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PALM BEACH JUBILEE: Gucci may be feting its 90th anniversary worldwide, but its Palm Beach presence doesn’t look a day over 50. That’s how long the house has held an address on the island, which it has commemorated with an exclusive New Bamboo bag in pale pink leather, as well as a scarf depicting its former boutique at Via Gucci before relocating to its slick space in 150 Worth.
Longtime local client Arlette Gordon was first to order both. At its birthday bash on Monday, she recalled Aldo Gucci’s hands-on service and mischievous humor. “He threatened to sue me for having their double-G logo on my dining room ceiling. I cried it stands for Gordon,” she said, as an on-site artisan embossed her purchase. Palm Beach is one of four U.S. stops for the mini-workshop, where a team from Italy stitched and embellished more than a dozen bags and wallets in two days.
FANTASY ISLAND?: Is a private island as private when it’s splashed across the pages of a national magazine? That a question for business titan Bernard Arnault, now that French business monthly Capital devoted four pages of its April issue to Indigo Island, his remote and hush-hush $35 million oasis in the Bahamas. The 133-acre estate boasts several hilltop villas, immaculate beaches, tennis courts and a small marina. Still, this piece of paradise is hardly a complete unknown for the superrich. Stellar Villas advertises rental prices on its Web site: from $182,000 to $322,000 a week.
BULKING UP APPAREL: Zappos.com’s quest to raise its apparel profile is getting some help from Hollywood. The online shoe destination has partnered with 20th Century Fox to create a scarf inspired by Marlena, the circus performer Reese Witherspoon plays in the movie “Water for Elephants,” which hits theaters on April 22. The $79 silk scarf marks the first time Zappos.com’s private label team has produced merchandise associated with a film in-house. “A scarf is one of the key pieces to her [Marlena’s] ensemble throughout the film, so we thought it was a great carryover,” said Tom Ellingson, an assistant manager of business development at Zappos.com.
The site is also looking beyond Hollywood to Britain by introducing Fred Perry, Ted Baker, Ben Sherman, Boxfresh and ONETrueSaxon, the last two of which are exclusive online to the e-tailer in the U.S., in a Best of British boutique on its Web site. Galen Hardy, clothing czar at Zappos Merchandising Inc., hoped the British labels would bring a “fresh flavor” to Zappos.com to keep the momentum going in its clothing business, which he said has gone from 7 percent of the site’s sales in 2009 to 11 percent last year before increasing further “by half that this year.”
MORE SUPPORT FOR JAPAN: Jimmy Choo is the latest fashion world name to lend its support to Japan. The luxury accessories brand announced Tuesday that from April 5 through the end of the month, it will donate 15 percent of the net sales from all small leather goods sold via its directly operated stores and via jimmychoo.com to the Japanese Red Cross. The company has 72 directly operated stores, 16 of which are in Japan.
JILL GRANOFF TO GET LIM AWARD: Jill Granoff, a 25-year industry veteran, will deliver the keynote address at LIM College’s 72nd commencement exercises on May 26 at Avery Fisher Hall. She will also be presented with LIM’s Distinguished Achievement Award and will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. Granoff most recently was chief executive officer of Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. Other positions include stints as executive vice president at Liz Claiborne Inc. and president and ceo of Victoria’s Secret Beauty. Granoff is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
RIDING THE MOMENT: Caroline Manzo of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is capitalizing on her time in the spotlight, with plans to release a line of handbags for fall. “I never thought in a million years I’d be doing something like this,” said Manzo, who actually isn’t a housewife but works with husband Albert Manzo at the family-owned catering and event hall The Brownstone and sits on the board of her sister Dina’s Project Ladybug charity.
The debut collection — a joint venture with Kristino handbags, the owner of the license for Manzo’s collection — comprises about 18 styles, from wristlets to hobos and overnight bags, which range in price from $45 to $450. Styles will come in neutral beiges and browns and more vivid purples and leopard prints, according to Manzo, who said she’s incorporating chunky hardware and details such as tassels and fringes. There also are two lines of dog accessories, one of which is cruelty-free with a percentage of the proceeds going to the Best Friends Animal Society.
THE RACE IS ON: Phillips-Van Heusen’s Izod brand hosted a celebration for its Izod IndyCar Series and a preview of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, which takes place on May 29. On hand at the Classic Car Club in New York were legendary racer Mario Andretti, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Hélio Castroneves, Team Penske Izod car driver Ryan Briscoe and 2010 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year Simona de Silvestro, one of only seven women to participate in the fabled race over the past century — versus 725 male drivers. “To actually be [at the Indianapolis 500] is an unbelievable feeling. My knees were shaking getting into the car,” de Silvestro told the crowd, which included PVH president Allen Sirkin and marketing head Mike Kelly, as well as Izod IndyCar Series ceo Randy Bernard and Indianapolis Motor Speedway ceo Jeff Belskus. “Being a female race car driver there is still something pretty new. I think if one of us is going to the win the Indy 500, I hope it’s me.”
BON APPETIT: Alain Ducasse has published “J’aime Paris,” due out in France April 13. Instead of recipes, the 596-page tome is a declaration of love to the famous chef’s hometown and all its flavors, unveiling 200 of his favorite addresses. From his preferred French bistros and creative eateries to his top cheese, meat and spice vendors, the book takes readers on a fantastic gourmet tour. To capture the authentic Parisian atmosphere of restaurants, grocery stores and markets, Ducasse entrusted Pierre Monetta, a young French photographer. A compact 50-page booklet compiling all 200 addresses comes with the heavy book, which will sell for 35 euros, or $49 at current exchange rates.