VIVIENNE AT THE RACES: Is Dame Vivienne Westwood, the punk princess who famously refused to wear knickers when she received official honors from the Royal Family, embracing the establishment? Late last year, she dressed the Duchess of Cornwall, and now she’s collaborating on the latest campaign for Royal Ascot, a major event in the British racing calendar which Queen Elizabeth II, her family and friends attend. Shot by Finlay MacKay, the campaign features model Marta Berzkalna wearing a series of Westwood Gold Label gowns and Stephen Jones hats. “Royal Ascot is a British institution for showing off clothes, and I like the idea of a group of people gathered together,” said Westwood. The campaign was shot on location at a stud farm in Gloucestershire, England. Westwood — and other British designers — will also take part in a fashion show at Royal Ascot, which runs from June 16 to 20.
RINGMASTERS: Last week Cynthia Rowley had her turn and, today, Carmen Marc Valvo plans to ring Nasdaq’s opening bell to celebrate fashion week. While Rowley had a dozen staffers on hand for moral support, Valvo recruited hair stylist Ted Gibson and makeup artist Vincent Longo.
SAVE THE GARMENT CENTER: Nanette Lepore’s efforts to save the Garment Center are in full force again this season. At the designer’s show this morning, Lepore will have a postcard on each seat, which reads “Save the Garment Center” on the front. On the back it will be stamped and addressed to the attention of Mayor Michael Bloomberg asking him to take action. “The future of American fashion depends on NYC’s Garment Center,” it reads. “NY’s factories, shops and emerging design talent need your support to preserve our city’s heritage. Promote Made in the USA. The time to act is now. Save the Garment Center.” Each guest is asked to sign the back of the postcard and drop it into the nearest mailbox. In addition, the designer will launch support pages on Facebook and Twitter today in order to gain even more support for the cause.
BLUSHING BRIDE: While everyone’s still guessing what she wore on her wedding day, there are no secrets about Salma Hayek’s honeymoon attire. The Parisian lingerie brand Vannina Vesperini sent a release on Monday cheekily reporting that the actress, who wed PPR’s François-Henri Pinault in Paris on Saturday, stopped by Vesperini’s boutique on Friday to pick herself up a ruby-colored ensemble from the collection’s Merveille line.
LEAP OF FAITH: Miss USA Crystle Stewart was standing tall at Cho Cheng’s show Tuesday but not nearly as high as she has been recently. The Texas beauty queen went skydiving for the first time a few days ago in Yuma, Ariz., but she was in good hands at 13,500 feet — taking a tandem leap with the Golden Knights — and taking them up on a dare. “One thing I must say I am not is chicken. There was no way I was going to chicken out. I even went twice,” she said. “It was just a fear I wanted to conquer. It should help with my fear of flying.”
LuAnn de Lesseps flew into the show after the lights went down to join her cohorts from “The Real Housewives of New York City.”
FRENCH ALLIANCE: After Diane von Fursternberg’s show on Sunday, Loulou de la Falaise made her second fashion week appearance at Sophie Theallet early on Tuesday. “I am here because of friends, because of Rupert and Azzedine,” she said, referring to Rupert Everett, who was also at the show, and Azzedine Alaïa, where Theallet once cut her teeth. Expect more sightings from the designer and Yves Saint Laurent icon. “I am also going to Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein,” she said.
GRAND DESIGNS: “I put it together in a way I’d wear Prada,” said Katie Grand at a cocktail to fete the launch of her temporary redesign of the Italian label’s Old Bond Street store in London. She’d dressed male and female Prada mannequins in looks from seasons both past and present, while a film by David Sims that depicts a mannequin being set on fire played in the store’s window and on screens inside the space. Grand’s windows are the second in a series of four store design projects that Prada is launching with four different stylists over the next month — Alex White’s windows in New York launched over the weekend while both Olivier Rizzo’s in Milan and Carine Roitfeld’s in Paris will launch over the next few weeks. The London windows and store design will stay up through Feb. 24. Grand, who was joined by Brit television stars including Tess Daly and “X-Factor” pop contest winner Alexandra Burke for Champagne and gin and tonics at the store, was modest about the impending launch of her magazine, Love, which hits newsstands Thursday. “I don’t think anyone’s ever happy with their first issue,” said Grand, though she admitted she is proud of an Anjelica Huston shoot. “It’s un-retouched — she’s got wrinkles and she’s got a body,” said Grand.
GREEN GOES ON: The latest addition to the slew of books helping consumers become more ecologically minded is from sometime model and eco-activist Summer Rayne Oakes. (Shouldn’t all these guides really be online, rather than printed on paper, albeit recycled?)
“Most of the books in this area aren’t appealing,” said Oakes at a fete last Wednesday at the Stella McCartney store, explaining the impetus behind her tome, called “Style, Naturally.” Her guide covers everything from tips on beauty products to clothing designers. As far as her book tour, Oakes is keeping things as green as possible. To offset the six months of travel she’s doing, she will plant 126 trees in Mozambique. Oakes is also looking to enter the B2B sector with a Web site geared to helping companies research sustainable design and beauty. A beta site will be launched later this year.
COST CUTTERS: While some designers are lowering the bar for their opening price points, others are sweetening their collections with twofers. Case in point — Daryl Kerrigan’s leather spats, which can morph any shoes into boots and Victoria Beckham’s corset suitable for any of her dresses. Reem Acra offered a few gowns with necklace-looking dyed crystals to spare shoppers the chore of buying jewelry. At Sunday’s presentation, she said not lining select styles allowed her to pump up the bling without jacking up the prices.
Having flown into New York for only the day, “One Tree Hill” actress Sophia Bush talked tough about the recession and admitted to even changing in the car en route from LaGuardia Airport. She said, “I don’t think anyone is not affected by the recession. Shows are getting cut left and right. A lot of great scripts are falling apart because they can’t get financing for the films. One thing that is good about being in the entertainment industry is that people always want something to escape to laugh or cry.”
Bush will be giving people the opportunity to do either in her upcoming movies, “The Narrows” and “Party of Three.” She will also be back for more shows Thursday.