LITERARY DUO: Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais have less than a decade under their belts, but they already have something most of their peers don’t — a book just on them, published by Assouline. “Ruffian: Inside Out,” published on May 1, chronicles the designers creating their spring and fall 2008 collections, from initial sketch through fabric research, muslins, fittings and the runway show.
The book was penned by Style.com executive editor Nicole Phelps, with photos taken by Jamie Isaia. When they met the photographer at the National Arts Club, “We started talking and told her we loved her work and that we should do something creatively together,” Wolk recalled. “It became a one-year project, and she documented our creative process.”
It wasn’t until they met Martine Assouline, co-founder and co-publisher of the publishing house, that the book came to fruition. Assouline took a look at the 2,000 or so pictures and suggested editing them for a book. “It’s really emblematic of our process,” Wolk said, adding that another important aspect of the book is the way it illustrates the designers’ collaborations with the likes of Christian Louboutin and hair stylist Neil Moody.
COLD SHOULDER: It’s been a busy few days for Hollywood celebrities on the fashion-party circuit. “I’m so glad to see you again — and so soon!” Kristen Bell said to Jaime King on Wednesday night at a party for Armani Exchange watches, a day after they saw each other at a Loomstate for Target bash. Other celebs at Armani’s poolside affair at the SLS Hotel included Sophia Bush, Vanessa Minnillo, Ludacris, Shannen Doherty and celebrity makeup artist Napoleon Perdis. Hayden Panettiere, clad in a tailored Burberry trench and green off-the-shoulder Armani Exchange dress, has apparently learned a thing or two from making the party rounds and would like to develop a few fashion projects in the future. But for now she’s focused on finishing a documentary for a Save the Whales awareness campaign. “We’re really trying to do something like ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ but for the oceans,” said the “Heroes” actress, who’s trying to secure additional financing for the project.
Nearby, Minnillo and Bush, who donned a borrowed wrap to ward off the cold, hid out from the blustery conditions in a poolside cabana. And then the conversation took a decidedly unfashionable turn when the two began discussing the merits of a Snuggie. Bush admitted she and friends had given a similar “wearable” blanket to an acquaintance as a gift. “It would definitely be handy right now,” Minnillo said.
CAR PARTS: Last week marked “Bottega Veneta week” in New York — Tomas Maier and pals wrapped up their second and final celebration Thursday at the Fifth Avenue store to fete the brand’s costume and fine jewelry collections. Cohosted by Town & Country editor in chief Pamela Fiori, Maier’s fans paid tribute to his handcrafted pieces, which ranged from super-high-end diamond collections to gold-plated tiaras and Seventies-style chunky stone necklaces. “Making jewelry to me is so fun. In a way, it’s combining beauty and function,” Maier said. “It’s very similar to engineering. The fit needs to be right, the length, the weight. I think that’s why there are so many male jewelry designers, because it’s almost like building a car.”
REALITY BITES: Last week’s Hot List Party, hosted by Condé Nast Traveler, was ostensibly celebrating the exotic places the magazine profiles, but the main attraction was the hometown stars who attended — especially the cast of “The Real Housewives of New York.” The women caused more hullabaloo with their arrival at Pranna restaurant than the other boldfaced names in attendance, including Lydia Hearst, Katrina Bowden of “30 Rock” and Kim Raver. Kelly Bensimon, fresh from her offscreen assault charge, kept busy brushing off rumors of on-set drama despite a televised altercation with cast mate Bethenny Frankel. “I don’t hate anybody. Why would I?” said Bensimon as her latest boy toy, Max, stood silently behind her. “I respect Bethenny as a dynamic go-getter. Its tough being single in New York and working.”
As for the show, “You are a vehicle, and they are editing you,” she said. “[But] I know who I am.” The experience doesn’t seem to have scared the former model away from reality TV. For her next project, she said, “I would love to do ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”