STOPPING BY FOR A VISIT: Participants of Italian Vogue’s Vogue Experience event watched Friday evening as Donatella Versace made her way through the magazine’s pristine white offices to say hi to longtime friend and editor in chief Franca Sozzani. The meet and greet, which ended Sunday, was organized to mark the launch of Sozzani’s book, “The Whims of Fashion,” which is a collection of her blog posts for vogue.it. She was in high spirits as she signed books for groups of readers. “It is really great to see all of these young people who have such ambition in this industry,” she said.
About 1,000 people signed up through the Web site for the chance to meet with Sozzani as well as Renzo Rosso, Lapo Elkann, Roberto Cavalli, Eva Riccobono, Anna Piaggi, Angela Missoni, Tommaso Aquilano, Roberto Rimondi and Elio Fiorucci, who all made guest appearances over the three-day event.
“The book is fun and witty. [Sozzani] is an extremely intelligent woman, but she is modest and that is the thing I admire most about her,” said Versace. She added that she wouldn’t mind writing a blog herself one day.
In response to some critical comments claiming the event was commercial and rendered Vogue too “democratic,” Sozzani wrote in Friday’s post: “Why should meeting us take away the mystery? And what mystery would that be?”
BEATLES FOR SALE: The white suit worn by John Lennon on the cover of the “Abbey Road” album will be up for sale on New Year’s Day at Braswell Galleries in Norwalk, Conn. The two-piece suit, designed by Ted Lapidus, was donned by Lennon for the cover shoot by Iain Macmillan depicting the four musicians parading single file through the zebra crosswalk outside Abbey Road Studios in London. The suit previously sold for $120,000 at auction in 2005 and is now being sold by an anonymous collector of Lennon memorabilia, along with a blazer worn by the former Beatle in the 1971 “Imagine” documentary and a 1972 green Chrysler station wagon once owned by Lennon and his widow, Yoko Ono. Kathy Braswell, co-owner of the auction house, noted of the suit: “It’s very small. He was five-foot-10 and very thin. It’s a slim suit.”
NATIONAL PRIDE: Rafé Totengco, creative director of handbags at Jones New York, will receive the Presidential Award from his home country of the Philippines today for his contributions to fashion design. “It’s…one of those things you don’t expect to get in your life,” Totengco said.
Totengco was 21 when he left his home province of Negros, Philippines, in 1989 to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He established his handbag line, Rafe New York, in 1997 and was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1998.
WILD ONES: Acne on Friday night feted the 11th edition of its Acne Paper in the swish private club of Paris’ Museum of Hunting and Nature, an upright taxidermy polar bear guarding the entrance. The event was co-hosted by editor in chief Thomas Persson and actress Marisa Berenson.
“I love the pouncing leopard,” purred Kristin Scott Thomas, wrapped up in a fur stole. The actress said she’s due to star in a production of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” in London in the spring. Wearing a pair of black Roger Vivier pumps, Scott Thomas mingled with Vivier’s artistic director, Bruno Frisoni, who said he recently wound down his signature shoe line in order to concentrate on designing for Vivier.
“It was difficult trying to invest the same energy into both collections, and, it’s no secret, business is slow. It’s a difficult time for small footwear brands,” said Frisoni, adding that his signature line may be revived in the future.
A DATE FOR DUNHILL: Alfred Dunhill will show for the first time at London Fashion Week, which runs Feb. 18 to 23, the British Fashion Council confirmed Monday. The brand will show its fall 2011 collection in a salon-style presentation at its 18th-century London town house near Berkeley Square in Mayfair. The Dunhill presentation will be the final show on the women’s calendar and serve as a prelude to a full day of men’s wear shows on Feb. 23, the BFC said.
HE’S MAKING A LIST: As a host of British designers earnestly anticipate a call from Kate Middleton, the bookies’ favorite, Bruce Oldfield, is forging ahead with his first homeware collection and wedding list service. The new range will be unveiled in the spring and will include cut crystal, table linens and a range of fine china designed by Oldfield in collaboration with Rebecca Willer of the Kensington home design shop Willer and produced by Royal Crown Derby.
Last year saw the opening of Number 34 Beauchamp Place, Oldfield’s second store, a bridal one-stop-shop offering dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories.
Oldfield said of the new collection: “The collaboration between the three of us is a natural partnership, marrying modern design style with an unsurpassed level of style and craftsmanship. Rebecca Willer has a very particular eye — she is absolutely in tune with my taste.” He added that Royal Crown Derby offers him “authentic heritage and traditional craftsmanship” with a modern outlook.
STONE’S STONES: Sharon Stone and Silvia Damiani hosted a cocktail party at the Beverly Wilshire to toast the debut of the house’s Maji women’s collection, which Stone co-designed (the actress also lent her hand to the men’s collection, which launched a few months ago). The collaboration was Stone’s first stab at jewelry design, “apart from the things I made for myself in grade school,” she said. The 35-piece collection, retailing from $740 to $69,790, features brushed yellow gold earrings, collar necklaces, rings, pendants and bangles set with rough diamonds and will be available in Damiani’s 80-plus boutiques worldwide.
Stone, who has been a Damiani ambassador for two-and-a-half years, has taken up crusading for clean water in Africa “so that all the babies who survived the AIDS epidemic can have clean water to drink with their milk.” A portion of the sales of the Maji collection, as well as a $200,000 check from Stone and a private donation from the Damiani family, will benefit Drop in the Bucket, which constructs new water wells in Africa.
“It’s a game changer,” said the outspoken actress, who is at work on an unnamed script she wants to direct. “I hope to engage the whole diamond community to just give me 1 percent of their sales to change the paradigm. You either can help or don’t. If you don’t, you’re the schmuck who didn’t do it.”
TEARS OF JOY: Brooke Shields fought back tears at Fred Leighton’s exhibit of Sevan Biçakçi‘s jewelry in Manhattan last week. Biçakçi is known for his elaborately carved gold, silver and stone rings.
“I get emotional about these things,” said the actress, who wore an octopus-shaped bracelet — its head fashioned from a large natural pearl, with long, diamond-encrusted tentacles that reached from her fingertips to midforearm. “When there’s someone like Sevan…someone who’s an artist who sort of represents this new sensibility, when you see those two coming together, I feel like he’s in good hands [with Fred Leighton].”
QUINTESSENTIAL HOLIDAY: In designing the “quintessential divine holiday gown,” Olympic gold medalist-turned-designer Evan Lysacek was inspired by what he called the season’s “classic and iconic” chocolate, Ferrero Rocher. “I used the chocolate as a muse,” said Lysacek, who consulted with his “mentor for life,” Vera Wang, on the design. The dress, made of gold leather, brown velvet and tulle, made its debut Monday night in conjunction with the chocolatier’s $100,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity International, and will be auctioned off on Ferrero Rocher’s Web site through Dec. 18, with all proceeds also going to Habitat for Humanity.
Wang, who said, “There are two F’s in my life — fashion and figure skating,” was present at the debut to support Lysacek. The two have collaborated in the past on designs for Lysacek’s figure skating costumes and also are working together on his men’s wear line.