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DINING AL FRESCO: Chilly weather didn’t cool enthusiasm Wednesday night, when Alice + Olivia founder Stacey Bendet hosted a dinner and shopping party for about 40 guests in Malibu, including a sizable buffet line that had some attendees speculating on recession-driven behavior. “Most people usually don’t eat at these events — it must be the economy,” said guest Brooke Burke.
Devon Aoki, Estella Warren, Vivica A. Fox, Denise Richards, Mena Suvari, Lynn Collins and Maria Menounos also attended the event at the recently opened Malibu Lumber Yard shopping center. Not surprisingly, dinnertime discussion included celebrity-centric topics such as the breakup of Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson and Michael Jackson’s death, along with more mundane subjects like cooking, swimming and the ban on Speedo’s LZR racing swimsuit.
“I’m a fan of the traditional Speedo,” joked Fox. “I think it’s time to bring back the ass cleavage.”
By evening’s end, a light mist descended over the tables, and Menounos, who arrived in a short, coral Alice + Olivia dress, changed into duds more appropriate for the cool beachside weather — a pair of skinny jeans and a cropped black leather jacket from the store. “Thank god there was more than enough clothing here to choose from,” Menounos said.
SPORTS OUTING: Maria Sharapova will make a personal appearance at Cole Haan’s Rockefeller Center store to mark the launch of her Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan collection, just days before she steps onto the court to compete in the U.S. Open. On Aug. 27, the tennis star will kick off the celebration, which includes a special “unveiling” and tunes spun by DJ Nick Cohen. The event will benefit the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Jr. Tennis Development Program, New York Junior Tennis League and the City Parks Foundation.
SHOPPING USA: Fashion’s Night Out is extending its reach to Los Angeles and landing within the ivy-covered walls of Ron Herman’s boutique on Melrose Avenue. In collaboration with Vogue, which helped hatch the idea for the Sept. 10 global shopping event, Herman is corralling at least 30 designers and fashion brands — including Monrow, Martin Margiela, Oliver Peoples, Chan Luu, LnA and Beats by Dr. Dre — to make personal appearances, launch products and sponsor mini shows in an effort to entice consumers to shop. Other Southern California retailers participating in Fashion’s Night Out Los Angeles are Neiman Marcus, Maxfield, Trovata, Ron Robinson and Rock & Republic. Even with his support of Fashion’s Night Out, Herman believes shopping is a 365-day affair. He’s taking the shop-in-shop concept to the next level with special sections devoted to J Brand, which launched its gallerylike section Saturday with a party attended by actress Christina Ricci, and Quiksilver, whose men’s-only surf corner opens Aug. 29. “Hey, it’s OK to go out and shop,” Herman said. “I’m not asking people to buy a new car. It’s less than a college education. Just go out and make yourself feel good.”
PRIZES FOR PRINTS: Marie Molterer, a fashion and textile design graduate from London’s Ravensbourne College, was awarded the Texprint chairman’s prize in London on Wednesday as part of this year’s Texprint awards, which aim to promote new textile design talent from U.K. art colleges. Molterer received a prize of 750 pounds, or $1,240 at current exchange, for her colorful, Bauhaus-inspired designs. Six other entrants were also singled out for prizes: Ruth Davis, Nicola Strathearn, Hollie Maloney, Nancy Taplin and Martha Steadman were all selected for judges’ prizes, though one of the original winners, Samantha Beeston, had her prize withdrawn after it was found to resemble another illustrator’s work. Entrant Lisa Stannard has since been awarded a prize in place of Beeston. This year, creative names judging the work included Giles Deacon, Zandra Rhodes and artist Grayson Perry, who all gathered at the Rex Whistler restaurant at London’s Tate Britain last month to discuss the students’ portfolios. Deacon said he had looked for work with “a good balance of creativity with something quite commercial — which is important if you don’t just want to be an artist,” he said.