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OF PALATIAL PROPORTIONS: At least the Louvre got the piece it wanted from the aborted auction at Christie’s New York last week of the 115-piece lot owned by jewelry and antiques collector Ralph Esmerian. The museum discovered that a brooch from the French crown jewels was to be part of the April 15 sale and was determined to bring it home. The piece in question is the François Kramer-designed diamond brooch and stomacher worn by Napoleon III’s bride, Empress Eugénie, on her wedding day in 1853. But, as reported, the auction never took place so François Curiel, president of Christie’s Europe, negotiated a private sale of the piece to the Louvre with Esmerian’s agreement. In the sale’s catalogue, Rare Jewels and Gemstones: The Eye of a Connoisseur, the piece was expected to fetch from $4 million to $6 million. The sale price to the Louvre was not disclosed.
The brooch fist hit the market in 1887 when the French government decided that the property of French kings and queens would be made available to the highest bidder at public auction. The piece was previously owned by jeweler Emile Schlesinger and was later purchased by American socialite Caroline Astor.
POWER LUNCHING: Laura and Jenna Bush must have worked up an appetite after appearing Tuesday morning on the “Today” show, where the First Lady was the program’s guest-host and participated in several interviews, as well as book and cooking segments. Befitting true media mavens, mother and bride-to-be daughter were spotted later in the afternoon lunching at BLT Market in The Ritz-Carlton New York with three other women. “They didn’t have a reservation,” said the hostess, but were quickly accommodated and had a fast lunch. With Secret Service in tow, they left at 1:30 and got into a black unmarked car and made a quick getaway. Up next? An appearance tonight on “Larry King Live.”
HOUSE OF FOG: Rick Owens is setting up shop in New York. The Paris-based designer, who originates from Los Angeles, is busy decorating his first Stateside store there, slated to open in August. “I’m working on an aquariumlike wall installation that contains circulating fog,” said Owens of the space, situated on the corner of Dominick and Hudson in TriBeCa. The designer, who operates one store in Paris’ Palais Royal, also revealed that he’s negotiating a contract for a retail location in London.
HAMMER TIME: Blame it on political engagements, but Carla Bruni-Sarkozy disappointed her French fans Monday by pulling a no-show at an auction benefit organized by Tommy Hilfiger to aid the Breast Health Institute. The event, held at the designer’s Parisian flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, saw a limited edition tote signed by France’s first lady go for 10,000 euros, or around $16,000. “Her new ‘grande bourgeoise’ style suits her well,” commented lingerie designer Chantal Thomass of Bruni-Sarkozy’s new look. Thomass said she was just back from a store opening in Moscow.
ON HER OWN: Former Marc Jacobs and Erin Fetherston staffer Amanda Brotman is breaking out with a handbag line of her own, Amanda Pearl. The minaudières, frame bags and evening clutches range from $350 to $2,395 at retail and are sold exclusively at Seattle style emporium Mario’s in Brotman’s hometown, where she will host a trunk show today. Among the ladies in attendance will be Sheri Schultz, wife of Starbucks founder Howard Schultz; Leslie Chihuly, wife of artist Dale, and Mimi Gates, stepmother of Bill.
NEW CHOO IN PARIS: Jimmy Choo is planting another flag in Paris. The company is set to open a 1,410-square-foot flagship at 376 Rue Saint-Honoré in the city in July. The Rue Saint-Honoré store will be in addition to the company’s existing store in Paris at 34 Avenue Montaigne, and its design will echo the brand’s signature Forties-inspired boudoir concept, with beige leather sofas, mirrored vitrines and crystal chandeliers. The opening of the Paris flagship is part of the company’s global expansion plan, which will see a total of 80 doors in key markets for the brand by the end of this year. Future openings include stores in Munich, Cannes and Barcelona, along with a shop-in-shop in Selfridges in Manchester, all slated to open this summer. The company also opened a store in Beijing earlier this month.
And, while Jimmy Choo may be setting up shop on one of Paris’ most established thoroughfares, its next advertising campaign will get an infusion of modern edge, courtesy of Terry Richardson. The brand has tapped the controversial photographer to lens its fall campaign, featuring model Angela Lindvall, which the duo shot last week at The Plaza hotel in New York. The campaign will spotlight a clutch of new accessories designs from the company, including the Lohla Jayne bag, an unstructured tote in glossy black python with gold hardware details, and the Helena boot, a patent midcalf boot with the company’s chunky Mondrian heel. The New York-based creative agency AR — who began to work with Jimmy Choo earlier this year — produced the campaign, which will break in the August issues of major fashion magazines.
And the company has beauty news afoot, too — the brand is set to launch its first fragrance, with Selective Beauty SAS, early next year.
WHAT A SHOCK: Get your white sunglasses ready. On May 14, Kanye West will help Casio celebrate the 25-year anniversary of its G-Shock watch. West will perform at Gustavino’s restaurant in Manhattan for the likes of Spike Lee and Nick Cannon, who are also hosting the event. G-Shock’s latest collection, which will be on display, features collaborations with Lee and artist Eric Haze.