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NEVER SAY NEVER: Louis Vuitton, which has featured Mikhail Gorbachev, Keith Richards and Francis Ford Coppola in its “core values” advertising campaign, has landed another surprising agent for its message. Rumor has it Sean Connery, the original James Bond, has posed for Annie Leibovitz’s camera, just in time for the “Quantum of Solace” frenzy.
LUCKY STAR: Madonna continues to draw her lion’s share of designer fans. John Galliano, Riccardo Tisci, Diane von Furstenberg and Jean Paul Gaultier were among the league of fashion A-listers who attended the singer’s Paris concert Saturday night, held at the Stade de France, as well as Naomi Campbell and her billionaire beau Vladimir Doronin. The Material Girl is said to have thrown a private party for her nearest and dearest the next day at the Hôtel de Crillon.
HIGH-POWERED TRIO: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Wendi Murdoch and Queen Rania of Jordan gathered on Monday at the Carlyle Hotel to discuss initiatives on maternal mortality, part of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals on education, health, poverty and environmental sustainability the organization set forth to achieve by 2015. The meeting of the three — with Bruni in Dior and Murdoch in Alberta Ferretti and Queen Rania in a blouse by Derek Lam and skirt by Graeme Black — was a precursor to a dinner on Wednesday hosted by Queen Rania, Murdoch and Sarah Brown, wife of the British prime minister, to call for action and collaboration with the U.N. on maternal mortality. Christy Turlington, Katie Lee Joel, Elle Macpherson, Liya Kibede, Martha Stewart, Elizabeth Murdoch and Portfolio editor in chief Joanne Lipman are among the 100 women invited to attend the dinner.
SKINNER’S NEW POST?: Robert C. Skinner Jr. no longer represents Kellwood Co. as a board member for the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, which met for lunch Friday, but he may soon bring Lacoste to the retail scholarship group’s partner list. Skinner, who held the top post at Kellwood Co. for four years until new owner Sun Capital Partners Inc. ousted him in July, is said to be close to being named chief executive officer of Lacoste USA. Skinner would replace the retiring Robert Siegel, who served with Skinner on Kellwood’s board. Lacoste declined comment, as did Skinner at YMA’s educators luncheon at the Marriott Marquis, which focused on expanding the fund’s reach. “We want to attract the best students from Procter & Gamble Co., Lehman Bros. and Goldman, Sachs & Co., which is a little easier after this week,” said YMA board member and Perry Ellis International group president Paul Rosengard.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Cate Blanchett brought a gust of stardom — and a spirit of la famiglia — to a so-far sleepy Milan Fashion Week by arriving at the Giorgio Armani show Monday with her husband, playwright Andrew Upton, and one of their children in tow. The actress said she’s vacationing in Europe before starring in “The Wars of the Roses” at the Sydney Theatre Company in January. “It’s my husband who’s working,” she said as she fielded questions and posed for photos in black Armani Prive — all the while keeping a close eye on the tot. Asked if she was planning any sightseeing in Milan, the globe-trotting Australian replied, “I hope I’ll be seeing the pillows of my bed first!”
Nearby, Maria Grazia Cucinotta talked about some of the key men in her life. “I met my husband and Mr. Armani 14 years ago and they are both still around,” said the actress/producer, who is about to start filming her 10th movie of the year on the island of Favignana, near Sicily, called “Sea Violet.” One newcomer to the designer’s show was South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, also known as the girlfriend of Monaco’s Prince Albert II. “I’m so excited,” she cooed.
MORE ON DOLCE & GABBANA: Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony are expected at the Dolce & Gabbana show on Thursday. Matthew McConaughey, Dita Von Teese, Petra Nemcova, Roisin Murphy, Naomi, Eva Herzigova and Claudia Schiffer are also on the designers’ guest list. The buzz is Diana Ross may attend as well, although she’s not confirmed yet.
TRAFFIC ALERT: It looks like the opening of the United Nations General Assembly won’t be the only thing wreaking havoc on Manhattan traffic this week. On Friday, David and Victoria Beckham will do their first-ever joint in-store appearance at Macy’s Herald Square. The celebrity duo will come to the store to launch Beckham Signature, their new his-and-her fragrances. Note to fans, though — only the first 300 customers to buy a full-size signature set will actually be eligible to personally meet the two and get their autographs.
POPPING IN: After kissing a girl and liking it, expect the unexpected from pop starlet Katy Perry. “It’s not always going to be provocative or controversial. If you play that card too many times it gets boring….I want to keep people on the edge of their seats,” Perry said at the D&G show Monday. For now that means concentrating on music, although “I may do something in film or fashion in the future,” said Perry, who is touring in Europe. Perry was due to perform at the D&G party Monday night, ahead of heading back to London for a gig at alternative music venue La Scala and an appearance on the BBC. Her latest single “Hot and Cold” is an autobiographical account of a relationship with a guy who “wanted the milk, but he never wanted to buy the cow and I got fed up with it,” Perry said. And what’s a Milan show without an Olympian? Tattooed Italian swimmer Paolo Bossini’s presence prompted some to wonder if he would be the next athlete to be tapped by the designers for an ad campaign or a sports-related event, given their recent projects related to the sports world. The athlete is dealing with personal tasks for the time being, having just become a father to 10 day-old Angelica.
CASUAL MONDAYS: Did André Leon Talley come to the Milan shows straight from aerobics class? No, the Vogue editor at large’s luggage was lost en route to New York. At D&G on Monday, seated in the same Juicy Couture shorts and gray Ralph Lauren polo shirt he wore on the plane, Talley said he was headed straight afterward to Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna. “Hopefully I can be hooked up in an hour,” he said wishfully, not being an off-the-rack sort. “I think from now on I’ll have to bring clothes in a backpack — about the size of a trunk — and somehow get it on the plane.” As luck would have it, his luggage showed up just in time for Missoni, where he was turned out in a charcoal suit, white shirt, tie and signature open-toe Manolo Blahnik flats.
THE MAINE EVENT: Speaking of flight dramas, a pack of fashion folk boarded Milan-bound Continental flight 44 at Newark airport at 6:50 Sunday night — and ended up making an emergency landing in Bangor, Maine, instead of in the Italian fashion capital, due to an engine failure. Among the passengers were Vogue’s Virginia Smith and Filipa Fino, New York magazine’s Harriet Mays Powell, W’s Alex White and fashion publicist Lynn Tesoro of HL Group. Tesoro said a commuter plane was dispatched to bring business-class passengers back to Newark “I walked in at 4 in the morning,” she said Monday as she scrambled to find alternative flights during a busy travel period.
RENZO’S NEW RIDE: Renzo Rosso and Lapo Elkann turned up together at Milan’s Museum of Science and Technology to celebrate Diesel’s limited edition version of the Fiat 500. “It’s molto Diesel,” said Rosso as he pointed to the car on show under a plastic bubble on the museum’s floor. Though Renzo has already placed a personal order, his Diesel Fiat 500 won’t replace his preferred means of transport: his helicopter. “I’ll use them both,” laughed Rosso. Meanwhile, Elkann said he intends to lay low for the rest of fashion week, as he finalizes plans to open his first Italia Independent men’s wear store in Milan in January, and another men’s wear flagship later on next year, tipped to be in a second European city. “This is the time to work, it’s tough times for everyone,” he said.
SUMMER SPECIAL: There’s more Marni in the cards. Consuelo Castiglioni, the brand’s creative director, is launching a capsule collection called Marni Summer Edition 2009, which revisits the designer’s favorite archive pieces. The line-up includes all those summer perennials like easy, breezy T-shirts, shifts, tunics, ankle-grazing skirts and mannish trousers. This being Marni, Castiglioni delivered a number of fun accessories, including satchels, shoulder bags and a balloon bag in printed canvas with leather detailing and spike-heeled, wooden-soled canvas lace-up mules and painted wood or wood, resin and horn necklaces.
TEMPERLEY’S BABY: Never one to miss a deadline, designer Alice Temperley gave birth to her first child — Fox London Temperley von Bennigsen Mackiewicz — last Saturday, her due date. A statement from her company said Temperley and her baby boy, who was born at 9 a.m., are doing fine. The designer, who usually shows in New York, moved her spring collection across the pond and showed on Sept. 15 during London Fashion Week.
SALE OF THE CENTURY: Those who haven’t blown their fall budgets yet can still do some damage this week at steep discounts. For its most recent project, Gilt Groupe, the e-commerce site that sells designer clothes at up to 70 percent off the original retail price, partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This Thursday, the invitation-only site will kick off a 60-hour sale of clothes from six CFDA members and their labels, including Derek Lam, Notte by Marchesa, Behnaz Sarafpour, Thakoon, Rachel Roy and Boy by Band of Outsiders. The pieces will mostly come from the designers’ fall 2007 and spring 2008 collections. And it’s all for a good cause: a portion of the sales benefits the CFDA Foundation.
HAUGHTY TO TROT: Hermès is a stickler when it comes to design standards. For the inaugural edition of its Prix Emile Hermès awards, held last week at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs, jury members, including the house’s artistic directors Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Pascale Mussard, concluded that none of the 21 finalists’ designs were of high enough standards for the first or second prize. Instead, three entries were awarded joint third prize, scooping 15,000 euros each, or just over $22,000. Ian Mahaffy was among the winners with his rather literal take on the saddlebag: a leather handbag in the form of a bike seat. The entries will be on show at the museum through Nov. 30.
MODEL OFFSPRING: Already her mother, French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, is known for her gravity-defying heels, and now 26-year-old Julia Restoin-Roitfeld has been chosen as the fall face of Accessorize, the British fashion accessories chain. The campaign will be released in the U.K. later this week, with visuals also to be used for in-store promotion in the brand’s European stores. Modeling is old hat for the Parsons New School of Design graduate, who made fashion headlines as the face of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid fragrance, launched in November 2006, and who currently represents the U.S. denim brand Restoration of the Monarchy — as well as Gap. The Accessorize campaign, photographed by Enrique Badulescu and styled by Russian Vogue’s Simon Robbins, was shot in Greenwich Village.