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LIGHT IT UP: Marc Jacobs might not have had his own office Christmas party but luckily his boyfriend, Lorenzo Martone, did. The strategic planner, who works at boutique ad agency Chandelier Creative for clients like Parfums Givenchy and Old Navy, helped host a blowout complete with a gospel choir singing holiday songs, a shirtless Santa Claus, a fortune teller and cases of Champagne last Thursday. “This isn’t a nightclub, it’s our offices,” said Martone, who had Jacobs in tow. (Guests could be forgiven for getting confused — the SoHo loft space permanently features kooky design elements like a life-size horse statue and neon light sculptures).
Aptly titled the “Recessionista Christmas Extravaganza,” the fete also functioned as a fund-raiser for the New Museum’s upcoming “Younger Than Jesus” show, with 37 artworks auctioned off during the festivities. The highest bid was for Martone’s photograph, “Yes We Can,” taken by the hobbyist on the night of the presidential election. And no, the winner wasn’t Jacobs, though he offered over $2,000 for the piece. The designer was outbid in the final moments.
SIENNA SHOWS IN LONDON: Spanning five days, London Fashion Week might be a little shorter come February, but there are a few new names to add to the city’s schedule. Sienna and Savannah Miller’s label, Twenty8Twelve, will make its runway debut with an evening show Sunday, Feb. 22, at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue. A spokeswoman for the label said the sisters felt it was “the right time” to show the line on the runway — previously, the collection has been sold from showrooms. The spokeswoman added it’s not confirmed whether former model Sienna will take a turn on the runway in her own designs.
And London-based designer Kinder Aggugini will also stage a runway show in the city for the first time come February, after he mounted a presentation in Paris last season. Aggugini, who has served as head designer at Versace, counts Barneys New York and Dover Street Market in London among his customers. Meanwhile, Mark Fast, an emerging London designer who works up gossamer-fine, weblike knitted dresses, and Mary Katrantzou, who’s known for her tromp l’oeil jewelry designs printed on dresses, will both present their collections on the London Fashion Week schedule for the first time in February, in a back-to-back show scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 24.
ALL THE RIGHT SHOES: Salvatore Ferragamo is known to align itself with ballet, fine art and lush films like “Australia.” But this week its Fifth Avenue flagship held a “Monday Night Football” viewing party. Host Keyshawn Johnson, the former wide receiver and current NFL analyst for ESPN, didn’t arrive from Bristol, Conn., until almost 11 p.m., but guests such as Veronica Webb and CNN’s Veronica De La Cruz had the Browns-Eagles game, a no-fee box pool and heavy hors d’oeuvres to pass the time. Johnson said his real estate projects led to his interest in interior design, which spilled into fashion. He approached Ferragamo because its shoes are his favorites, he said. Now the house dresses him for appearances, and he’s coming to the brand’s men’s show in Milan next month.
HEAD GAMES: Louis Vuitton’s Christmas cards, depicting a row of colossal Easter Island “moai” statues, is yet another hint of tight links between the French luxury goods firm and the remote Polynesian heritage site. Next year, Vuitton will establish a fund to aid sustainable development of the island and host an exhibition at its Espace Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Elysées entitled “Silent Writings” about the ancient lore of the native Rapa Nui people. Word has it one of the giant sculptures is headed for the Tuileries gardens as part of the tie-up.
IN THE RUNNING: “I am not a sporty person,” confessed Puma’s newest team member, French actress Aïssa Maïga, during a showcase for the German firm’s spring collections in Paris last Thursday. Heeled in gold Sergio Rossi for Puma sneaker heels, Maïga, who has signed a one-year contract to represent Puma in France, said she occasionally jogs, including the time she recorded an audio running guide to Paris’ Bois de Boulogne for Puma’s Global Trainaway program. Known for roles in “Paris, je t’aime” and “Russian Dolls,” the 33-year-old hits the silver screen again in February in “Diamond 13” alongside Gérard Depardieu and Asia Argento. In her next role, she plays a painter-turned-prostitute in a movie by French director Dominque Cabrera, while she also hopes to finish her own screenplay next year.
SAKS JANDEL WOOS WASHINGTON: Washington-based retailer Saks Jandel is off to an aggressive start courting the area’s most valuable shoppers in anticipation of inaugural parties. On Sunday, the store hosted its annual holiday benefit, which started off with mimosas at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon and spring 2009 runway shows by J.Mendel and Etro. It appears the designers arrived just in time. One stylish woman said she already has 12 black-tie events to attend during inauguration week.
J.Mendel did $200,000 in sales from the event.
SAIL AWAY: Frenzied day-into-night schedules keep brothers John and Lapo Elkann apart for most of the year, the first concentrated on running the Fiat Group and the latter busy designing and managing his Italia Independent creations.
So the siblings decided to unwind and enjoy some peace and quiet on a sailing trip onboard Stealth, the sleek all-black vessel that belonged to their late grandfather, Gianni Agnelli. From Jan. 2 for 10 days, the young Elkanns will glide across the Atlantic Ocean, setting sail in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, to shore up in the crystal waters of Antigua.
THEY HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY THE SHOW: Pilgrims to Milan men’s fashion week will be offered an exclusive peek at an art exhibit, courtesy of Woolrich Woolen Mills, the designer label spun off from the heritage American brand. Woolen Mills likes to host an exhibition to coincide with the presentation of its fall-winter collection, designed by Daiki Suzuki. This year it will feature a retrospective of Sir Peter Blake, the seminal British Pop artist who created the album cover of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The exhibition, called “Collages and Works on Paper (1956-2008),” will be open to guests of Woolen Mills a month before it opens to the public. Blake was among “the first British artists commenting on American pop culture and how it was influencing English cultures and rituals in the 1960s,” said Luca Caccioni, art director of WP Lavori in Corso, the licensee that created the Woolen Mills business.
CRUNCH BUNCH: After Selfridges’ Credit Crunch chocolate bars, French branding and communication firm Al Dente, founded by Camille Miceli’s little brother, Patrizio, is out to make the financial doldrums fashionable. On Monday, the firm launched a line of T-shirts at Colette splashed with witty slogans on the subject, such as “Credit Crunch Shops at Colette.”
IN PRINT: “The books that last are the ones that don’t have any photos,” said a grinning Joël Robuchon, the star French chef, at his “The Complete Robuchon” book signing at WH Smith in Paris last Thursday. The new translation, published by Grub Street in the U.K. and Knopf in America, is a sleek volume with simple and detailed recipes, no illustrations, and which is meant to be used as a reference. A row of fans lined up to have the chef sign copies of his 800-recipe tome, which includes hearty recipes like cauliflower gratin, plus his last book “Stay Slim.” Meanwhile, the 24-Michelin star chef does not have time to put on much weight himself, having just opened Yoshi, his first Japanese restaurant, in the Métropole hotel in Monaco earlier this month. He also has plans to open an Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami.
HE SAID, SHE SAID: Prominent Paris curator Pamela Golbin of Les Arts Décoratifs figures it’s ladies’ turn. After hosting a series of lectures last year at New York’s French Institute Alliance Française with the likes of Olivier Theyskens and Bruno Frisoni, Golbin has tapped a trio of American design stars — Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Catherine Malandrino, for her next series, scheduled for February and March.
SPEED OF SOUND: London designer Carri Mundane’s cult label Cassette Playa has tied-up with Nike again for spring. The CP X Nike Blazer sneaker hit London’s Dover Street Market on Monday. Inspired by the concept of urban shamanism, the salmon pink faux-lizard skater sneaker, with electric blue sole and minimal branding, made its first appearance on Mundane’s spring 2008 runway show. The sneaker has now been produced in a limited edition and costs 75 pounds, or $115. The British designer, known for her pixilated prints, is set to launch an apparel collection for Nike next fall.
SASSOON SAVVY: David Sassoon, the man who dressed Princess Diana for countless occasions and through her two pregnancies, is celebrating 50 years at Bellville Sassoon with a coffee table book set for release in January. The “Glamour of Bellville Sassoon” is a gossipy read that traces the career of the designer, who also dressed Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner — and countless members of the British royal family. “Dressing a mother-to-be was not really my strong point,” says Sassoon, “but I think I got better at it the second time around.” Suzy Menkes has written the forward to the book, which has been coauthored by Sinty Stemp and will be published by Antique Collectors Club.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: A gold silk coat with gold brocade embroidery to silk socks embroidered with delicate gold thread and a five-meter-long, ermine-trimmed Imperial coronation mantle worn by Nicholas II — weighing in at almost 65 pounds — are among the exhibits that make up the rich visual feast at the “Magnificence of the Tsars” exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A’s latest costume exhibit features 40 elaborate men’s ensembles that would have been worn by tsars, court officials and courtiers at the Russian Imperial Court from 1721 through to 1917. “The costumes have survived wars and revolutions and it’s the first time many of the pieces have left Russia,” said Svetlana Amelekhina, the exhibition’s curator. “Many have not even been seen by the Russian public.” The pieces are on loan from the Moscow Kremlin Museums, and the exhibition runs through to March 29.
STIFF DRINK: Earnest Sewn president Scott Morrison is busy transforming the old Town Tire building in L.A. into his fourth company store, set to open in February. But this past fall he took time out for his first outside design project: creating the whiskey lounge in New York’s Milk Studios. The lounge is a dramatic counterpoint to Milk’s stark, modern photo studios, as it follows Earnest Sewn’s signature rusticated design aesthetic. The floors and walls are fashioned from salvaged wood, the windows come from an old Remington Arms munitions plant and there’s a vintage zinc bar that serves Pabst Blue Ribbon and Newcastle Ale on tap, as well as a variety of whiskeys. “We didn’t want this place to look like an Apple store,” explained Mazdack Rassi, creative director of Milk Studios, of the decision to partner with Earnest Sewn. (The two companies are Meatpacking District neighbors.) “We wanted something completely unexpected. This place has become a hangout for photographers who work here like Terry Richardson, Ben Watts and Greg Kadel.” Despite the cozy feel of the lounge, there are plenty of cutting-edge tech tools nearby for Milk Digital clients. Firewire ports abound to plug in laptops, and a sliding barn door opens to reveal a 60-inch Pioneer flat screen to review the results of shoots.