JUSTIN’S NEW JOINT: Denim brand William Rast will set up shop in Los Angeles in November. Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala’s line will unveil its first retail location at the Westfield Century City shopping center before Thanksgiving, in time for the holiday shopping season. The People’s Liberation-owned denim brand, launched by Timberlake and Ayala in October 2006, is expected to turn a profit this year and has plans to open some 40 boutiques over the next several years, with three leases already signed. Westfield Century City, an open-air center, saw the completion of a $150 million overhaul about three years ago and other tenants include Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Bloomingdale’s, Coach, Juicy Couture and Zara. Designer Alvin Valley opened his first boutique in the center earlier this summer.
PASSING THE BATON: Patek Philippe owner Philippe Stern is giving his son, Thierry Stern, the reins of the U.S. division of the fine watch brand. Thierry next month is expected to be named president of Patek Philippe USA. The younger Stern was most recently vice president and worked in product development at the firm from 1998 to 2003. Thierry is scheduled to travel to the U.S. for a multicity tour culminating in Las Vegas on Oct. 15, where Wynn Las Vegas will host an exhibit called “American Faces” displaying the 170-year history of the brand through more than 100 rare timepieces. The elder Stern’s new title could not be determined at press time.
ARTSY FOLKS: Calvin Klein Collection is taking its affinity for the arts a step further next month when it partners with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to present a newly created art awards ceremony conceived by artist Rob Pruitt. The Rob Pruitt Presents: The First Annual Art Awards will take place at the museum on Oct. 29 in association with White Columns. The awards will celebrate contemporary artists in a Hollywood-style ceremony, with The Delusional Downtown Divas as the night’s masters of ceremonies; Glenn O’Brien as its official announcer and presenters such as James Franco, Nate Lowman, Mary-Kate Olsen, Cecily Brown, John Currin and Rachel Feinstein. Matthew Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces will perform that night.
Joan Jonas and Kasper König will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards, and other awards include Artist of the Year, Curator of the Year, Writer of the Year and several nods for shows of the year, as well as the Calvin Klein Collection New Artist of the Year. The event will benefit the Guggenheim, White Columns and Studio in a School organizations.
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS: The case of Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder, against the photographer François-Marie Banier has taken a new twist. The public prosecutor’s office of Nanterre, France, has reportedly shelved its own inquiry into the Bettencourt affair, which began in December 2007, when Bettencourt Meyers lodged a complaint for “exploitation of weakness” of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt. This followed Bettencourt giving Banier gifts of almost 1 billion euros, or $1.48 billion at current exchange. The public prosecutor’s office has reportedly decided there isn’t enough evidence to prove an exploitation of weakness. Meanwhile, this summer, Bettencourt Meyers reportedly cited Banier directly in the Nanterre tribunal in order to speed up the legal process. On Sept. 3, a preliminary hearing took place, and a second one is scheduled for Dec. 11. No one at the court could be reached for comment Tuesday.
NOT FUNNY: British actress Helen Mirren, 64, wasn’t amused Friday night in Washington, when the audience at the Sidney Harman Center laughed wholeheartedly on at least five occasions during her three-hour, nonstop performance of the tragedy “Phedre.” Playing the randy Greek queen in French playwright Jean Racine’s 1677 play, Mirren tackled the text with an ingenue’s insouciance infecting translator Ted Hughes’ irony with her own brand of girlish whimsy. Onstage, her elfin smiles and coy hand gestures seemed more impish than gut wrenching. But backstage, her frustration was palpable. According to one cast member, Mirren was “disturbed,” and at one point as she faced another volley of laughter from the audience, she stormed backstage to rail about what was going wrong. When asked about the laughter, director Nicholas Hytner told WWD that, while the show had elicited “occasional laughter,” Friday night’s audience was “freaky.”
During the play’s run, Mirren is staying at the British ambassador’s house while the rest of the cast holds up at the Hampton Inn in Chinatown. On Friday, at the end of the 10-day, sold-out D.C. run, British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald and his wife, Julia, who prevailed on Hytner to bring the company to Washington, plan to host a luncheon in Mirren’s honor the day before her last show.