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A POLITICIAN’S NEXT ACT: In spreading the word about charity initiatives, any good former head of state knows that his or her Rolodex is one of their best assets. “There’s so much you can do because you can at least access the contacts,” former British prime minister Tony Blair admitted Tuesday night at an event at the Hearst Tower honoring his wife Cherie and her Foundation for Women. And he revealed that one person soon to be working with the foundation is First Lady — for a few weeks more — Laura Bush, although he didn’t offer any advice for her husband, the President. The crowd at the event, hosted by Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey and Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black, included Barbara Walters, Donna Karan, Renée Fleming and Daryl Haddon; Hearst Corp. chief executive officer Frank Bennack and Francisco Costa also attended.
This story first appeared in the December 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
HAIR TODAY…: There was much to be shocked about in the 78-page indictment of Rod R. Blagojevich, the governor of Illinois who was arrested on Monday and charged with corruption. For one, there were the reported conversations in which he is alleged to have discussed selling off Barack Obama’s Senate seat and swore enough times to make even Eddie Murphy blush. But hairdressers all over America needed little else than to look at his hair — “there’s no name for that,” said Calvin Klein’s hairstylist Roberto Novo. “Ugh” — to gasp in horror.
“Jack Lord from ‘Hawaii 5-0’ called. He wants his look back,” said Chris McMillan, the man behind Jennifer Aniston’s famed shag. “It’s very dated,” concurred Sally Hershberger, whose clients have included Meg Ryan, Courtney Love and Hillary Clinton. “And it looks like a wig.” To be fair, chicness has never been a hallmark of politics. Washington is frequently referred to as “Hollywood for ugly people.” There’s even evidence that caring too much about your looks is detrimental if you’re running for office. (See Edwards, John, and Palin, Sarah). But even by the lower standards held to politicians, Blogojevich raised eyebrows. And the mere possibility that his mane might be fake didn’t help. Marc Zowine of Chelsea, N.Y., pointed out that a rug is not exactly an act of honesty: “It’s a cover up. It says a lot about a person.”
RING MY BELL: Mandy Moore will join Coach chairman and chief executive Lew Frankfort in ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Friday. The duo is celebrating a new initiative named Coach Cares, which is a new campaign that supports the philanthropic causes of celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Ryan Reynolds by donating a percentage of sales from top-selling bags and accessories. Each celebrity has selected a bag from which a portion of the proceeds will go to the respective charity. Some organizations chosen by celebrities include Peace Games, The Michael J. Fox Foundation and The Art of Elysium. Coach Cares is featured on the company’s Web site, coach.com, and on Facebook.com until Dec 31.
A ROCK FOR THE RECORD BOOKS: Laurence Graff, the Bond Street jeweler known as the “King of Diamonds,” on Wednesday scooped The Wittelsbach Diamond, an historic 17th century rock, for a record price of $24.3 million. Christie’s in London said the sale set a world record for any diamond — and any jewel — sold at auction. Graff outbid the New York-based Russian Aleks Paul of Essex Global Trading for the 35.56-carat, cushion-shaped stone that has a deep grayish blue color and a VS2 grading. The previous record was $16.5 million for a 100-carat stone auctioned in 1995 in Geneva. The stone has a royal provenance: Maria Teresa, Infanta of Spain, immortalized by the Spanish painter Velazquez when she was a little girl, was given the diamond by her father, Philip IV of Spain.
MENICHETTI MAKES A RETURN: Roberto Menichetti may be making a comeback on the fashion scene. According to sources, Italian apparel brand Cruciani has tapped Menichetti as creative director. Menichetti’s family-owned apparel company is based in the medieval town of Gubbio, in Italy’s central Umbria region, not far from Cruciani’s own headquarters in Trevi. Luca Caprai, founder and chief executive officer of Cruciani, has been steadily expanding the cashmere knitwear brand into a lifestyle collection for women and men. A spokeswoman for Cruciani declined to comment and phone calls to Menichetti were not returned at press time. If he joins Cruciani, it will be the latest in a string of jobs held by the designer in the last decade—- beginning with Burberry under then-ceo Rose Marie Bravo, then Cerruti in 2001, his own collection a year later and, in 2004, a year-long stint at Celine. He discontinued his own line two years ago.
WITH HONORS: Next April, Parsons The New School for Design will honor Calvin Klein Inc. president and chief executive officer Tom Murry and Calvin Klein Collection women’s creative director Francisco Costa at its 61st benefit. The two join such designers and executives who have been honored in the past as Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta. “Together, they represent the importance of bringing together sharp business acumen and a strong design sensibility in order to succeed in the industry — a principle we try to instill in our students,” said Parsons Dean Tim Marshall of Murry and Costa. The gala will take place at Cipriani Wall Street on April 29.