillary Clinton.
ROBED TALENT: Celebrity colorist Christophe Robin unveiled a bathrobe collection at Maria Luisa Monday night before the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni and Nicole Garcia. “I’ve always collected bathrobes,” explained Robin, saying his vintage collection spans the ages and he has many from old Hollywood movies. One, for instance, was worn by Tony Curtis in “Some Like It Hot.” Robin’s new bathrobes are made to order in his atelier employing four seamstresses, aged 76 to 82, who were chosen for their savoir-faire. However, none of this is to say a change of career is in the works for Robin; his main focus remains on hair hues. “I have no ambition to be a designer,” said Robin. “I make my bathrobes for fun.”
SUNDANCE SCOOPS: It seems actors have finally caught on to the Swagdance stigma—at least for appearance’s sake. While the various gift suites at the Sundance Film Festival were crawling with stars, very few save for the Paris Hilton-Kim Kardashion types were willing to have their photos snapped while grabbing free stuff—which this year ranged from the useful (thermals, jeans and snowboards) to the not so much (“Guitar Hero,” long sari-printed sundresses). Perhaps one of the best-known actresses at the festival, Sarah Jessica Parker, was also the most elusive, refusing photos, granting only one interview (to People magazine) and generally acting like a hermit instead of someone with a movie, “Smart People,” to promote. Still, she did make time to hit the Fred Segal gift suite at The Lift, walking away with a $270 Spyder ski jacket (the same style Demi Moore has and a favorite of Parker’s son James) and two pairs of $330 Love From Australia shearling boots, known as the dressier UGG alternative at the fest. Maria Bello and Jessica Alba were among the other stars to favor the brands, whose publicist wasted no time transmitting their quotes over the Internet as well as a (non-posed) photo of Alba wearing her shearling boots around town.
Meanwhile, film acquisitions were markedly slower this year, with only a handful of deals coming through in the festival’s first five days: the documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” the dramedies “Henry Poole is Here,” and “Choke” starring Luke Wilson and Sam Rockwell, respectively, and the ensemble comedy “Hamlet2.” Insiders cite the return of shrewdness on buyers’ parts rather than the news-making yet inflated deals of years past that failed to turn big box office profits. Still, some of the most marketable features, including the Amy Adams-Emily Blunt dark comedy “Sunshine Cleaning;” the coming of age pic “The Wackness” starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Olivia Thirlby with a cameo by Mary-Kate Olsen, and the genre thriller “Transsiberian” starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer and Kate Mara, are still in play.