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GIRLS ON FILM: It’s no secret Giorgio Armani has a thing for Hollywood, from “American Gigolo” to “The Untouchables” to red carpets around the globe. Now he’s moved into the romantic comedy genre. The designer wardrobed Katherine Heigl in several scenes in “The Ugly Truth,” which opens nationwide today. Armani worked with costume designer Betsy Heimann on the looks, which are from Emporio Armani and include a trenchcoat and suede jacket. The pièce de résistance, though, could well be a little black cocktail dress Heigl sports in a key scene. Armani certainly thinks so: A version of the dress will be available at Armani/5th Avenue in Manhattan and at the Emporio Armani boutique in Los Angeles for $950, beginning next week.
READY FOR REPLAY: Replay heirs Silvia and GianPaolo Buziol swung through New York for men’s market week on their first trip as company ambassadors. Silvia, 25, and GianPaolo, 17, are the daughter and son, respectively, of Replay founder Claudio Buziol, who died in 2005. With their mother, Paola, they now own Replay and its parent company, Fashion Box Group, which posted sales of $448.3 million in 2008. The siblings hosted a party at Cipriani Downtown on Monday for retailers and Italian-American notables.
“Growing up, I never wanted to join the company because girls always have to go against their dads,” said Silvia, who graduated from college earlier this month and originally planned to be a teacher. But starting in September, she will officially join Replay and is currently on a crash course learning the business, with creative director Gigi Vezzola as her mentor. “He’s my guru,” she noted of the designer, who joined Replay in January following stints at Dolce & Gabbana, Pirelli and Samsonite Black Label.
GianPaolo is still in high school and plans to study business management in college, before officially joining Replay down the road.
The siblings will have challenges facing them, as the company’s sales declined 3.6 percent last year. The U.S. contributes less than 5 percent of sales. “I don’t think there has been a focused strategy in place of the U.S.,” said Gaetano Sallorenzo, who joined Replay as ceo last year. “We are trying to reposition the brand here and put a new team into place.”
The company has signed a new U.S. distributor, Studio Tog, and plans to open a new Miami flagship in December, joining units in New York and Los Angeles.
HERE’S THE SCOOP: Zac Posen, Jonathan Adler and Bird Boutique’s Jennifer Mankins are among the silent auction donors for Blue Marble Ice Cream’s fund-raiser Sunday for Rwanda’s first ice cream shop. This is new terrain for Blue Marble owners Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen, who have two family-friendly Brooklyn stores. Odile Gakire Katese, founder of Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda’s first women’s drumming group, suggested the Rwandan outpost with the hope of sweetening life there. Her troupe is now learning the ropes of making and selling ice cream and they will bang on the drum for the likes of Sally Field, Billy Crudup and others expected at Sunday’s fund-raiser.
FIRST TIMER: Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare, the British company known for its botanical-based products, is breaking into a new product category and will launch its first fragrance in October. Botanical Essence Eau de Parfum No. 1 will launch in the U.K. on Oct. 12, and a U.S. rollout will follow, most likely in the spring, according to Liz Earle. “One of the most common requests from our customers was for a fragrance,” she said. The fresh, zippy fragrance has top notes including bergamot and mandarin, middle notes of rose absolute and lavender and base notes of cedar wood and tonka bean absolute. Ninety-eight percent is directly derived from natural ingredients, said Earle, adding the scent was developed in-house with perfumer Jean Charles Niel at the Laboratoire Monique Rémy in Grasse, France. The fragrance is priced at 39.50 pounds, or $64.80 at current exchange, for a 50-ml. bottle.
DOLLAR DIPLOMACY: While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was making the case for stronger democracies among Southeast Asian nations during her two-day visit to Bangkok this week, her staff found time to do some jewelry shopping.
Dropping in Tuesday afternoon to Venus Jewelers, just a five-minute walk from the American Embassy, staffers bought a treasure trove of gems. The most expensive buy was a black star sapphire and diamond gold pendant and earrings, which was wrapped up for $650. One member of the Democratic administration’s staff bought a gold elephant pendant, which in Thailand symbolizes the strength of the monarchy. Other buys included a white pearl ring, green jade earrings and gold earrings. About 10 staffers spent a total of close to $4,000 in their one-hour shopping spree.
“We didn’t expect them to spend much money because of the state of the economy,” a spokesman at Venus Jewelers said.
Past U.S. dignitaries have been treated to secret visits by Venus representatives who carried suitcases of gems to their hotels. First lady Barbara Bush bought some of her ubiquitous pearls at Venus, and president Bill Clinton was given a pair of Ming Dynasty pottery cuff links set in silver. With its walls lined with pictures of U.S. officials who have shopped there over the years, the shop caters almost exclusively to the American expatriate clientele in Thailand.